29 Facts About Pomo


One small group, the Northeastern Pomo, lived in the vicinity of present-day Stonyford in Colusa County, separated from the core Pomo area by lands inhabited by Yuki and Wintuan speakers.

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People called Pomo were originally linked by location, language, and cultural expression.

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About 4000 BCE to 5000 BCE, some of the proto-Pomo migrated into the Russian River Valley and north to present-day Ukiah.

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Archaeologists believe a Pomo group took over the lands from the earlier peoples in this phase.

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The existence of steatite in Pomo and Northern California native sites is a strong indicator of the size and complexity of native California trade networks.

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The way of life of the Pomo changed with the arrival of Russians at Fort Ross on the Pacific coastline, and Spanish missionaries and European-American colonists coming in from the south and east.

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Only a few Pomo speakers went to Mission Sonoma, the other Franciscan mission, located on the north side of San Francisco Bay.

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The Pomo who remained in the present-day Santa Rosa area of Sonoma County were often called Cainameros in regional history books from the time of Spanish and Mexican occupation.

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The archeology surveyors of the Lake Sonoma region believe that European and Euro-American encroachment was the reason why Pomo villages became more centralized; the people retreated to the remote valley to band together for defense and mutual support.

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Pomo suffered from the infectious diseases brought by the Euro-American migrants, including cholera and smallpox.

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Mission treatment of Pomo was similar to that of slavery, and many Pomo died due to inhospitable living conditions.

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Some Pomo took jobs as ranch laborers; others lived in refugee villages.

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The Pomo men were forced to work in harsh conditions and were not given any respect by the settlers.

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Pomo men set up a sneak attack and killed both Stone and Kelsey.

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Shortly after the massacre, during 1851 and 1852, four reservations for the Pomo were established by the United States government in California.

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Pomo were part of the forced relocation known as the "Marches to Round Valley" in 1856, conducted by the U S federal government.

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The justification given was that to protect their culture, the Pomo Indians had to be removed from their ancestral land.

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Pomo people participated in shamanism; one form this took was the Kuksu religion, which was held by people in Central and Northern California.

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The Pomo believed in a supernatural being, the Kuksu or Guksu, who lived in the south and who came during ceremonies to heal their illnesses, along with spirits from six cardinal directions, and Coyote as their ancestor and creator god.

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Pomo baskets made by Pomo Indian women of Northern California are recognized worldwide for their exquisite appearance, range of technique, fineness of weave, and diversity of form and use.

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The Pomo usually covered a basket completely with the vivid red feathers of the pileated woodpecker until the surface resembled the smoothness of the bird itself.

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Pomo children were cradled in baskets, acorns were harvested in great conical burden baskets, and food was stored, cooked, and served in baskets—some even being watertight.

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From 1852 to 1878, many Pomo Indians tried to rekindle their cultures and find peace to what had happened to them.

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The Pomo men decided to work for ranchers and the woman went back to making baskets.

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Finally, in 1878, the Pomo Indians bought their first piece of land in California.

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Once the Pomo Indians had bought the land, it was time to make money.

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Women had preserved Pomo basket weaving traditions, which made a huge change for the Pomo people.

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Pomo basket weaving is still valued and honored today, not only by the Pomo Indians themselves, but by amateur enthusiasts, buyers for curio dealers, and scientific collectors.

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Pomo's is a master weaver, having woven under Lucy Telles.

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