The traditional Yurok economy focused on salmon and acorns. The people also produced excellent basketry and made canoes from redwood trees, selling them to inland tribes. Wealth was counted in strings of dentalium shells, obsidian blades, woodpecker scalps, and albino deerskins.
Acorns were the main food for the Yurok. Fish (mostly salmon) was also important to them.
Changes to river hydrology, rising sea levels, increased frequency of storm events, and a loss of culturally significant species have all altered the manner in which Yurok people are able to maintain cultural, economic, and spiritual ties to their sacred lands.
What were Yurok weapons and tools like in the past? Yurok hunters used bows and arrows. Yurok fishermen used spears, nets, and wooden fish traps. The Yurok didn’t go to war very often.
The Incas were agriculturally the most advanced. Through highly sophisticated crop selection techniques, they developed corn, potatoes, peppers and tomatoes into the crops they are today. Crops developed by the Incas currently provide a significant percentage of worldwide food consumption.
Culturally, our people are known as great fishermen, eelers, basket weavers, canoe makers, storytellers, singers, dancers, healers and strong medicine people. Before we were given the name ” Yurok ” we referred to ourselves and others in our area using our Indian language.
Yurok Tribe Language Program Aiy-yue-kwee’ Nee-kee-chue! ( Hello Everyone!)
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, following the Klamath and Salmon River War, the Lower Klamath River Indian Reservation was created by executive order.
The Yurok houses were made out of redwood planks. The houses were also made with a slanted roof to help drain the rainwater off the roof. The houses were made from split redwood logs which supported the houses’ frame. To hold the house up they used square poles and grape vines.
From the Yurok tribe they got canoes, dried seaweed, salt, and salt water fish. To get those they traded acorns, obsidian, and some inland foods, to trade with their coastal neighbor. Some things were purchased with dentalium shells which served as money of the northern California people.
Within the U.S., there are 562 Native American tribes. The largest are Navajo, Cherokee and Sioux. More than 3 million people in the U.S. are Native people.
Thus divided and isolated, the original Californians were a diverse population, separated by language into as many as 135 distinct dialects. Tribes included the Karok, Maidu, Cahuilleno, Mojave, Yokuts, Pomo, Paiute, and Modoc.
Cheyenne, North American Plains Indians who spoke an Algonquian language and inhabited the regions around the Platte and Arkansas rivers during the 19th century. Before 1700 the Cheyenne lived in what is now central Minnesota, where they farmed, hunted, gathered wild rice, and made pottery.
Hockey or shinney. Varieties of this were played on both sides of the Sierra, the Yokuts using a ball (see illustration in Culin, fig. 811.) the Paiute using a rag or ball, and both peoples using a kind of primitive shinney or lacrosse stick.