Wiyot people

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Description:
The Wiyot people are a native people of the Humboldt Bay, California and nearby environs.

History

The Wiyot and Yurok are the farthest southwest people whose language has Algic roots; Wiyot and Yurok are distantly related to the Algonquian languages. Their traditional homeland ranged from Mad River through Humboldt Bay (including the present cities of Eureka and Arcata) to the lower Eel river basin. Inland, their territory was heavily forested in ancient redwood. Their stretch of shoreland was mostly sandy, dunes and tidal marsh.

The Wiyots were among the last natives in the United States to encounter white settlers. Spanish missions extended only as far north as San Francisco Bay. The Russian fur traders, whose 18th-century invasion in search of the sea otter had devastated the Pomo, were uninterested in their sandy shorelands, which was not a sea-otter habitat. The way of life of the Wiyot people, after many centuries of isolated development was forever changed, if not completely destroyed as a result of settlement by Europeans, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, particularly after the Mexican-American War.

Humboldt Bay was finally discovered by outsiders by the seafaring exploration of Douglass Ottinger in 1850. White settlement followed immediately. A military post called Fort Humboldt was founded February 9, 1853. Among the miners, farmers, ranchers and loggers pouring into California, many settled at what is now Eureka. Relationships...
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