Pacific Region:
Bishop Paiute Tribe
Cabazon Band of Mission Indians
Ewiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians
Hoopa Valley Tribe
Lower Lake Rancheria
Karuk Tribe
Manzanita Band of Mission Indians
North Fork Rancheria
Pinoleville Pomo Nation
Redding Rancheria
Smith River Rancheria
Yurok Tribe

Central California:
Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria
Benton Paiute Reservation
Berry Creek Rancheria
Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley
Big Sandy Rancheria
Big Valley Rancheria
Bishop Paiute Tribe
Bridgeport Indian Colony
Buena Vista Rancheria
Cahto Tribal Executive Committee
California Valley Miwok Tribe
Chicken Ranch Rancheria
Cloverdale Rancheria
Cold Springs Rancheria
Colusa Rancheria
Cortina Rancheria
Coyote Valley Reservation
Dry Creek Rancheria
Elem Indian Colony
Enterprise Rancheria
Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria
Fort Independence Reservation
Greenville Rancheria
Grindstone Rancheria
Guidiville Rancheria
Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake
Hopland Reservation
Ione Band of Miwok Indians
Jackson Rancheria
Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Reservation
Lower Lake Rancheria
Lytton Rancheria
Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians
Mechoopda Indian Tribe of the Chico Rancheria
Middletown Rancheria
Mooretown Rancheria
North Fork Rancheria
Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians
Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians
Pinoleville Reservation
Potter Valley Tribe
Redwood Valley Reservation
Robinson Rancheria
Round Valley Reservation
Rumsey Yocha Dehe Winton Nation
Santa Rosa Rancheria
Scotts Valley Rancheria
Sherwood Valley Rancheria
Shingle Springs Rancheria
Stewarts Point Rancheria
Table Mountain Rancheria
Tejon Indian Tribe
Timbi-Sha Shoshone Tribe
Tule River Reservation
Tuolumne Rancheria
United Auburn Indian Community

Northern California:
Alturas Rancheria
Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria
Big Lagoon Rancheria
Blue Lake Rancheria
Cedarville Rancheria
Elk Valley Rancheria
Fort Bidwell Reservation
Northern California Agency
Pit River Tribal Council
Quartz Valley Reservation
Resighini Rancheria
Susanville Indian Rancheria
Trinidad Rancheria
Wiyot Tribe

Southern California:
Augustine Band of Mission Indians
Barona Band of Mission Indians
Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians
Campo Band of Mission Indians
Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians
Inaja-Cosmit Reservation
Jamul Indian Village
La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians
La Posta Band of Mission Indians
Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla & Cupeno Indians
Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians
Morongo Band of Mission Indians
Pala Band of Mission Indians
Pauma/Yuima Band of Mission Indians
Pechanga Band of Mission Indians
Ramona Band of Mission Indians
Rincon Band of Mission Indians
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
San Pasqual Band of Diegueno Indians
Santa Rosa Band of Mission Indians
Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians
Santa Ysabel Band of Mission Indians
Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians
Southern California Agency
Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation
Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians
Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians
Viejas Band of Mission Indians

Palm Springs:
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

The earliest evidence of sedentary village life in what is today California dates
back to around 10,000 years ago.  Although, many archaeologists believe the
earliest migrations of Paleo-Indians into this region occurred as early as 25,000 b.
c.  The Paleo-Indians migrated across a land bridge that existed during the last
Ice Age.  In their search for food, they followed the big game animals such as the
woolly mammoth into North America.

The natural environment and climate in California varied from region to region and
included coastal, forests, mountains, valleys and desert regions.  It is because of
the regions that many of the cultures developed as they did.  These environments
determined the types of houses, clothing, food sources, and natural resources
available to the people.  The Indian peoples who settled in the coastal California
area were heavily dependent upon the ocean for survival, harvesting many
different types of fish, including shellfish.  The shells and bones of these fish were
also used for ornamentation and tool implements.  

The river system in North Central California provided access to salmon, an
important food source to the area tribes.  Every year during the seasonal runs,
thousands of pounds of salmon were caught and dried to eat throughout the year.
The salmon was stored in woven baskets stuffed with Laurel leaves.  The
aromatic, pungent scent of Laurel acted as a preservative, keeping out flies and
other insects.  The largest and most productive rivers lay near the tribes of the
Hupa, Karok, Shasta, Wiyot and Yurok.

In Central California, acorns were gathered and ground into acorn meal.  Among
central tribes such as the Pomo, Maidu, Miwok, Wintun and Yokut, acorns would
soon become the staple food in their daily lives.  The method of processing the
acorns into edible meal, however, took a great deal of time.  The acorns would be
placed in a mortar-pestle and then pounded into a mush or “chemuck.”  The acorn
mush would then be leached with water repeatedly to remove the tannic acid.  
Roots and berries in addition to deer, rabbit, and squirrel, were also part of their
main food sources.

