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Impearls: HIC 7.2.2: Settlements

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Earthdate 2005-11-12

Settlements   by A. L. Kroeber

The names and locations of the Tolowa towns as given by themselves have not been recorded.  Some 8 or 10 are known under their Yurok designations, and as many under the names which the Rogue River Athabascans of Oregon applied to them.  These two lists, which unfortunately can not be very definitely connected, probably include all the more important villages of the Tolowa without exhausting the total of their settlements.

The Yurok mention Nororpek, on the coast north of Smith River; Hinei, at the mouth of Smith River; Loginotl, up this stream, where it was customary to construct a salmon dam; Tolokwe, near Earl Lake or lagoon, of which Tolokwe-wonekwu, “uphill from Tolokwe,” on the Pond ranch, may have been a suburb; Erertl, south of Tolokwe, but on the same body of water; Kna'awi, where the waves dash against a bluff, probably Point St. George; Kohpei, near Crescent City; and an unnamed village on the coast south of this town.  There was also Espau, north of Crescent City, and with the same name as a Yurok village at Gold Bluff 40 miles south on the same coast; and Hineihir, “above Hinei,” which might mean upstream from it on Smith River or “upstream” along the coast as the Yurok reckon, that is, south.  Pekwutsu is a large rock a dozen miles from Crescent City where sea lions were hunted, and not a village.  This is likely to be Northwest Seal Rock, where the lighthouse now stands.

The Oregon Athabascans know Huwunkut (compare the Hupa village of the same name) at the mouth of Smith River, and Hosa or Hwasa at one of the forks of the stream.  The former is almost certainly Hinei, the latter may be Loginotl.  South of Smith River, that is probably on Lake Earl, were Atakut, whence perhaps the American “Yontocketts”; Chestlish; and Echulit or Cheshanme.  “Above Crescent City” was Tahinga, perhaps Yurok Kna'awi.  Crescent City was Tatin, while to the south, on the coast, lay Mestetl, Tata or Tatla, and Tlusme or Tlitsusme.

The Yurok word Tolowo is apparently connected with the town name Tolokwe.  “Henaggi” and “Tataten,” sometimes cited as Tolowa subtribes, are only Hinei and “Tata people.”

[Footnote:  The Tolowa towns have recently been determined by T. T. Waterman.  Nororpek appears to be in Oregon and was not counted as their own by the Tolowa.  On the north side of the mouth of Smith River, at Siesta Peak, was Hawinwet (cf. Huwunkut, above), “on the mountain side,” Yurok Hinei.  On Smith River, at the mouth of Bucket Creek, was Hatsahotontne, “receptacle below,” probably Yurok Loginotl.  Farther upstream, where Bear Creek comes in, lay Melishenten, “close to hill.”  South from the mouth of Smith River, somewhat inland, at Yontucket, toward Lake Earl, was Yontakit, “east high,” Yurok Tolakwe.  In order southward there followed Echulet, Yurok Ertl, on a point projecting northward into Lake Earl; Tagiante, “pointing seaward,” Yurok Kna'awi, at Point St. George; Tatintin, a little beyond; Metetlting, “covered,” Yurok Sasoi, at Pebble Beach; Seninghat, “flat rock,” Yurok Kohpei, at Crescent City; and Shinyatlchi, “summer fishing,” Yurok Neketl with reference to the ending of the beach, at Nickel Creek.  Assuming the number to be complete, 10 towns, at the Yurok rate, would make the Tolowa population 450.]

A paternal gentile system that has been alleged for the Tolowa is a misconception derived from imputing to them a social organization that was proper to certain tribes in the central United States, and of which the Tolowa, and their Oregonian neighbors, did not possess a trace.  The supposed clans are villages of the kind that form the basis of native society throughout California.  In fact, far from being gentile subdivisions of a Tolowa “tribe,” the villages were the ultimate and only political units in the Indians' consciousness; and “Tolowa,” for which the bearers of the name appear to have had no specific word of their own, was nothing more than a term denoting a certain speech and implying perhaps certain customs — as nonpolitical in significance as “Anglo-Saxon.”



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