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Big Valley Tribe

Big Valley Tribal members are descendants of the Xa-Ben-Na-Po Band of Pomo Indians that historically have inhabited the Clear Lake area of Lake County, California. In 1851, Big Valley Pomo leaders met with a representative of the President of the United States and all agreed upon a treaty that would allow them to live in peace and harmony with the new settlers coming to the area. This treaty established a reservation with a habitable area of approximately 72 square miles on the South side of Clear Lake which encompassed Mt. Konocti east of Kelsey Creek. The area also included significant water front property just west of an exclusive area known as Buckingham. On July 8, 1852 the United States Senate, in executive session, refused to ratify this and 17 other California Treaties and ordered them filed under an injunction of secrecy which was not removed until January 18, 1905 (53 years later). At the same time Congress passed the Land Claims Act of 1851 which provided that claims to all lands in California be presented within two years of the date of the act. Their leaders were unaware of the need to present their claims and failed to meet the statutory deadline. Deprived of protected legal title to their lands by treaty or formal claim, their ancestors became landless. Years later the various Pomo Bands around the lake were given small parcels of land called Rancheria’s. The Big Valley Pomo Rancheria site was initially established as a Catholic Mission in 1877. In 1914 the U.S. Department of Interior purchased the land for their tribe and in 1936, under the...

Pomo Basket Making

Pomo baskets were used for many practical purposes. The first use of a basket was a baby basket which was well made, and could be transported by placing it on the back and using a net and forehead band, packed at the side, or in the arms. Baskets were also used for food preparation. The weave of this basket was so tight that it would hold water. When water was added the basket material would swell, ensuring that it would continue to hold water. One would wonder how did we cook food without burning the basket. This was done by only cooking food which contained a considerable amount of water, such as soups or mush. To heat and cook the food, stones were heated in a fire and put into the cooking basket which caused the food to boil. For articles of any amount a large sized coarsely woven basket was used. Woven of white willow only, the strands were place far enough apart so that the articles within could be easily seen. This basket was used a great deal in holding fish, small pieces of wood and other coarse articles. The weight was packed on the back and supported by a forehead band. For gathering seed, back packing and conical shaped baskets were used. These baskets were also tightly woven and made with pretty designs. Storage baskets, made to contain a supply of food for winter were tied from the sides and ceilings of the homes or placed on the dirt floor of the dwelling. These were to hold dried fish, acorns, roots, and dried berries. Pomo Basket...

Pomo Tribe

Pomo Indians, Poma Indians. The name of the Indian linguistic stock, technically known as Kulanapan, living in parts of Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Colusa, and Glenn Counties, California. In the northern Pomo dialect Pomo means ‘people,’ and added to a place name forms the name for a group of people. Although Poma is almost as frequently heard as Pomo, the latter has come into general use in both scientific and popular literature. The territory occupied by the Pomo is in two parts: a main area which extends, generally speaking, from west to east, from the coast to the crest of the main range of the Coast Range mountains, and from south to north, from the vicinity of Santa Rosa to Sherwood valley on the upper course of Eel river; the second area is a very small one, lying wholly within the Sacramento valley drainage and comprising only a limited area on the headwaters of Stony creek in Colusa and Glenn Counties, and is occupied by a people speaking a dialect differing from any of those spoken in the main area to the west. The Pomo thus occupied all of Russian River Valley except two small areas, one between Geyserville and Healdsburg, the other at the extreme head of Potter valley, both of which were occupied by people of the Yukian stock. On the west of the main Pomo area is the Pacific, on the south is Moquelumnan territory, on the east are Yukian-Wappo and Wintun areas, and on the north the Yuki and the Athapascan Kato areas, from which it is separated by the watershed between Cahto and Sherwood valleys....

Pomo Indian Bands, Gens and Clans

Many tribes have sub-tribes, bands, gens, clans and phratry.  Often very little information is known or they no longer exist.  We have included them here to provide more information about the tribes. Cahlahtel Pomo. An unidentifiable band of Pomo, said to have lived in Mendocino co., Cal. Wiley in Ind. Aff. Rep. 1864, 119, 1865. Haukoma. A Pomo division or band on the w. side of Clear lake, Cal, numbering 40 in...

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