Tribal History - The Koi Nation

Table of Contents
Prehistory The 20th Century
The 1800s The Koi Nation Today



The 1800s

The rapid influx of Europeans and Americans in the 19th century changed the lives of California’s native peoples forever. The Pomo eventually signed two treaties with the U.S. in 1851-1852 that clearly defined the Pomos’ tribal homelands. The treaties outlined territories from the eastern shore of Clear Lake to the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, bordered on the west by the Russian River. Under pressure from California lawmakers, however, Congress failed to ratify the treaties, which were hidden from public view from over 50 years.

In 1856, when the federal government forcibly moved many Pomo tribes to the Mendocino Indian Reservation, the Koi were allowed to remain on Koi Island, which in turn allowed local settlers to exploit the Indians as a source of cheap labor.

The Koi attended the historic Ghost Dance of 1870, which lasted two years. By the time the dance had ended, the Koi had lost their homes, which had been burned down and taken by settlers in 1871. Through outright murder, enslavement, and disease, Pomo populations, including the Koi, diminished dramatically by the dawn of the 20th century.

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