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Impearls: HIC 5.03: Numbers

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Earthdate 2005-11-12

Numbers

The population of the Karok did not exceed 2,000 at the time of discovery, and would unquestionably be put at about 1,500 were it not for the considerable number of survivors.  The Federal census of 1910 reckons 775, which makes them one of the largest surviving tribes, and even stocks, in California.  This figure seems open to some doubt.  Five years before, with a rather high mortality prevailing in the interim, an official investigator, whose statistics everywhere else are more exhaustive than those of the general census, reported only two-thirds as many, distributed as follows:

Panamenik (Orleans) district 178
Katimin (Salmon) district 192
Inam (Clear Creek) district 160
On Salmon River 46
________
      Total 576

To this total would have to be added a number now resident in ancient Shasta Territory; but quarter bloods, many of whom now live among the Americans and would be reckoned as whites by the ordinary census enumerator, are included.

The last figures are of particular value because they show the population of the three districts to have been fairly balanced, with some preponderance in the middle one.  Now, an early resident, observant and in unusual relation with the Indians, estimates 425 for the Panamenik district, and for the two above, with part of which he was less intimately acquainted, 1,500.  His 425 would rather yield 1,500 for the whole nation.

The official reconnaissance of 1851 reports 250 souls up to Katimin and 600 to 700 for the stock.  But these figures are unquestionably too low.

The number of houses noted by the expedition of 1851 is a better index: 37 in and below the Panamenik district, 69 in the region of the mouth of the Salmon, total 106 for very nearly two-thirds of the stock.  The maximum number of houses that can be attributed to the Karok is therefore 200; and at the inhabitant ratio of 7½ determined for the Yurok, the population of the stock would be 1,500.  This figure seems the most likely; yet, even if it be stretched somewhat, it is clear that the Karok were less numerous than the Yurok, but outnumbered the Hupa.

It may be added that on the basis of 40 to 50 inhabitants per town, as among the Yurok, this population implied something like 30 or 40 Karok villages, which is about the number for which names are recorded.

It it also clear that the populational loss of the Karok in the past 65 years has been relatively mild, possibly not exceeding one-half.



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