Who We Are

Tribal Council

The Resighini Rancheria is governed by a Tribal Council consisting of five Tribal Citizens elected to staggered two-year terms of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, and Councilperson. Together, the Tribal Council is sworn to preserve and protect the best interests of the Resighini Rancheria and its Citizens according to the Tribal Constitution.

Fawn C. Murphy

Chairperson
(2020-2021)

Moonchay K. Dowd

Vice-Chairperson
(2019-2020)

Frank Spa-ghe Dowd

Secretary
(2020-2021)

Allen Davis

Treasurer
(2019-2020)

Kathy Dowd

Councilperson
(2019-2020)

The Tribe has inhabited the Klamath River Basin since

Time Immemorial

History of The People

our home since noohl hee-kon

The Tribal Citizens of the Resighini Rancheria remain on the lands and waters where our ancestors have survived since noohl hee-kon (the beginning). This includes the lower Klamath River and tributary watersheds, high country, coast and lagoons along the Pacific Ocean, and the ocean off this coastline west to the horizon. Our identity and cultural lifeways are inextricably tied to this place. Here, our ancestors resided in numerous villages and lived from what the earth provided. Each village has its own geographical boundaries, as well as members and descendants with traditional ownership to certain places, such as fishing holes, mussel rocks, and acorn gathering areas

With this, comes the responsibility to properly care for these places and practice reciprocity. Our Tribal Citizens participate by making regalia and/or participating in the traditional ceremonies known as the Brush Dance held yearly, and the Jump Dance, Boat Dance, and White Deerskin Dances held every two years at sacred areas.

the coming invasion & broken treaties

With the onset of non-native settlement in 1849 and the establishment of the State of California the following year, the lives of our people were forever disrupted. Gold in the Klamath, Trinity, and Salmon Rivers brought an influx of non-native settlers to the region, eager to remove us from our homelands by any means. Governmental policies and actions by settlers and militias targeted to exterminate, colonize, corral, and ultimately attempt to remove us from our homelands. Eighteen (18) treaties were negotiated in California, including one with the “Pohlik or Lower Klamath River Tribe”; however, none of the treaties were ratified by the United States Senate.

 In 1855, President Pierce established the Klamath River Reservation (Klamath River Military Reserve) by Executive Order, which included one mile on each side of the Klamath River from the mouth upriver twenty (20) miles. The headquarters for the Klamath River Reservation was the Waukell Agency, located on the same river flat as the present-day Resighini Rancheria. Waukell Agency, along with Fort Terwar, located across the river, were lost in a flood event seven (7) years following reservation establishment.

Consolidation of reservations in california

In 1864, the United States Congress passed a law mandating only four (4) reservations in California. To address the status of the Klamath River Reservation, President Harrison enacted an Executive Order in 1891 that enlarged the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation to include the Klamath River Reservation and Connecting Strip (known as the “Extension” or “Addition”). The following year, Congress initiated disposition and sale of lands of the former Klamath River Reservation

 Several of our ancestors were granted allotments on the Extension and there were Indian allotments and homesteads made on the land encompassing present-day Resighini Rancheria tribal lands. Through several purchases, Augusta “Gus” Ressighini eventually acquired the homestead land on Waukell Flat.

the indian reorganization act

Under the authority of Section 5 of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934 (25 USC Section 465), the Secretary of the Interior was authorized “…to acquire through purchase, relinquishment, gift, exchange, or assignment, any interest in lands, water rights, or surface rights to lands, within or without existing reservations including trust or otherwise restricted allotments whether the allottees are living or deceased, for the purpose of providing land for Indians.” As part of the Hoopa Valley 1937 contractual land acquisition project effort within the Bureau of Indian Affairs Hoopa Agency, the United States  purchased 228 acres of land on the lower Klamath River in 1938.

The land on Waukell Flat, was purchased from Gus Ressighini, the landowner at the time. The intent of the land purchase was to provide trust land for Indigenous People residing on the Klamath River and coast in Del Norte and Humboldt Counties that did not own an allotment at the time. Several Yurok families moved downriver to take up residence and, in 1939, the Resighini Rancheria was formally proclaimed an Indian Reservation.

historic floods & continued perseverance

Being located on the Klamath River floodplain has been challenging, being inundated with several significant flood events. Flood events in 1955 and 1964 were record-breaking historic events, the latter of which washed all residences and structures away on the Rancheria, as well as the majority of river towns throughout the region. Despite this, families slowly began returning to the Rancheria to rebuild and in 1975 several people residing and affiliated with the Resighini Rancheria, stood together and formally created a non-traditional form of government with a constitution to more effectively interact with the United States government.

