© 2011 Suscol Intertribal Council, P.O. Box 5386, Napa, CA 94581
Native Elders struggle to reinvest culture and language in young people, and cooperate with ethno-biographers to record Native history and recollections
Congress passes Public Law 671, known as the Termination Act, extinguishing the rights of the Wappo tribe and 41 other rancherias to federal assistance and land bases
Maidu-Pomo Elders Norma Knight and Jim Big Bear King establish the Suscol Indian Council to address archeological concerns in the Napa Valley
A Native American garden at Bothe Park in Calistoga is established with consultation with Wappo Elders
Senator Daniel Inouye, Chairman of Indian Affairs, spearheads Senate Bill 2144 to re-recognize "terminated tribes"
Mishewal- Wappo begin reorganization and apply for re-recognition under the leadership of John Trippo
Laura Somersall, famous Wappo-Pomo basket maker, teacher, lecturer and linguist, dies
Traditional Wappo-Pomo singers and dancers gather again in public sites throughout the Napa Valley
Wappo and Pomo Elders, the Suscol Council, and the Napa Valley College create a dedication garden to Napa Valley's First People in St. Helena
Clint McKay promotes awareness of the Native American experience through his lecture series on the Onastis-Wappo culture and traditions
Suscol Council Continues to promote cultural awareness through annual events: Pow-wow, art auction, and small venue lectures & films with the ultimate goal of healing the post-colonial trauma.
"The Wappo are a group of three similar-speaking people: the northern Mishewal (Warrior People) of Alexander Valley and southern Lake County; the central Mutistul group of Knights Valley and eastern Sonoma County; and the Mayakmah (Water Going Out Place) of the southern tidal areas of Napa and Sonoma Valleys." Their staunch resistance to invasion and cultural destruction earned them the Spanish name "Guapo", meaning daring, brave or handsome. In phonetic English, "Guapo" came to be pronounced "Wap-poe", but the tribe referred to themselves as the Onastis - the people who speak plainly or "Outspoken People".
Ethnographic evidence suggests that the Wappo spoke a Yukian language with significant regional time depth. Moratto's California linguistic settlement history (1984: 543: et seq.) states that Yukian speakers controlled the north coast ranges as much as 8,000 years ago. Eventually, other Native groups moved into the Napa Valley, reducing the Yukian domain. Approximately 3,300 years ago, the Miwok gained a foothold in former Yukian territory. Later, Hokan speakers (the Pomo) expanded southward into Sonoma and Napa Counties. The Wappo re-established control of Napa Valley about 1,500 years ago, and their territory remained roughly the same until the 1800s.
After the Spanish and Mexican invasion in 1823, the tribes were nearly decimated by forced marches and smallpox. When forced to relocate to various missions for religious indoctrination, many fled to friendlier territory. In Alexander Valley, Clear Lake and Sonoma County, Wappos intermarried with other tribes, and blended with the European invaders.
At present, Native Americans are reasserting the beauty and richness of their cultural traditions. California Native Americans have persevered and they have much to share with more dominant cultures.
One need only be still to hear.
Jim Big Bear King, Suscol Tribal Elder
"Looking through the trees"