In this section of California America Indian Facts we provide information on the Hupa Indians tribe (also spelled Hoopa).This Native American Indian tribe is from Northwestern California. The Hupa people settled in Hoopa Valley, California around 1000 AD after migrating from the North. They are one of California's earliest cultures. Below you will find a list of many interesting facts about these people. This information includes who they are, where they live, and how they live.
General Hupa Indians Facts
- Unlike most California Indians the Hupa tribe was never forced, by the government of the United States, to move off their original lands.
- Most of the Hupa people live on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation. A treat signed in 1864 with the United States government recognized this 141 square mile area as belonging to the Hupa.
- Up until the gold rush of 1849, which brought many white miners and settlers to California, the Hupa Tribe had limited contacted with white people.
- The Hupa Indians are known for producing beautiful elk horn carvings and rock engravings.
- Smoking was an important part of Hupa culture. Hupa Indian men made elaborate pipes.
- The Hupa Indians are known for their beautiful basketry. Women were the basket makers. They used a twining technique.
- There was an abundance of food of various types readily available to the Hupa people. The forest was full of game such as deer and elk, the rivers had a plentiful supply of fish such as salmon, and there was also a plentiful supply of acorns and other edible vegetation growing around them.
- Wealth, measured by land ownership, was culturally important to the Hupa people. The tribe's chief was often selected due to his wealth.
- Hupas used redwood dugout canoes for river travel.
- The Hupa were not a warring tribe, however when needed they would utilize bow and arrows, spears, and stone knives as weapons.
Hupa Indian Houses
- Hupa houses were built as permanent structures. Unlike many American Indian tribes, who were migratory and had to have shelters that could be transported, the Hupa villages were built to be permanent.
- The two main shelters of the Hupa Indians were storehouses and sweat lodges.
- Storehouses were a Hupa familys home. It was generally twenty square feet. The doors were small, approximately eighteen inches wide, and just big enough for a person to fit through. A fire pit was in the center of the house and there was a hole in the roof that allowed smoke to escape. Only the women and children slept in the house.
- Hupa men slept in the sweat lodges. These houses were semi subterranean and had roofs made out of cedar panels. The men not only slept there but it is also where they often worked and socialized. Upon reaching eight years of age a boy would join his father in the sweat lodge.
Hoopa Tribal Museum
The Hoopa Tribal Museum can be found on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation in California. On display are numerous artifacts of the Hupa, Yurok, and Karuk people. The items on display include baskets, ceremonial items, redwood dugout canoes, and tools. The museums goal is to preserve and share the history and culture of these California Native Americans.