Tribal History - The Koi Nation

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




The 20th Century - Founding of Koi Nation

On January 25, 1916, the federal government purchased what was known as Purvis Flat, a 140.46-acre parcel located between the towns of Lower Lake and Clearlake Heights for settlement by surviving members of the Koi Nation. In a 1937 letter, the Bureau of Indian Affairs declared that the Koi Nation land was “uninhabitable.” However, in 1947, the agency changed its mind, informing Koi families that they must either live on the property or lose their rights to it. By 1950, there were approximately seven tribal members and their families living on the Rancheria.

In 1953, Lake County, looking to build an airport, offered to acquire 99 acres of the existing Rancheria for $3,361. Koi Nation was officially sold on March 29, 1956. Though the tribe was essentially landless, Congress never officially terminated the federal recognition of the Koi Nation. However, due to a decades-long “administrative error” by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), tribal members were denied federal assistance afforded other federally recognized tribes.

The vast majority of Koi Nation tribal members relocated to cities throughout the Bay Area. The passage of the Indian Self-Determination Act in 1975 set the stage for recovery of Indian culture in California by providing a mechanism for tribes to reverse termination.

While other Pomo tribes had their federal recognition returned by the early 1990s, the BIA, citing “oversights in official records,” failed to reaffirm federal recognition of the Koi Nation until December 29, 2000.

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