Stories, Legends and Other Things: The Real Story on the Indian Wars of Northwestern California

Over the past few years new history books have been written proclaiming victory over the local Indians by the U.S. Soldiers. In Colleges and Universities, some scholars are also teaching this assumption. In some cases, even Indian scholars are carrying this idea forth, and all are doing it without much explanation on how they arrived on that theory. It is astonishing for me to read most history books and articles on Humboldt County and see how the Hupa’s involvement in the war activity is either downplayed or ignored altogether, the fact remains; once the U.S. Government signed a Treaty with the Hupa, all war activity in Northwest California came to an end. Read More →

Stories, Legends and Other Things: Sheet Iron Jack

Traveling east on Highway 299, we pass through a small semi-ghost town six miles west of Redding. At one time, this little community was one of the most important sites in northern California. For more than three decades, from 1850 and into the 1880’s, it was the county seat for Shasta. Old Shasta, as it is known today, was first called Reading Springs. It soon changed its name to Shasta and was considered the “Queen City” of the gold country. From there the pack mules, or pack trains, ferried prospectors and supplies into the riches of the Trinity and Siskiyou mountains. It was safer to travel into those regions from the east rather than risking dangerous encounters with the Redwood and Hupa Indians from the west. Read More →

Stories, Legends and Other Things: George Gibbs 1815-1873

George Gibbs./Photo courtesy of Wiki CommonsAccurate accounts of the very early days of contact between Native people and miners are scarce, at best. Since newspapers and military sources offering some accountability would not arrive in the area until 1853, most accounts prior to that time were derived from the non-Indian participants, which were subject to distortion and inaccuracy. Oral history accounts from the Natives are for the most part discounted by historians who wrote Humboldt County history due in part to the exaggerated information gathered from the white participants years later. Read More →

Stories, Legends and Other Things

As descendants of the people who lived in this valley not too long ago, we sometimes wonder how we as people in this modern age can readapt some of those ancient ways to help make our lives better. Of course there are certain ways that could never be brought back. We have too many outside influences which we could never change. Modern technology has made us too dependent on certain things and it would be impossible for us to function without them. But perhaps the real concern for us today is the things that we may be losing. Read More →

Stories Legends and Other Things: No Warrior Society

During World War II more than 44,000 Indians out of a total U.S Indian population of less than 350,000 served in the military between 1941 and 1945 in both the European and Pacific theaters of war. Of the approximately 300 Hupa males over 18 years of age at that time, sixty three of them also went off to fight in those distant wars. Read More →

Stories, Legends and Other Things: Who Won the War?

During the conflict between local Indians and the U.S Military over one hundred and fifty years ago, many engagements took place, and most of them were considered major battles. Today different interpretations of what actually happened are still being called into question. Some people question whether it was actually a war at all. Still others debate on who actually won the conflict between the two groups. Read More →

Stories Legends and Other Things: Peace in the Valley

But time itself was irrelevant to the Hupa. When a group of people live in one community in one location for hundreds of generations, a way of life is developed through trial and error, which is honed and tailored into a near perfect society. That is what happened in this valley. Read More →

Stories Legends and Other Things: Touch the Moon

Then the next stage, at least for most boys, was cowboys and Indians and army, or war. Looking back, I guess it was true that no one really wanted to be the Indian, because you were taught in school and by the movies, that it was the Indian that always lost or was killed. So we were always the cowboy. Read More →