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Return Stolen Land this Columbus ?Day

by moth
Land concessions to tribal people are most important in the regions where logging corporations like Maxxam/Pacific Lumber are profiting from destruction of forests on stolen land. The regions Maxxam/PL claims as their property were stolen via force and murder from indigenous people. We can begin restoration by recognizing the First People who were the original caretakers of the forests.
THE "LASSIK TRIBE" was not a tribe

Those who survived the early years of the Euro-American invasion did so because they were either under the protection of white owners who used them like slaves, or men who took the women as either 'wife' or concubine, or who simply lived wild in the mountains, running and hiding from the see-chee-yah-pie-too (crazy white man).

One group of Wailakki Wintu (People speaking a north language) which survived, was a small group that historians would call the "Lassik". You may see the location of the so-called Lassik on the map at

In fact, these people were also known as the Wailakki. Lucy Rogers Young and others have said that there never was a group calling itself "Lassik". The name was actually applied by the anthropologist, Alfred Kroeber, after he read the "stories" written by Stephen Powers. As a result of Powers' short visit to the region, the traditional maps showing the Lassik are not accurate. The "official" maps proclaim to show a people who were "fictionalized" by Powers. Most likely the People he met in the mountain region were a mixture of Mountain and Sacramento River-Foothill Wintu, Hupa, some coastal people, and the Ukomnom (Yuki)who lived to their south.

This was a mis-labeling (through misunderstanding) of a remnant of the clan of our ancestor, Old Grandfather White Lily and his wife, Silki. Old Grandfather and his wife were surviving in 1880 when the census taker estimated they were each about One Hundred years old. White Lily (a translation of the word Kaiit-cin) was the name ascribed to that certain family. We know that in 1880, the elder Kaiitcin (approx. 1780-1880) had a son living nearby who was also called Kaiitcin and that the younger Kaiitcin's wife was also known as Kaiitcin. Kaiitcin translates to "white flowers or white lily", and those names are recorded by Frank Essene in an anthropological report he wrote in the late 1930s; the information came from Lucy Rogers Young who survived the Natural Bridge Massacre (near Hayfork in Trinity County, California). When Lucy was interviewed by Essene in the late 1930s, the event was approximately 80 years behind Lucy, and it had occurred when she was approximately 6 years old, and recalled from the perspective of a 6 year old and embellished by things she was told over the intervening years. When one thinks about the story, it is well to remember how each of us remembers events which occurred when one is only 6 years old.

The word Lassik was actually a twisted version of the word Ell-ai-sec, which was a title, meaning mountain leader. Lassik was the last remaining leader of the clan which continued to resist the invasion of the Euro-Americans. The invading Euro-Americans were causing his people to starve. Anthropologists would later claim there was a "tribe" called the Lassik, and consequently, the name is ascribed to a couple of peaks in southwestern Trinity County. Lucy vehemently denied that there was a Lassik tribe and told Essene that Lassik was a name of her relative.

Three members of Old Grandfather's family were discovered by the amateur anthropologist - traveling journalist, Stephen Powers, when he passed through in the 1870s. These three were the Chief Thuh'n-ell (aka White Lily, the younger) and two women named Kait and Hanna, who lived near the headwaters of the Mad River - actually, they lived out the later part of their lives in a shelter on the North Fork of the Eel River. Their near neighbors included a man that historians like to identify as "Yellowjacket", but whose name in fact was Y'ell-ai-cho-kot (man of the high mountain trees). Some people thought that Yellowjacket had been adopted by an early white settler named Greenleaf French. We think it more likely that Yellowjacket might actually have been the son of Greenleaf French. Who knows? Only Creator knows what really happened after that fateful day in the third week of April 1852. From official government papers, we know that "Yellowjacket" was living in near proximity to the extended White Lily family, (which included Abe Rogers and his Indian wife Lucy Rogers Young) throughout the 1880s until well after the turn of the century. The statements in this paragraph are supported by United States and California and reservation census records, and by papers in the National Archives.

The younger man known as White Lily (aka Saccah or Sa.ka) was still living on the Salt Creek Fork of the North Fork of the Eel River when the census was taken in 1900, but is not in the 1910 census, probably having died. Some historians have identified him as "Chief White Lily", and one of the women who shared his home was known as "White Lily"; she has been called an 'esteemed' medicine woman. The Keh-nehs-tah or Wailakki Wintu word for White Lily is Kaiitcin. Kaiit is translated to flower and cin is translated to white or clear/no-color.

Note: a document recorded in Round Valley in the first half of the Twentieth Century shows that a resident of the Round Valley Reservation area said she and her son had formerly lived where the White Lily family lived out the years from approximately 1890 through 1930. This was an area on the Salt Creek arm of the North Fork of the Eel River (near what is now known as Soldier Basin).

The 'region' in which they lived is now called Kettenshaw or Hettenshaw or Hett-n-cha-gah (those names are interchangeable). The region is in a larger area known as South of the South Fork Ridge in southwest Trinity County. In fact, the native word which is pronounced as Ketten-chah-gah, indicates this is a place of the flower/food bulb which we know as 'camas lily'. The blue camas was an important source of food for the People who sometimes called themselves the 'Keh-nehs-tah, meaning they were descended from 'the ancient ones'. White camas bulbs are poisonous and should not be eaten.

