Pit River Tribe

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Pit River Tribe
Achomawi basket weaver, 1923
Total population
Regions with significant populations
United States United States (California California)
English, Achumawi and Atsugewi
traditional tribal religion
Related ethnic groups
Achumawi, Atsugewi, and other Pit River bands

The Pit River Tribe is a federally recognized tribe of eleven bands of indigenous peoples of California. They primarily live along the Pit River in the northeast corner of California.[1] Their name also is spelled as "Pitt River" in some historical records.


The eleven bands are as follows:


The eleven bands of the Pit River Tribe speak two related languages. Nine speak Achumawi and two speak Atsugewi (Atsuke and Apwaruke). They are classified in the northern group of the postulated Hokan 'superstock' of languages, and a subgroup called Palaihnihan has been proposed for just these two languages.[5][1]


The Pit River Tribe controls six rancherias. They are:

The tribe also owns trust lands in Lake County, California, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, and Shasta Counties.[7]


The tribe conducts business from Burney, California.[1] They were officially recognized as a tribe in 1976 and ratified their constitution in 1987. Each of the eleven bands is represented in the tribal council.[6]

Constitution of the Pit River Tribe & claims[edit]

On August, 1964, a Constitution was formally adopted by the Pit River Tribe. The Preamble states:

"... for the purpose of securing our Rights and Powers inherent in our Sovereign status as reinforced by the laws of the United States, developing and protecting Pit River (Ajumawi - Atsugewi) ancestral lands and all other resources, preserving peace and order in our community, promoting the general welfare of our people and our descendants, protecting the rights of the Tribe and of our members, and preserving our land base, culture and identity,..."[8]

While the Pit River group originally filed a separate land claims, after the Indian Claims Commission was created in 1946, the Pit River tribe was encouraged in 1963 to participate in the larger claims—Indians of California vs U. S. – but ultimately there was disharmony within the tribe and they rejected their monetary award.[9]


They would use amelanchier to create a sort of body armor, the wood was made into a heavy robe or overcoat and corset armor and used for fighting.[10] Members of the Pit River tribe would also sell taxus brevifolia to the Ukiah. [11]

See also[edit]

  • Shasta peoplealso indigenous peoples of the Pit River basin.


  1. ^ a b c d e f California Indians and Their Reservations. San Diego State University Library and Information Access. 2010 (retrieved 3 Feb 2011)
  2. ^ Pritzker, 140
  3. ^ Hewisidawe, Pit River Tribe
  4. ^ "Article I - Name." Constitution of the Pit River Tribe. July 2005 (retrieved 3 Feb 2011)
  5. ^ Golla, Victor (2011). California Indian Languages. University of California Press. pp. 95–99. ISBN 978-0-520-26667-4. 
  6. ^ a b Pritzker 117
  7. ^ Pritzker 115
  8. ^ "Constitution of the Pit River Tribe". Narf.org. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  9. ^ Evans, 1994: 455–56; Jaimes, 1987.
  10. ^ Merriam, C. Hart 1966 Ethnographic Notes on California Indian Tribes. University of California Archaeological Research Facility, Berkeley (p. 222)
  11. ^ Chestnut, V. K. 1902 Plants Used by the Indians of Mendocino County, California. Contributions from the U.S. National Herbarium 7:295-408. (p. 305)


  • Pritzker, Barry M. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1

External links[edit]