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Impearls: HIC 5.01: National Relations

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Earthdate 2005-11-12

National Relations   by A. L. Kroeber

The Karok (Pl. 21) are the up-river neighbors of the Yurok.  The two peoples are indistinguishable in appearance and customs, except for certain minutiæ; but they differ totally in speech.  In language, the Yurok are a remote western offshoot of the great Algonquian family, of which the bulk resided east of the Mississippi and even on the Atlantic coast; the Karok, one of the northernmost members of the scattered Hokan group, which reaches south to Tehuantepec.  The nearest kinsmen of the Yurok are the Wiyot, on their south and west; of the Karok, the Chimariko and Shasta, southward and eastward.  In spite of the indicated total separateness of origin, the two groups are wholly assimilated culturally.

Except for a few transient bands of Hudson Bay Co. voyagers, the Karok knew nothing of the existence of white men until a swarm of miners and packers burst in upon them in 1850 and 1851.  The usual friction, thefts, ambushing, and slaughters followed in spots.  The two sacred villages near the mouth of the Salmon, and no doubt others, were burned by the whites in 1852; and a third, at Orleans, was made into a county seat.  There were, however, no formal wars; in a few years the small richer placers were worked out; the tide flowed away, leaving behind only some remnants; and the Karok returned to what was left of their shattered existence.  Permanent settlers never came into their land in numbers; the Government established no reservation and left them to their own devices; and they yielded their old customs and their numbers much more slowly than the majority of Californian natives.

The term “Karok,” properly karuk, means merely “up-stream” in the language of the Karok.  It is an adverb, not a designation of a group of people.  The Karok have no ethnic name for themselves, contenting themselves, in general Californian custom, by calling themselves “people,” arara.  They will sometimes speak of themselves as Karuk-w-arara in distinction from the Yuruk-w-arara, the “downstreamers” or “Yurok”; but this denomination seems wholly relative.  In thinking of the Shasta above them on the Klamath, they would probably name themselves Yuruk-w-arara.

Karok designations for their neighbors are as follows, -arara or -ara denoting “people,” and -hi, “speech”:

Kakamichwi-arara, the Shasta of Klamath River.  This term may refer to the residents of one village.  The speech seems to be called Karakuka or Karakuha.  Shammai is mentioned as a village.

Tishra-w-arara, the Shasta of Scott River.

Mashu-arara, Mashu-hi, the Konomihu and New River Shasta; from Mashuashav, Salmon River.  Shamnam is the konomihu village at the forks, and Hashuruk one below.

Kasha-arara, Kasha-hara-hi, the Wintun, and probably the Chimariko of Trinity River; possibly also the tribes on the Sacramento.

Kishake-w-arara, the Hupa on the lower Trinity.

Yuruk-w-arara, Yu-hi, the Yurok.

Sufip-arara, the Yurok of Rekwoi, probably also the Coast Yurok.

Waiyat-hi, the Wiyot.

Yuh-ara-hi, the Tolowa.  Yuhanak seems to be a Tolowa village.



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