July 13, 2012

Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians of California


The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians of California descended from the Shodakai Pomo. Shodakai means “Valley in the East.” In 1850, before Lake Mendocino existed, the land belonged to the Shodakai Pomo. This land was also a major Indian trail from Ukiah Valley to Potter Valley and Lake County. 

Official Tribal Name: Coyote Valley Reservation

Address:  7751 North State Street, P.O. Box 39, Redwood Valley, CA 95470
Phone:  (707) 485-8723
Fax:  (707) 485-1247

Official Website: (Under construction as of Nov 2014) 

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

Common Name: Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians

Meaning of Common Name:

Alternate names: Formerly known as the Coyote Valley Reservation

Alternate spellings / Mispellings:

Name in other languages:

Region: California

State(s) Today: California

Traditional Territory:

The Pomo people are from northwestern California, where they still occupy their ancestral lands. They are derived from seven culturally similar but politically independent villages or tribelets. Pomo-speaking people have traditionally occupied land about 50 miles north of San Francisco Bay, on the coast and inland, especially around Clear Lake and the Russian River, in what is now Mendocino , Sonoma, and Lake counties.

Confederacy: Pomo


Reservations: Coyte Valley Reservation
Land Area:  Approximately 70 acres located in Mendocino County, California.
Tribal Headquarters:  
Time Zone:  Pacific

Population at Contact:

There were an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 California Indians around the middle of the 18th century when the Europeans arrived in the new world. Due to contact with the Spanish and other Europeans in the region, and the introduction of diseases and warfare, the population in the region of Native Americans fell by more than 90%, from upward of 200,000 in the mid-19th century to roughly 15,000, within the span of a generation or two. By 1915, their population had been reduced to just 16,000. 

Registered Population Today:

Today there are approximately 5,000 Pomo people who live on or near the rancherias of Big Valley, Cloverdale, Dry Creek, Grindstone, Guidiville, Hopland, Lytton, Manchester-Point Arena, Middletown, Pinoleville, Potter Valley, Redwood Valley, Robinson, Scotts Valley, Sherwood Valley, Stewarts Point, and Upper Lake, and on the Coyote Valley and Round Valley reservations, and another 140 Pomo live on the Sulphur Bank Rancheria/Elem Indian Colony.

Membership in the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, now known as the Coyote Valley Reservation,  is about 325 enrolled members. Of that number, about 170 reside on the reservation.

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Genealogy Resources:


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Language Classification: They had seven related but mutually unintelligible languages belonging to the Hokan language.

Language Dialects: Dialects included Southern Pomo, Central Pomo, Northern Pomo, Eastern Pomo, Northeastern Pomo, Southeastern Pomo, and Southwestern Pomo (Kashaya).

Number of fluent Speakers:



Bands, Gens, and Clans

Related Tribes:

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Along the Pacific coast they fished and gathered shellfish, relying secondarily on acorns and game. Along the rivers they caught king salmon and also ate acorns and game. 

Economy Today:

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Wedding Customs


Pomo Chiefs and Leaders


Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

The Pomo Indians were forcibly removed from Coyote Valley and sent to government sponsored reserves in 1850. When the reserve system failed, the Indians went back to their land and it had been settled by whites.

In 1909 the Federal government, through the Bereau of Indian Affairs, purchased 101 acres in Coyote Valley for the benefit of the local Indians, some living on the Old Rancheria and some living on rancherias in Ukiah.

This official Coyote Valley Rancheria existed until 1957 when the Corp of Engineers aquired the property for the dam and much of the land was flooded, creating Lake Mendocino.

Today there is a Pomo cultural center where the old rancheria stood at Lake Mendocino. The Corp of engineers and the Mendo-Lake Pomo Council agreed to this to replace land lost by the Indians before 1978.

In the News:

Further Reading:

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