January 8, 2017



The traditional location of the Wintun Tribe (aka Wetu) was in the Greater Sacramento Valley in California. Here is a timeline of important events that impacted their history.

1826:  The first contact of the Wintun with the white Europeans was with an expedition of fur traders led by Jedediah Smith.

1827: A Hudson’s Bay Company trapper called Peter Skene Ogden and his trapping party encountered the Wintun.

1830: Influenza epidemic.

1832: Malaria epidemic. An estimated 75% of Wintun people died due to devastating influenza and malaria epidemics (1830 – 1833) spread by the fur traders.

1841: The California Trail opens.

1843: The first major migration along the Oregon Trail took place as white settlers traveled west in wagon trains.

1846: South Emigrant Road aka the Applegate Trail opens. The influx of settlers lead to conflict with the Wintun Native Indians.

1846: John C. Fremont and Kit Carson become involved in the conflicts and 175 members of the Wintu and Yana tribes are killed.

1848: California is passed to the US with the Treaty of Guadalupe.

1848: Gold is discovered at Sutter’s timber Mill starting the California Gold rush. The Wintun tribal lands were inundated with white gold rush settlers.

1848: The white settlers and gold prospectors bring various diseases to the Native Indians, like the Wintun,  who lived in the surrounding areas of the westward trails.

1850: California was admitted into the Union.

1850: A “friendship feast” resulted in death as  whites served poisoned food to Native Indians including 45 members of the Wintun people.

1851: Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

1851 Old Shasta Town Miners killed 300 Wintu Indians near Old Shasta, California and burned down their tribal council meeting house.

1852: Fort Reading was established for the protection of settlers.

1852: The Bridge Gulch Massacre occurred on April 23, 1852 in retaliation for the killing of Col. John Anderson, when more than 150 people of the Wintun tribe were killed by a force of 70 Americans led by William H. Dixon.

1855: The Battle Castle Rock was fought by Wintu and Modoc warriors against U.S. Army soldiers, volunteer militiamen and gold miners led by Mountain Joe.

1856: The six month Wintoon War erupted led by General Kibbe against the Bald Hills and Trinity Wintu. 100 members of the Wintun tribe were killed and 300 were sent to the Mendocino reservation.

1858: Wintoon War; 100 Wintun killed.

1863: The Wintun tribe were forced onto the Round Valley Reservation. Other tribe members ended up on the Colusa, Cortina, Grindstone Creek, Redding, and Rumsey Rancherias.

1870: The Bole-Maru and the Earth Lodge Religion were religious revitalization movements of tribes in north-central California that grew out of the Ghost Dance movement. ‘Bole’ is a Wintun word and ‘Maru’ is a Pomo word both referring to the dreams of medicine people.

1933: The Shasta Dam was constructed, Wintun homes were flooded and the dam led to forced relocation of Wintu cemeteries.

1950-1960: Some rancherias were terminated.

Tribal Timelines
About nativelady

Leave a Reply