The Full Wiki

Tolowa: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Tolowa are a tribe of Native Americans, who still resides in their traditional territiories in Northwestern California and southern Oregon. Tolowa are members of the federally recognized Smith River Rancheria[1], Elk Valley Rancheria, Confederated Tribes of Siletz, as well as the unrecognized Tolowa Nation.[2]



The Tolowa traditionally lived in the Smith River basin and vicinity in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon in the United States. The area was bounded by Port Orford, Oregon to the north and Wilson Creek, north of the Klamath River, in California to the south. They lived in approximately eight permanent villages in what is now California and Oregon, including on Crescent Bay, Lake Earl, and the Smith River.[2]

They have traditionally spoken the Tolowa language, one of the Athapaskan languages. Their subsistence was oriented around riverine and marine resources and acorns. Their society was not formally stratified, but considerable stress was put on personal wealth.

Tolowa villages were organized around a headman and usually consisted of related men. The men brought wives in from neighboring tribes. The brides were usually related (sisters), in order for the wealth to remain in the paternal families.


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 Tolowa at 1,000. Sherburne F. Cook initially reduced this to 450, but subsequently raised his estimate to 2,400, with which Martin A. Baumhoff also agreed (Baumhoff 1963:231; Cook 1943:170, 1956:101). The 1920 census listed 121 Tolowa left in Del Norte County, California. Kroeber reported the population of the Tolowa in 1910 as 150.[3]

Today there are approximately 1200 Tolowa Indians.[2]

See also


  • Baumhoff, Martin A. 1963. "Ecological Determinants of Aboriginal California Populations". University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 49:155-236.
  • Collins, James. 1996. Understanding Tolowa Histories: Western Hegemonies and Native American Responses. London: Routledge.
  • Cook, Sherburne F. 1943. The Conflict between the California Indian and White Civilization I: The Indian Versus the Spanish Mission. Ibero-Americana No. 21. University of California, Berkeley.
  • Cook, Sherburne F. 1956. "The Aboriginal Population of the North Coast of California". Anthropological Records 16:81-130. University of California, Berkeley.
  • Drucker, Philip. 1937. "The Tolowa and their Southwest Oregon Kin". University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 36:221-300. Berkeley.
  • Gould, Richard A. 1978. "Tolowa". In California, edited by Robert F. Heizer, pp. 128-136. Handbook of North American Indians, William C. Sturtevant, general editor, vol. 8. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
  • Kroeber, A. L. 1925. Handbook of the Indians of California. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin No. 78. Washington, D.C.

External links


  1. ^ The Smith River Rancheria. (retrieved 8 April 2009)
  2. ^ a b c California Indians and Their Reservations. San Diego State University Library and Information Access. 2009 (retrieved 8 April 2009)
  3. ^ Kroeber, A. L. 1925. Handbook of the Indians of California. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin No. 78. Washington, D.C.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address