rapid influx of Europeans and Americans in the 19th century changed
the lives of Californias 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.
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.