Saturday, 25 May 2024

Nome Cult commemorations to begin Saturday

WILLOWS – The annual commemorations of a Northern California tribe's forced removal from its land will begin on Saturday and stretch through next week.

The removal of Indians from Chico to the Nome Cult Reservation in 1863 is one of the many forced relocations following the establishment of reservations in northern California in the 1850s.

On Saturday, the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico will sponsor a potluck gathering at 4:30 p.m. at Wildwood Park in Bidwell Park to commemorate the 146th anniversary of the Nome Cult Trail, which was the forced relocation of Indians from Chico across what is now the Mendocino National Forest to Round Valley in 1863.

The next week, Saturday, Sept. 19, in the afternoon, the Round Valley Indian Tribes will sponsor a gathering at the Round Valley Reservation in Covelo to mark the completion of the 14th annual retracing of the original 100-mile trek.

The theme for the walk and gatherings is “Honor Their Memory … A Path Not Forgotten.”

From Sept. 13 through 19, walkers will retrace the original trail, camping out each night along the way.

Descendants of Indians who took part in the original relocation and other supporters will walk from Chico to Covelo starting Sunday, Sept. 13, descending down into Round Valley on Sept. 19.

The walkers will begin at Bidwell River Road at 7 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 13. They will walk west on State Highway 32 and camp at the Buckhorn Campground at Black Butte Lake the first night.

For the remainder of the week they will walk across the Mendocino National Forest, following the Nome Cult Trail.

Their planned schedule is:

  • Monday, Sept. 14, Orland to Newville Cemetery, camp at Grindstone, Buckhorn Campground or Paskenta;

  • Tuesday, Sept. 15, Newville Cemetery to camp at Black Bear Campground;

  • Wednesday, Sept. 16, Black Bear Campground to camp at Log Springs;

  • Thursday, Sept. 17, Log Springs to camp at Wells Cabin;

  • Friday, September 18, Wells Cabin to camp at Eel River Ranger Station Saturday, September 19, walk into Round Valley.

Several different tribes were moved to the Nome Cult Reservation after it was established in Round Valley in 1856.

In September 1863, 461 Indians were marched under guard from Chico to the Nome Cult Reservation nearly 100 miles across the Sacramento Valley and rugged North Coast Ranges.

Only 277 Indians completed the journey. Some were killed, a few escaped and others were left behind, too sick to go on.

Although the path itself has disappeared, this route is now called the Nome Cult Trail. The most grueling part of the trail passed through what is now the Mendocino National Forest.

The Forest Service has placed interpretive signs along the route to mark places where the Indians and their military escorts camped.

A free brochure and trail map produced by the Forest Service is available from Mendocino National Forest offices for those interested in the route.

The Mendocino National Forest asks that people traveling on Forest roads along the trail route be aware of the event and careful of the walkers to ensure their safety.

For further information on the Sept. 12 Chico event, please contact Sandra Knight, Chico Mechoopda Tribe, at 530-899-8922, Extension 213.

For further information on the walk and the Sept. 19 Covelo event, please contact Albert Azbill, Round Valley Indian Tribes at 707-983-6126, Extension 11.

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