Alturas Rancheria

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 360
Alturas, CA 96101


Cultural History

The Alturas Rancheria of the Pit River Indians are a branch of the Pit River Indians, as the name indicates, that resides in Altrus, an area found in the northern part of California. Although the Alturas Rancheria sect of the Pit River Indians has not established a clear culture of their own, they follow the set standards and history that their group developed before they split into their own area.

Interestingly enough, the origin of the name Pit River Indians comes from the Indian word Achomawi. Achomawi, in itself, is a way of meaning winter people, or people from the snow. This meaning comes from the origin of the Pit River Indians, who came from a colder area of the country, and does not reflect well against their current location in California.

The history of the Alturas Rancheria of the Pit River Indians is filled with tales of interesting explorers and battles with enemy forces. Throughout their history, the Pit River Indians consistently found themselves up against explorers from Spain, Russia, and England. And after their meetings with these explorers ended, American exploration into the west proved to be a problem as well! 

The Pit River Indians often had troubles in these early days. An invasion by a government force led by a General Crook led to many deaths and casualties. Further tragedy ensued during the next fifty years, as a war with a nearby tribe and smallpox decimated even more of the members left in the tribe. Indeed, if one were to look at just these early years from 1850-1920, it would be hard to believe that the Alturas Rancheria of the Pit River Indians, let alone the original Pit River Indians themselves, would still be thriving today.

But as they say, the strongest people are those who survive through hardship and that is exactly what the Alturas Rancheria of the Pit River Indians did. Although their struggles did not end immediately into the next decade, they were able to pave a community with land given and today are prospering. The Pit River Indians, as a whole, own a profitable casino that helps provide jobs and income to all members everywhere. And although the Alturas Rancheria branch moved into their own area long ago, they continue to communicate and benefit from their larger group.

The Alturas Rancheria of the Pit River Indians are an interesting group of Native Americans. They have not been separated from their overlapping group long enough to have created their own history, but have been part of something, perhaps, bigger and grander. The early struggles that they faced as Pit River Indians were real and provided many heartbreaking tragedies. But a sense of survival has allowed this tribe to continue to make its way through the hard time, and will continue to be useful throughout the future.

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