The Tribe was named the Coast Indian Community of Yurok Indians of the Resighini Rancheria. The Tribe begins to establish housing, community and small economic development ventures on the reservation, as well as to build the tribal governmental operations and services. Tribal citizens continued to practice traditional fishing, hunting and gathering activities both on Tribal land and at our usual and accustomed places throughout our ancestral territory. Fishing on the Klamath River and small tributaries, hunting and gathering from the mountains, and fishing and gathering from the coast continued to occur.

our new neighbors

As the Coastal Indian Community of Yurok Indians of the Resighini Rancheria continued to grow tribal governmental operations, Congress passed the Hoopa-Yurok Settlement Act (HYSA) in 1988. The HYSA effectively spilt the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation into two reservations, creating the Yurok Reservation and requiring the establishment of the new federally recognized Yurok Tribe to govern said reservation. This meant the new Yurok Reservation now surrounded the Resighini Rancheria. The HYSA also required that, as a Tribe of “historic Yurok origin”, the Coast Indian Community of Yurok Indians of the Resighini Rancheria had to vote on whether they wanted to merge with the new Yurok Tribe or maintain their distinct sovereign status as a federally recognized Tribe.

Resighini Rancheria citizens voted to stay a distinct Tribe, which meant maintaining our federal recognition status; reservation trust land; government-to-government relationship with the United States; water, fishing, mineral, hunting and other rights and trust resources; assets we had developed; and retaining a more traditionally sized tribal government (i.e. village comprised of a couple main families).

our story continues

In 1998, the General Council of the Rancheria voted to change the name of the Tribal government to simply Resighini Rancheria. Just the year prior, as well as in 2017, the Rancheria was inundated again with flood waters that heavily impacted Tribal buildings. During the 2000s, the Tribe acquired several adjacent parcels, which expanded Tribally owned lands to over 450 acres. The Tribe will continue to seek to build capacity to serve the needs of our Tribal Citizens and govern within our territory. 

Historical Timeline

noolh hee-0kon

Genesis

Since time immemorial, our ancestors have inhabited the lower Klamath River and Pacific Coast.

1845 – 1850

Non-natives

Influx of non-native settlers. California admitted to the United States.

1851

Treaty-making

Treaties negotiated with various Indian tribes of California, including with Pohlik or Lower Klamath River Tribe. Treaties never ratified.

1855

Reservation Created

Executive Order creating Klamath River Reservation. Waukell Agency established.

1861 – 1862

Waukell Agency Destroyed

Klamath River flood destroys Waukell Agency.

1864

California Reservations

U.S. Congress passed Act allowing for four Indian Reservations in California

1891

Hoopa Valley Reservation Enlarged

Executive Order enlarging the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation to include the Klamath River Reservation.

1892

Klamath River Reservation Sold

U.S. Congress passed Act allowing for the disposition and sale of lands of the former Klamath River Reservation; several Indian allotments granted.

1906 – 1937

Land Transfers

Treaties negotiated with various Indian tribes of California, including with Pohlik or Lower Klamath River Tribe. Treaties never ratified.

1938

New Land Purchased

U.S. purchased land from Augusta (Gus) Ressighini. Certain Yurok families began taking up residence on Rancheria.

1939

New Reservation Declared

Coast Indian Community proclaimed an Indian Reservation by Secretarial Order.

1964

Historic Flood

Historic flood destroys most homes on the Coast Indian Community.

1975

Constitution Ratified

Approval of Constitution and Bylaws of Coast Indian Community.

1975

Court Victory

 U.S. Court of Claims decision in Coast Indian Community v U.S.

1998

Name Change

Tribal Constitution amended; now known as Resighini Rancheria.

Today

Tribal Life

Today the Tribal Members of the Resighini Rancheria continue to inhabit the Klamath River Basin, and enjoy their soverign right and responsibility as stewards of the lands and all its resources. 

A Thriving People

The Resighini Rancheria carries out a variety of programs and services designed to enhance the health and well being of its citizens. 

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