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Impearls: HIC 8.1.1: The Hupa: Territory, nationality, and settlements

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Earthdate 2005-11-12

The Hupa:  Territory, nationality, and settlements   by A. L. Kroeber

Fig. 12: Plan of Hupa town of Takimitlding.
 

The Hupa, with the Chilula and the Whilkut, formed a close linguistic unit, considerably divergent from the other dialect groups of California Athabascans.  They differed from their two nearer bodies of kinsmen largely in consequence of their habitat on a greater stream, in some fashion navigable for canoes even in summer, and flowing in a wider, sunnier valley.  Their population was therefore more concentrated, at least over the favorable stretches, and their wealth greater.  They were at all points the equals of the Yurok whom they adjoined where their river debouches into the Klamath, and of the Karok whose towns began a few miles above; whereas the Chilula, although reckoned by the Hupa as almost of themselves, remained a less settled and poorer hill people; while the Whilkut, in the eyes of all three of the more cultured nations, were a sort of wild Thracians of the mountains.

Most of the Hupa villages, or at least the larger ones, were in Hupa (or Hoopa) valley, a beautiful stretch of 8 miles, containing a greater extent of level land than can be aggregated for long distances about.  Below or north of the valley the Trinity flows through a magnificent rocky canyon to Weitchpec, Yurok Weitspus.  In spite of the proximity of a group of populous Yurok settlements at this confluence, the canyon, or nearly all of it, belonged to the Hupa, who now and then seem even to have built individual houses at two or three points along its course.  Perhaps these belonged to men whom quarrels or feuds drove from intercourse with their fellows.

The towns in Hupa Valley, in order upstream, and with designation of their situation on the east or the west bank of the Trinity, are as follows:

E. Honsading.  Yurok: Oknutl.
W. Dakis-hankut.
E. Kinchuhwikut.  Yurok: Merpernertl.
W. Cheindekotding.  Unoccupied in 1850.  Yurok: Kererwer.
E. Miskut (Meskut).  Yurok: Ergerits.
E. Takimitlding (Hostler).  Yurok: Oplego.  Wiyot: Talalawilu or Talawatewu.  Chimariko: Hope-ta-dji.  See pla[n] in Figure 12.
E. Tsewenalding (Senalton).  Yurok: Olepotl.
W. Totltsasding.  Unoccupied in 1850.  Yurok: Erlern.
E. Medilding (Matilton).  Yurok: Kahtetl.  Wiyot: Haluwi-talaleyutl.  Chimarki: Mutuma-dji.
W. Howunkut (Kentuck).  Yurok: Pia'getl.  Wiyot: Tapotse.
E. Djishtangading (Tishtangatang).
E. Haslinding (Horse-Linto).  Yurok: Yati.

It is characteristic that while there is more level land on the western than on the eastern side of Hupa Valley, all the principal villages, in fact practically all settlements in occupation when the Americans arrived except Howunkut, were on the eastern side of the river, with exposure to the warm afternoon sun.

Above Hupa Valley is the small “Sugar Bowl,” whose bottom harbored the little village of Haslinding.  Some miles farther up begins a string of patches of valley to where Willow Creek comes in.  Here there were two permanent settlements, Kachwunding and Mingkutme.  Sehachpeya, Waugullewatl, Aheltah, Sokeakeit, and Tashuanta are mentioned in early sources as being in this region: most of these names seem to be Yurok.  And still farther, at South Fork, where the river branches, was the town of Tlelding — whence the “Kelta tribe” — with subsidiary settlements about or above it.  The farthest of these was Tl'okame, 5 miles up the South Fork.  These southerly Hupa were almost out of touch with the Yurok, and held intercourse with the Wintun and Chimariko.  Their outlook on the world must have been quite different, and it is known that their religious practices were distinctive.  In implements, mode of life, regulation of society, and speech they were, however, substantially identical with the better known people of Hupa Valley.  And the Yurok knew Tlelding, which they called, with reference to its situation at the forks by the same name as their own town of Weitspekw.

The Hupa derive their name from Yurok Hupo, the name of the valley.  The people the Yurok knew as Hupo-la, their speech as Omimoas.  The Hupa called themselves Natinnoh-hoi, after Natinnoh, the Trinity River.  Other tribes designated them as follows:  The Wiyot, Haptana; the Karok, Kisha-kewara; the Chimariko, Hichhu; the Shasta, Chaparahihu.  The Hupa in turn used these terms:  For the Yurok, Kinne, or Yidachin, “from downstream”; the Karok were the Kinnus; the Shasta, the Kiintah; the Chimariko, the Tl'omitta-hoi, the “prairie people”; the Wintun of the south fork of the Trinity, the Yinachin, “from upstream”; the Wiyot of lower Mad River, Taike; the Whilkut, Hoilkut-hoi; the Tolowa language was Yitde-dinning-hunneuhw, “downstream sloping speech.”

That something of an ethnic sense existed is shown by a gender in the Hupa language.  One category included only adult persons speaking the tongue or readily intelligible Athabascan dialects.  Babbling children, dignified aliens, and all other human beings and animals formed a second “sex.”



1 comments:  (End
(Perma)  On Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 6:23:00 PM GMT, Blogger Ish wrote:   
Your last paragraph about there being a 2nd sex, when referring to elders,children, aliens, etc..., is wrong. In English there is 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person. In Hupa there is also a 4th and possibly a 5th person.

Silis-chi-tawn Jackson, Hupa NDN

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