Redwood Creek seen with a herd of Roosevelt Elk on its banks
Mad River

The Whilkut (variants: Whiylqit, Hwil'-kut, Hoilkut, Hoilkut-hoi) also known as "(Upper) Redwood Creek Indians" or "Mad River Indians" were a Pacific Coast Athabaskan tribe speaking a dialect similar to the Hupa to the northeast and Chilula to the north, who inhabited the area on or near the Upper Redwood Creek and along the Mad River except near its mouth (with the North Fork Mad River), up to Iaqua Butte, and some settlement in Grouse Creek in the Trinity River drainage in Northwestern California, before contact with Europeans.

The Whilkut may then be divided into four subgroups (tribelets):

Known Whilkut villages: ch'iłq'un-ding, mił-tehsch'e:-me'.

The common tribal name as "Whilkut" is an adaption from the Hupa name for the Redwood Creek respectively the Redwood Ridge / Bald Hills as Xwiy¬q'it / Xwe:ył-q'it / Xoył-q'it.

The Whilkut (together with Chilula) were called by the neighboring Hupa-speaking peoples Xwiy¬q'it-xwe / Xwe:yłq'it-xwe ("Redwood Ridge / Bald Hills People"), therefore they were also known as (Upper) Redwood Creek Indians. Because of their close Hupa kin they are also called Upper Redwood Creek Hupa or Upstream Redwood Creek Hupa.

Most authors consider class the Chilula as a separate people, sometimes they are also considered another fourth tribelet (subgroup) of the Whilkut and are called the Chilula Whilkut.

Little is known of the Whilkut culture beyond its similarity to that of the Hupa and criticized by the Hupa and Chilula as guarded, traditional , less settled hill people. Following the gold rush in Northwestern California, routes of pack trains between Humboldt Bay and Weaverville, California, lay through their territory, and their population, never large, was drastically reduced in the 1858-1864 Bald Hills War. Estimated to have 250-350 warriors at the start of the war,[2] the survivors were taken to the Hupa reservation soon after its establishment. After 1870 they drifted back to their traditional homes where they continued to live. Only 50 remained in the 1910 census.[3] In 1972 only a remnant was left, perhaps only 20 to 25 individuals.[4]

Whilkut descendants have since been incorporated into the Hupa:


  1. ^ California Athabascan Groups
  2. ^ Letter from General Kibbe to Governor Weller, State Archives, 1858
  3. ^ Kroeber, Handbook of the Indians of California, p. 141
  4. ^ Robert Heizer, William C. Sturtevant, Handbook of North American Indians: California, Volume 3; Government Printing Office, Washington, 1978; Whilkut, pp. 178-179
  5. ^ "Hoopa Valley Tribe". Archived from the original on 2020-08-26. Retrieved 2020-08-23.
  6. ^ "Blue Lake Rancheria". Archived from the original on 2020-10-23. Retrieved 2020-08-23.

Further reading

See also