The Shasta (or Chasta, Shasty or Sasti) are an indigenous people of the modern United States counties of Siskiyou County in Northern California and of Jackson County in Southern Oregon. Originally the Shasta peoples resided along the Siskiyou Mountains, such as the Shasta River Valley, upper Klamath River basin locations like Scott Valley along with locations in the Rogue River along the Bear Creek and Illinois River.
Generally included with the Shasta tribe proper, are a number of adjacent smaller nations including the Konomihu, Chemafeko ("New River") Shasta and the Okwanuchu, who spoke a related Shastan language.
The Shasta tribe is not a separate federally recognized tribe, with many of them removed to and are currently enrolled members of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians or the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon. Many former members of the Shasta tribe have since been inducted into the Karuk and Alturas tribes. Some descendants who are not enrolled with another Tribe are currently petitioning the government to recognize their separate tribal status.
Estimates for the pre-contact populations of most native groups in California have varied substantially. (See Population of Native California.) Alfred L. Kroeber (1925:883) put the 1770 population of the Shasta proper as 2,000 and the New River, Konomihu, and Okwanuchu groups, along with the Chimariko, as 1,000. In the 1940s, Sherburne F. Cook arrived at a similar estimate of about 3,300, but he subsequently raised the figure to 5,900 (Cook 1976a:177, 1976b:6).
Kroeber estimated the population of the Shasta proper in 1910 as 100.
The Shasta peoples had a diet based around locally available food sources. Many animals were hunted to meet nutritional needs including Coho salmon, Bighorn sheep, elk, and California mule deer. The large populations of game animals in their homeland led to many confrontation from other California Natives keen on claiming the prosperous animal populations. During the Autumn plants such as Chokecherries and Camas roots were harvested to supplement other food stores.
- Shasta traditional narratives
- State of Jefferson, an historical region with significant overlap with the lands of the Shasta.
♮ Cook, Sherburne F. 1976a. The Conflict between the California Indian and White Civilization. University of California Press, Berkeley. ♮ Cook, Sherburne F. 1976b. The Population of the California Indians, 1769-1970. University of California Press, Berkeley. ♮Dixon, Roland Burrage (1907). The Huntington California expedition: the Shasta. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 24 August 2012. ♮ Kroeber, A. L. 1925. Handbook of the Indians of California. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin No. 78. Washington, D.C.
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