Saturday, 18 May 2024

REGIONAL: Nome Cult Trail commemorations planned

MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – Later this week a Chico tribe will begin commemorations of their forced removal from lands in the valley and relocation to Round Valley in 1863.


On Saturday, Sept. 6, the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico will sponsor a potluck gathering at 3 p.m. at Hooker Oak Park in Bidwell Park to commemorate the 145th anniversary of the Nome Cult Trail, which was the forced relocation of American Indians from Chico across what is now the Mendocino National Forest to Round Valley in 1863.


The next week, on Saturday, Sept. 13 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 13th annual retracing of the original 100-mile trek.


Descendants of those who were part of the original relocation and other supporters will walk from Chico to Covelo starting Sunday, Sept. 7, descending down into Round Valley Sept. 13.


The theme for the walk and gatherings is “Honor Their Memory … A Path Not Forgotten.” Both the Chico and Covelo events are free and open to the public.


At the Covelo event there will be presentations by the walkers and a meal starting at about 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Tribal Building, 77826 Covelo Road. From Sept. 7 through Sept. 13, walkers will retrace the original trail, camping out each night along the way.


The tribes welcome the public to join them for all or part of the walk and for the gathering in Covelo on Saturday afternoon.


The removal of American 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.


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


In September 1863, 461 American 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 tribal members 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 tribal members 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 requests that people traveling on forest roads along the trail route be aware and careful of the walkers to ensure their safety.


This year the walkers, many of whom are descendants of those who made the trek in 1863, will begin west of Chico at Irvine Finch Park, located at River Road and State Highway 32, at 7 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 7. 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. 8, camp at Buckhorn Campground;

  • Tuesday, Sept. 9, camp at Black Bear Campground;

  • Wednesday, Sept. 10, camp at Log Springs;

  • Thursday, Sept. 11, camp at Wells Cabin Campground;

  • Friday, Sept. 12, camp at Eel River Campground;

  • Saturday, Sept. 13, walk into Round Valley.


For more information on the Sept. 6 Chico event, please contact Arlene Ward, Chico Mechoopda Tribe, at 530-899-8922, Extension 220. For more information on the walk and the Sept. 13 Covelo event,

please contact Alberta Azbill, Round Valley Indian Tribes at 707-983-6126.


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