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Shasta

Territory

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Shasta territory included sections of southern Jackson County, Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. To the north, the Shasta inhabited an area north of present day Jacksonville, Oregon at the Rogue River. South of the Oregon border the Shasta inhabited an area to the east, including the present day communities of Beswick and Big Springs, the upper Sacramento River drainage, and to the west Seiad Valley, Hamburg, Fort Jones, Quartz Valley Rancheria, Callahan, and Cecilville (Winthrop 5, Silver 211). The Shasta in California can be divided into three main groups, the Shasta Valley Shasta, Scott Valley Shasta and Klamath River Shasta whose territory ran from the Scott River to about present day Hornbrook (Silver 211). According to Kroeber:

The Shasta territory falls into four natural drainage areas of about equal size. The people within each tract were marked off by certain peculiarities of dialect and custom. There is no precise record of these distinctions, but they do not seem to have been considerable. The Rogue River division was called Kahosadi, that on the Klamath, Kammatwa or Wiruhikwairuk'a. The Scott Valley people were the Iruaitsu; those of Shasta Valley, the Ahotireitsu. (286)

The Okwanuchu, a small branch of the Shasta, occupied the territory southwest of Mount Shasta including the present day Mount Shasta City, the headwaters of the Sacramento and McCloud Rivers, south to the north Salt Creek drainage and east to the Squaw Valley Creek drainage. By 1918, anthropologist Alfred Kroeber believed that the Okwanuchu had become extinct (Kroeber 284). However there is evidence that descendants of this group were still living after 1918 (O'Donnell 3). Although their language was closely related to that of the Shasta, it also contained elements of Wintu and Achomawi, which suggests long term interactions between these groups (O'Donnell 15).

The Konomihu and New River Shasta occupied the territory southwest of Mount Shasta including the North Fork, East Fork and South Fork of the Klamath River (Silver 221).

Shasta villages tend to be located on or near major streams, particularly "along the Klamath, Shasta and Scott Rivers and their tributaries". The Shasta occupied lower elevations during the cold winter months, and then moved to higher elevations during the summer (Winthrop 21).

The dwelling and sweat houses were occupied, as a rule, only for about five months in the year. In the spring...these winter houses were abandoned, and all the people went up to the mountains, and lived during the summer in the open, roofless brush-shelters. When, in the fall, the berries had been picked and dried, and a supply of dried venison laid in the for the winter, they returned to the villages (left in charge, usually, of a few older persons), clean out the houses, and settled down for the winter again. (Dixon 421)

 

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