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Chowchilla Tribe

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Chowchilla Indians. A name applied in various forms to two distinct divisions of California, one belonging to the Miwok (Moquelumnan family), the other to the Yokuts (Mariposan family). The former lived on the upper waters of Fresno and Chowchilla rivers, and the latter, properly called Chaushila, probably on lower Chowchilla river, in the plains and lowest foothills. Recorded under many forms of the same name from the time of the gold excitement, the two divisions have been inextricably confused. A treaty was made with them and numerous other tribes Apr. 29, 1851, by which a tract between Chowchilla and Kaweah rivers was reserved for their use. At this time the Yokuts Chowchilla, or Chaushila, together with the Howeches, Chukchansi, Pohoniche, and Nukchu were said to be under a single chief called Naiyakqua. The Miwok division, apparently, were considered the most powerful and warlike people of that region, and to them was attributed the greater part of the hostilities, murders, and robberies that had occurred, although this arraignment is probably due to nothing more than the defense by the Indians of themselves and their homes against the depredations of lawless whites. These numbered only 85 in 1857. The reservation was abandoned by 1859, and a smaller one, west of Madera, was set aside; this, however, was seemingly never confirmed. There are some survivors of the Miwok Chowchilla living along the upper waters of the stream that bears their name.


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