Linguistics and Culture

California Athabascan Groups: Baumhoff

Kroeber and Goddard call the northern most group Chilula, and anglicization of the Yurok word tsulu-la meaning “Bald Hills people,” and the southern, Whilkut, from the Hupa word hoilkut-hoi meaning “Redwood Creek people” or “upper Redwood Creek people.” Merriam calls the first of his two divisions Hoilkut and say that they lived on Redwood Creek and on the North Fork of Mad. The group he further subdivides into three parts: one, living on lower Redwood Creek, corresponds to the Chilula of Kroeber and Goddard; another, on upper Redwood Creek, corresponds to part of Kroeber’s Whilkut; and a third on the North Fork of the Mad River, corresponds to a part of Loud’s Wiyot.

This research conducted by Baumhoff helps contribute to the history of several tribes and contributes to Moon Creek Corporation land forestry and land management plan. As well as, oral history, from “current” indigenous sources in the region. Below you can see the proposed boundaries and research.

Source: California Athabascan Groups By Marin A. Baumhoff 1958

Athabascan Area and Tribelets

  1. “Redwood” Ho-ech-ke and “North” e’-te : inhabiting the valleys and adjacent slopes of redwood creek from its mouth upstream 12 miles to the Tom Bair Ranch at the Junction of Minor Creek — a distance in an air line of about 17.5 miles.

Athabascan Tattooing by C. Hart Merriam

Credit: Baumhoff 1958

California Journals for September 15, 1910

“Talked with several Indians at Blue Lake. The boundary between the Pah-te-waht (Wiyot) of Lower Mad River, and the ‘Hoil-kut or Ho-il-let-ha of Redwood Valley lies along the North Fork of Mad River near its mouth, between Korbel and Blue Lake. The Pah-te-waht I saw today live on Mad River at Blue Lake (on the south edge of town), while the Hoi-let’ha live on the extreme northeast beyond the town and cemetery.”

Statement from an informant at Blue Lake in 1910

“The Hoil’-kut or Redwood Creek Indians (commonly called Chilula, Hwilkut or Whilkut) were until recent years one of the dominant Athapaskan tribes of Humboldt County in northwestern California. Their territory consisted of the whole valley of Redwood Creek and the adjacent mountains from a point on the creek 10 or 12 miles above its mouth to Chaparral Mountain at the head of the creek, and included also the North Fork of Mad River and a short stretch on the north side of the main Mad River between Blue Lake and Korbel.”

Tribal Name: Redwood Acorn Eaters

  • Hoi ch-let – kah or Ho-e-ch-kut-ka slurred “Hoil’kut”
  • Ho -e-ch-kut kew-yahn’-ne-ahm