Big Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians

Mailing Address

2726 Mission Rancheria Road
Lakeport, CA 95453



Cultural History

The Big Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians is a federally recognized tribe of the United States. It is a part of the Pomo Indians who had a colorful history. The Pomo people are best remembered as a linguistic branch of the Native American people who hails from the Northern California. The tribe's historical lands were those lands located on the Pacific Coast which are between the Cleone and the Duncans Point and are inland to the Clear Lake. There is another separate group who speaks the language of the same family which is called the northeastern Pomo. These people also live near the Stonyford. 

The tribe was named after their land area. On the other hand, the Pomo Indians got their name from the mixture of the words po: mo: which comes from their native tongue. Their tribal name originally mean "those who live at red earth hole". The tribal name was the former name of the other village located in the Southern Potter Valley. The name od the tribe likewise refers to the local deposits of the red mineral called the magnesite. The mineral was being used by the tribal people in their arts, primarily in the red beads or those reddish earth and clay like the hematite which is also being mined in the local territories. The tribal name was also used as a substitute for the suffixes which are put at the ends of names of places so as to give the meaning that the place belonged to a specific group of people. 

The tribe has an affluent culture closely linked to those of the other Pomo bands. They are connected by their similarities in location, in the language, as well as some of the songs, dance and prayers. The bands of the Pomo Indians, however, are neither politically not socially linked together in such a way that they formed a unified tribe. The tribe such as this one chose to live off the others in smaller groups which were favorable to them. They are then interrelated to one another due to the tribal intermarriages and the lineage.

The tribe relied upon the fishing, agricultural and hunting for their food. They had the resources that they needed in order to survive. They also gathered berries and some other fruits so support their survival. They are speakers of different languages which are all closely linked to, yet have distinct differences. Their primary language, however, is known as the Kulanapan which includes several branches such as the southern pomo, the eastern pomo and the Kashaya. The major religion in the tribe is that of the shamanism which sprouted out from the Kuksu religion widely used among the Central and the Northern California regions. Most of the tribal members believed in the intervention of the spirit world and the supernatural being named Kuksu. 

The tribe of today is engaged in several enterprises. The population of the Pomo is up to eight thousand in the year 1770, between 3,500-5,000 in the year 1450, 777 in the year 1910 and 4,900 in the census data of the year 1990.the tribal operations keep their high hope of economic progress alive.

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