In Southern California acorns were consumed as well as pine nuts seeds, and
even cactus.  In some areas, maize, beans and squash were cultivated. Other
areas were more desert-like with the southern tribes having to adapt to a hotter
and drier climate. Among the southern tribes were the Chumash, Diegueno,
Gabrielino, Luiseno, Cahuilla, Mojave and Chemehuevi.
Family dwellings varied in shape and size.  In the northern regions, houses were
constructed with wooden planks, usually made of cedar or redwood.  In central
regions some wooden houses were constructed, but the majority were in the form
of earth lodges.  In southern regions, homes and villages were constructed from
willow branches and tule or bulrush layers which made them waterproof.  On top,
the dwellings were equipped with smokeholes to allow smoke to escape from the

The day to day lives of the Indians remained essentially unchanged until October
of 1542 when a Portuguese man by the name of Juan Cabrillo first sailed into the
San Diego Bay and then north to the Santa Barbara Channel.  It was here that he
first encountered people of the great Chumash nation. With these early
discoveries, Spain would lay claim to what would later become California.

Additional Links

The dependency upon the ocean was an essential part in the development of the
cultures of coastal California.  The ocean provided many varieties of food sources
including clams, fish, shellfish, mammals, and sea kelp.  The kelp beds near the
coast provided a nutrient-rich environment which supported mammals such as
seals and sea lions.  Near the shore were waterfowl and edible seeds from
grasses.  In almost every region of coastal California, canoes were built for fishing
and travel.

In the northern areas, hollowed out redwood logs served as lightweight canoes.  
Along the Central Coast the Chumash built long plank canoes called “tomols.”  
Other tribes such as the Yokut and Pomo built canoes out of “tule balsa”, a native
grass to navigate river systems.

Shells were one of the most important material provided by the ocean.  The
Chumash Indians developed a monetary system using shells or shell beads as
money.  The name Chumash is actually derived from the word, “michumash,”
which means “those who make shell money.”  Shells such as clamshell,
abalone, olivella (marine snail) and callus shells were harvested from the ocean.

Some shells were used for necklaces and ornamentation, however, the olivella
and callus shells were prized for the value as bead money. The value of bead
money was determined by the length of strands and the type of shell.  Bead
money was used as trade or payment for food, clothing, and other goods.
Chumash Abalone/Clam Shell Necklace
circa 1500

Juan Bautista de Anza (1736-1788) was the third generation of his family to serve
on the frontier of New Spain. He spent his entire career in military service, mostly
in Sonora, a desert peopled by Tohono Òodham (Papago) and Pima Indians,
among others. In 1773 Viceroy Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa (1717-1779)
gave Captain Anza permission to leave Tubac in present-day southern Arizona to
lead a small group from Arizona to San Diego and Monterey, California.

In January 1774. traveling to California and back to Monterrey, Mexico, he covered
2,000 miles in five months. Most of this territory was unknown and Anza
meticulously gathered new information concerning the land and its people.

In October 1775 Anza guided a group of 240 people from his staging area in
Tubac to California. The primary motive for the expedition was to populate the new
areas with settlers. Anza recruited actively among young married couples, many
from the lower classes, and the group included many women and children.

Anza founded San Francisco and San José, California, in 1776-77. The journey's
success was due in part to Anza's ability to forge alliances with a few of the Native
American communities encountered along the route. Some were very generous in
their assistance. The Tohono O'odham and Chumash provided much-needed
food. Viceroy Bucareli appointed Anza governor of New Mexico, a post that he held
until 1787.

By the 1750s Spain realized that California and particularly the Monterey Bay area
urgently needed stronger defenses. Spaniards had established presidios and
missions to prevent incursions by the English and the Russians into area
previously explored by Sebastián Vizcaíno (1550?-1615) and others. Viceroy José
de Gálvez (1720-1787) sought to extend the Spanish frontier to the upper
northwest, a policy followed by his successor Viceroy Antonio María de Bucareli
(January 24, 1717-April 9, 1779).

During the 1760s and 1770s, the Spanish concentrated on finding overland
routes from Arizona to California and founding missions and settlements there.
Gaspar de Portolá (1723-1784), a Spanish military officer, and Father Junípero
Serra (1713-1784), a Franciscan friar, founded the first of nine Franciscan
missions in present-day San Diego in 1769. Portolá also established a fort at
Monterey in 1770. Father Serra founded Misión San Gabriel on the Pacific coast in
1771. Juan Bautista de Anza and his group rested there briefly on their way back
to the presidio in Tubac, Arizona on their return from Monterey in 1774.

Under Serra’s direction, the Franciscans provided religious instruction and taught
European agricultural techniques to the local Native Americans. Indigenous tribes
often celebrated religious worship and special occasions through dance, with or
without masks. European clergy frequently misunderstood such rituals as
demonic and banned them from mission life. This presented difficulties for
Indians who came to the missions looking for a steady source of food, but who
found the loss of their culture too hard to bear.

At the time of his death in 1784, Serra’s nine missions claimed some 6,000
converts among the Indians. The Franciscan Fermín de Lasuén (1736-1803)
founded California’s tenth mission at Santa Barbara. Ultimately, 21 Franciscan
missions were founded in California between 1769 and 1823. The distance
between each mission was approximately a day's horseback ride. This
connection became known as the Camino Real. The missions were the basis for
a lasting agricultural economy on the Pacific Coast.
La Purisima Mission Today
La Purisima Mission destroyed
by earthquake 1812, photo 1883
Chumash Ax Head
Chumash Points &
Acorn Pounder