The Hoopa or Hupa are an Indian tribe of the family of languages ​​of the Na - Dene in northwestern California. The Hoopa call themselves ' Na: tini - XWE ' which roughly means ' the people on both sides of the road '.

Residential area

The Hoopa are one of the few Indian tribes who still live in their original habitat. The Hoopa Valley Reservation was established in 1864 and is the largest reserve in California. The Hoopa Valley is located in northwestern California. The Trinity River, which by the Hoopa Valley leads is known for its abundance of fish. With the neighboring tribes of the Wiyot, Yurok and Hoopa Wailaki the mostly lived together peacefully and obtained from them the goods they are not themselves possessed or were able to produce, such as salt or shells.

Life and culture

The Hoopa were hunters and fishermen whose main food sources were the acorn harvest and salmon fishing. The salmon were caught during the annual spring held salmon run. The fishing grounds were not freely available but belonged to a family and could not be used without their permission. For fishing the Hoopa used a made ​​of red cedar or Redwoodholz dugout and built fish weirs and fish traps. The construction of such facilities required greater effort and the catch was captured distributed among the participants. The abundance of food allowed the Hoopa a sedentary lifestyle without agriculture.

The Yurok they were culturally similar. They drove brisk trade with the Yurok, with whom they exchanged acorns and food of the interior against redwood canoes, salt water fish, shellfish and algae; sometimes they were married to each other and visited each other's respective ceremonies.

Hoopa - villages lay on the banks of the rivers and consisted of family houses where the women slept, and the property was stored; In addition, there were semi-underground sweat lodges, in which the men slept and took sweat baths and menstrual huts for women. The livelihood was based on the elk and deer hunting, trapping, fishing for salmon and collecting acorns. They made beautiful baskets were woven into the various roots, leaves and stems of prepared suckers. The prosperity was on the possession of Dentalium shells depending which one probably acquired through trade with the Yurok, and Spechtskalps. The chief of the village was the richest man; his power was inherited along with his possession of the son, but anyone with more wealth could take power and dignity. Personal insult, injury, or death could usually be compensated by the payment of blood money.

An important part of the Hoopa - religion was the recitation of magical formulas. Professional shamans diagnosed and treated diseases; they paid with Dentalium shells and ceilings made of deer skin. Every year, three special dances were organized for the good of the community, there was also ceremonial spring and autumn festivals.

This southern group in the area of ​​Northwest Coast culture knew no Potlatch, no mask dances, carved totem poles and other carved works of art of the northern tribes.


The language of the Hoopa belongs to the large family of languages ​​of the Athabaskan. Along with the closely related, now extinct languages ​​of Chilula and Whilkut, Hoopa formed a group. At other Athabaskan languages ​​, such as Tolowa, there are important differences that separation over 1300 years ago is accepted. Today there are only a few Hoopa who are fluent in their native language (1999 < 10), but some efforts are being made to preserve the language from extinction.


The Hoopa and other Athabaskan tribes, such as the Tolowa, Tlelding, Hoilkut, Mattole, and Sinkyone Wailaki wandered about 900 in the train of Süddrifts the Athabaskan / Na - Dene in northern California one. They took over the fast culture of tribes which they encountered. Of the estimated 1,000 Hoopa in 1700 the number fell by introduced diseases and by the gold rush caused environmental degradation to 412 in 1905. Thereafter, the Hoopa recovered so again today live about 2,000 Hoopa Hoopa Valley in the reserve.

First contact with Europeans

1828 came the American trapper Jedediah Smith first white through the territory of Hoopa, 1849, above its residential areas found gold on the Trinity River and the Hoopa suffered under the onslaught of prospectors during the California Gold Rush. A military post was established and maintained in 1855 until 1882. 1864 the Hoopa Valley Reservation was established, which included nearly all the previous habitat of Hoopa.


Today, the Hoopa still live in their ancestral territory, operate a casino, a hotel and have wood-processing enterprises, including a factory for prefabricated modular homes.