Before the onset of European colonization, there were numerous traditional villages up and down the Klamath River and along the Pacific Ocean here in Northern California. In 1938 the United States of America purchased approximately 228 acres of land from the then current land owner Augustus (Gus) Resighini, to be used for landless Indians of Humboldt and Del Norte counties. The Indian people who returned for the settlement of this land have historically exercised their aboriginal rights to the lower Klamath River territory by fishing, hunting and gathering foods and materials used through cultural methods, handed down from our ancestors to the present day tribal members.
This land known as the Resighini Rancheria was designated by Secretarial Order and was officially declared a reservation in 1939. In 1975 a band of Yurok Indians stood together and formally created a non-traditional form of government with a constitution and bylaws which was approved and ratified by the last Indian Commissioner Bruce Thompson from the Department of Interior of the United States. However, during the settlement of this land disastrous flooding occurred with a hundred year flood in 1964. This tragic event led to the evacuation and removal of Indian families to other parts of the country. In 1979, the Indian people desiring to return to our known homeland began the challenge of rebuilding.
Members of the Resighini Rancheria have always been known to have exercised the same rights as all other Yurok Indian individuals. The use of traditional resource materials and foods, such as hazel sticks, willow roots, alder bark, ferns, olive shells, pine nuts, acorns, salmon, steel head, eels, huckleberries, blackberries, herbs and deer meat are still being used today.
We encourage and support tribal members to participate in local cultural activities offered in our traditional areas. Tribal members participate by attending and/or making of regalia of necklaces and ceremonial dress for the traditional dances known as the Brush Dance held yearly; the Jump Dance and White Deer Skin Dance held every two years through the summer months at century old sacred areas.
Today, our tribal government consists of a General Council with an elected Tribal Council to operate our governmental and private tribal affairs as well as represent the tribal needs of our small membership. The Tribal Council consists of 5 tribal members who are elected annually by staggered two year term of Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and councilperson. Our general membership serves on boards, committees, commission and corporations to assist the Tribal Council.
Our tribal lands are located along the south bank of the Klamath River, bounded on the west by Highway 101 bridge, and backed up against privately owned land within what is now known as the Yurok Reservation. We presently have increased our land base; we have five homes, three tribal administration buildings, a tribally owned Chere-ere Campground and there are several other economic development projects in process.
We are recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as having water quality authority over the waters of our Reservation. Our Reservation borders the Klamath River and we have riparian water rights as a result. Our Tribal Water Quality Ordinance sets water quality standards for our Reservation and our Tribal Environmental Protection Authority monitors the Klamath River and other Reservation waters.
In order to gain adequate services and programs to increase employment, social, educational, and health needs, we have united with tribal organizations such as United Indian Health, INC; California Rural Indian Health Board, Northern California Indian Development Council, Inter-tribal Council of California, California TANF Partnership, and the Del Norte County Unified School District. We have also developed a small tribal court to handle issues that occur on the Resighini Rancheria.