The Chimariko people are a small tribe comprising the Chimarikan family, who formerly lived on the Trinity River near the mouth of New River in Northern California.
They adjoined the Hupa downstream and the Wintu upstream. The Chimariko first became known to the whites with the influx of gold miners in about 1850. At that time, they were a small tribe, friendly with the Hupa and the neighboring Shasta tribes, but they were at war with the Wintu of Hay Fork of Trinity River.
In 1903 they numbered only nine people, including mixed-bloods, who lived scattered among Indians of other tribes and among the white settlers. In general culture, they were much like their neighbors, the Hupa, though they are said to have lacked canoes and did not practice the deerskin dance of the Hupa and Yurok. They lived mainly on salmon, eels, and vegetal foods, especially acorns.
Like the other tribes of northwest California, they had no political organization or divisions other than villages. In the 2010 census, 60 people claimed Chimariko ancestry, and 19 were full-blooded.
© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated March 2023.
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