Our Culture

Photo courtesy of Bradley Marshall

The Hoopa people call themselves Na:tinixwe which means “people of the place where the trails return”.  Because of the remoteness of the lands inhabited by the Hoopa people, the contact period with non-Indians in this region was much later than other Native people in California and was largely due to the Gold Rush that started in 1849.  The culture and traditions of the Hoopa people have remained intact and are still a part of their everyday lives.  The world renewal dances, the White Deerskin Dance and Jump Dance are held bi-yearly.

The Hoopa language is part of the Athabaskan ethnolinguistic group and is being revitalized with the language being taught in the local schools.  The Hoopa people are known for their intricate basketry and elkhorn carvings.  Xontah’s, (houses) were made of cedar planks and were permanent structures. The area provided plentiful food and the main food staples include deer, elk, salmon, eels, acorns, mushrooms and berries which are still enjoyed today by native people in this area.

Oral traditional stories have been handed down generation after generation and storytelling are still used to teach the merits of living an honorable life. The Hoopa Tribe holds two cultural camps in the summer; Acorn camp for girls and Warrior camp for boys to ensure that traditions and culture are passed down to the next generation.

Photo courtesy of Bradley Marshall

Photo courtesy of Bradley Marshall

Community Profile

Photo courtesy of Bradley Marshall

Photo courtesy of the Warrior Institute

The Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation, located in far northern California, lies 300 miles north of San Francisco, 64 miles northeast of Eureka and 90 miles south of the Oregon border. The reservation totals 92,000 acres of primarily timber and agricultural land and is the largest Reservation in California. The Trinity River runs through the valley with forestlands covering the surrounding mountains including the Trinity Alps.

The latest census information shows a population of 3,494 with 80.5% identified as American Indian.

Neighboring Tribes include the Yurok, Karuk, Tolowa, Chilula and Whilkut.  The Hoopa Valley Tribe is the largest employer on the reservation with the Klamath Trinity Unified School District being the second largest employer.  The reservation has a public elementary school that houses K-8 grades and a public high school with over 1,000 students.

The Hoopa Valley Tribe governs the jurisdiction of the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation.  The governing Tribal Council includes a Chairperson and representatives from seven of the traditional village sites on the reservation. The Chairperson and Council members are elected by the tribal membership and serve staggered two year terms.

The Hoopa Valley is known for its beauty, great recreation, and mild climate for hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, sun worship, river rafting, snow sledding, gardening, photography, bird watching, and proximity to the coastal activities for beach combing, swimming, and surfing.

Our people tell it best