Because this was an important source of food, the People would use sticks to mark the blue camas flowers in the Spring season (about April-May) as they passed through the Ketten-cha-gah. In the fall, after the leaves had dried up and disappeared, the sticks would mark the place where the food-bulbs could be dug up. After washing them, they were cooked in a pit under leaves, covered with hot coals. One writer has described the warm, cooked bulbs as tasting like macaroon cookies.

Above info from this site;

Who are you celebrating October 11th?

Coming this October 11th people have the choice of celebrating Columbus Day or Indigenous People's Day. We hope people will realize that celebrating an individual who began the process of genocide against indigenous people of north america is very disrespectful to the lives of the Tiano people of Haiti (Hispaniola). The Tiano people initially greeted Columbus and the Spaniards as brothers, though the greed and lust after gold and power caused Columbus to respond by slaughtering and enslaving the people of Haiti. The years after were a continuation of this initial slaughter as European settlers continued land theft of tribal land..

One example is the present day holdings of a corporation called Maxxam/Pacific Lumber that claims property ownership of tribal land belonging to diverse tribal groups. The destruction caused by Maxxam/Pacific Lumber shows they lack respect for the land that they should be taking care of..

What remains on Gypsy Mountain after Maxxam/Pacific Lumber clearcuts is the last few old growth redwoods that were alive when Wailakki Wintu lived along the "Van Duzen" river. The Wailakki Wintu people lived along the eastern tributaries of the Eel River, including the region known as Gypsy Mountain slightly north of the Van Duzen..

After witnessing the devastation to Gypsy mountain resulting from unsafe logging practices (clearcuts, unstable slope logging) by Maxxam/Pacific Lumber, we realize that this corporation only concerns themselves with short term profit from fast rate timber harvest. The remaining trees on Gypsy mountain are only safe because of the continued presence and hard work of dedicated forest defenders..

People who want to see this mountain saved realize that as long as Maxxam/Pacific Lumber remains the "property owners" there will always be a threat to the last old growth trees like Aradia (fell few days after the initial writing of this article). We feel that for this and other reasons Maxxam/Pacific Lumber is not taking care of this land and therefore should forfeit all claims of property ownership..

Forest defenders also are aware of the land confiscated from the original inhabitants, the Wailakki Wintu tribe. We feel that land concessions are needed to restore the vitality of Gypsy mountain and also the remaining descendents of the Wailakki Wintu people..

Info below is other info on tribes living near or around Gypsy Mountain near Grizzly Creek and the Van Duzen River. As a European immigrant i am not certain of the tribal affiliation details, though i feel it is most important to revoke the claims of property ownership that enables Maxxam/Pacific Lumber to continue their destruction of the forests. The people who were the original caretakers nearby and remaining (Wintu) should have the land returned to them out of respect and apology for the genocide committed against them and their forests for the last 500 years..

other info below about Wailakki Wintu

"Lassik (Las'-sik, the name of their last chief). A people of the Athapascan family formerly occupying a portion of main Eel river, Cal., and its east tributaries, Van Dozen, Larrabee, and Dobbin creeks, together with the headwaters of Mad river. They had for neighbors toward the north the Athapascan inhabitants of the valley of Mad river and Redwood creek; toward the east the Wintun of Southfork of Trinity river; toward the south the Wailaki, from whom they were separated by Kekawaka creek; toward the west the Sinkine on Southfork of Eel river. They occupied their regular village sites along the streams only in winter. Their houses were conical in form, made of the bark of Douglas spruce. They had neither sweat lodges nor dance houses. The basketry was twined, but differed considerably from that of the Hupa in its decoration. Beside the methods employed elsewhere for securing deer and elk, the Lassik used to follow a fresh track until the animal, unable to feed or rest, was overtaken. They intermarried with the Wintun, to whom they were assimilated in mourning customs, etc. Powers (Cont. N. A. Ethnol., 111, 121, 1877) gives the impression that the Lassik belong with the Wintun in language, but this is a mistake. Their dialect resembles the Hupa in its morphology and the Wailaki in its phonology. The majority of them perished during the first few years of the occupancy of their country by white people, a bounty being placed on their heads and the traffic in children for slaves being profitable and unrestrained. A few families of them are still living in the neighborhood of their former homes."

The Wailaki people traditionally occupied lands in the northwestern corner of the state, primarily in the foothills of the Coast Range, about 50 miles or so inland from the Pacific Coast. They lived along the Eel River and the North Fork Eel River. Traditionally, the Wailaki consisted of at least 19 tribelets and 95 villages. Their language belongs to the Athabascan language family. They are culturally related to four other small tribes - the Mattole, Lassik, Sinkyone, and Nongatle, who lived just to the north and west. They utilized acorns as their principal staple food, and also ate other vegetable foods and game, and salmon along the main rivers. In the mid-19th century, there were around 2,700 Wailaki in their region. Today, there are approximately 1,000 Wailaki people, many living on the Round Valley Reservation, and in and around Mendocino County.

For pictures, see:

Transform Columbus day
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i'll try again
Fri, Dec 31, 2004 12:04PM
Mike L. Graham
Mon, Oct 18, 2004 12:17AM
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