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Reconstruction of a traditional Yurok plank house

The Yurok, whose name means "downriver people", are Native Americans whose ancestors, by some estimates, have lived for at least 10,000 years[citation needed] near the Pacific Ocean coast of Northern California , United States.

Following encounters with white settlers moving into their aboriginal lands during a gold rush in 1850, the Yurok were faced with disease and massacres that reduced their population by 75%. In 1855, most of those that remained were forcibly relocated to the Yurok Indian Reservation on the Klamath River.

On November 24, 1993, the Yurok Tribe adopted a constitution that details the jurisdiction and territory of their lands. Under the Hoopa-Yurok Settlement Act of 1988, Pub. L. 100-580, qualified applicants had the option of enrolling in the Yurok Tribe. Of the 3,685 qualified applicants for the Settlement Roll, 2,955 person chose Yurok membership. 227 of those members had a mailing address on the Yurok reservation but a majority lived within 50 miles of the reservation. The Yurok are currently the largest group of Native Americans in the state of California. The Yurok reservation of 63,035 acres (255 kmĀ²) has an 80% poverty rate and 70% of the inhabitants do not have telephone service or electricity, according to the tribe's webpage.



Yurok basketweaver

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 Yurok at 2,500. Sherburne F. Cook initially agreed (Cook 1976:165), but later raised this estimate to 3,100 (Cook 1956:84).

By 1870, the Yurok population had declined to 1,350, according to Cook (1976:237). By 1910 it was reported as 668 or 700 (Cook 1976:237; Kroeber 1925:883).

The US Census for the year 2000 indicates that there were 4, 413 Yurok living in California, combining those of one tribal descent and those with ancestors of several different tribes and groups. There were 5,793 Yurok living in all of the United States.

See also


  • Cook, Sherburne F. 1956. "The Aboriginal Population of the North Coast of California". Anthropological Records 16:81-130. University of California, Berkeley.
  • Cook, Sherburne F. 1976. The Conflict between the California Indian and White Civilization. University of California Press, Berkeley.
  • Kroeber, A. L. 1925. Handbook of the Indians of California. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin No. 78. Washington, D.C.

External links



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