Elk Valley Rancheria, California
Our ancestors lived in what is now called Del Norte County since the beginning of time. For local Indian populations, the Gold Rush era of the 1850’s was a time of rapid and cataclysmic change. Massacres took place at several villages, and such violence, along with disease decimated local Indian population. Despite such upheaval and great loss of life, our culture has survived. Today, our community is thriving. During the last two decades, there has been a revival of our language and some cultural practices. Many of our traditions have been passed along to later generations and continue to be an important part of our culture today.
Who We Are
Our dances, language and family ties are aspects of our identity that we value and seek to keep alive. The people of our Tribe trace their genealogies back several generations to specific villages in our ancestral territory. Our dances, language and family ties are aspects of our identity that we value and seek to keep alive. Having these ancient ties to the land and a unique rich culture, we are dedicated to future self-sufficiency, while respecting our past and preserving our culture for future generations.
The Elk Valley Rancheria is geographically located in Tolowa ancestral territory, close to Yurok lands. Our tribal membership include people of both Tolowa and Yurok descent. The Rancheria was founded shortly after the Landless California Indians Act of 1906 as a piece of land reserved for “homeless” local Indians. In the mid-1950’s, Elk Valley, along with approximately 40 other Rancherias throughout the state, were illegally terminated from federal recognition by a Congressional passage of the California Rancheria Act. In 1980’s, Tillie Hardwick, a Pomo Indian, filed a class action suit, which resulted in the restoration of federal recognition of 17 Rancherias, including Elk Valley. Our Tribe formally reorganized in 1994 pursuant to a written Tribal Constitution approved by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. As a Tribe we are deeply committed in preserving our culture, and restoring our lands.