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California Indian Languages: Algonquian Tribes

The distant but clear affiliation of the Yurok and Wiyot languages was first recognized by their inclusion in a separate "Ritwan Family." However, research relates these languages to the Algonquian languages of the Great Plains and Northeast (e.g. Blackfoot, Menomini, Arapho, and Ojibwa-Ottawa-Algonkin-Salteaux). Algonquian, Yuork, and Wiyot are three branches of a very old Algic stock once located somewhere in north-central North America. The Algic stock split into three parts 4,000 years ago. Subsequently, Yurok and Wiyot arrived in northwestern California as distinct languages. On archaeological grounds, the Wiyot arrived circa 900 A.D. and the Yurok circa 1100 A.D.  (Moratto, California Archaeology *)



Wiyot

Native Location: Humboldt Bay and surrounding area

Language:  Wiyot

Identified Shelters: Rectangular structures, made of cedar posts and poles and split cedar planks, and truncated roof

Cultural Notes: The last native speaker died in 1962. Surviving members are trying to buy back Indian Island, once the cultural/spiritual center.

Tribal History:   www.fourdir.com/wiyot.htm

Tribal Website:    Wiyot Tribe     www.wiyot.com



Yurok

Native Location:  Pacific northwestern coast, and the lower Klamath River areas

Language:  Algonquin

Identified Shelters:  Redwood plank structures with gabled roof

Food:  Salmon, acorn, fish, shellfish, sea lion, elk, deer, small game, seeds

Cultural Notes: Their name comes from the Karuk word y├║ruk, which means "down river". Their closest neighbors were the Karuk and Tolowa, with whom they shared many customs. Tribe members spoke all three languages and visited each other frequently.

Tribal History:   www.fourdir.com/yurok.htm


Tribal Website:   
Trinidad Rancheria  (Cher-Ae Indian Community)  www.trinidad-rancheria.org



Other Algonquian Tribe:  Nongati

* Moratto, Michael, California Archaeology, Academic Press, Inc., 1984