Wappo Tribe

California Native Indians - Louis Choris 1822

California Native Indians by Louis Choris 1822

This article contains interesting facts, pictures and information about the life of the Wappo Native American Indian Tribe of the California cultural group.

The Wappo Tribe
Summary and Definition: The Wappo tribe were a California tribe of Native American Indians who were hunter gatherers. The Wappo tribe were located in California on the headwaters of the Napa River, and Pope and Putah Creeks, and a stretch of the Russian River. A strong, stubborn people who fought against neighboring tribes then Mexican and American encroachment of their tribal lands.

Native American Indian Tribes
Site Index

Facts about the Wappo Native Indian Tribe
This article contains fast, fun facts and interesting information about the Wappo Native American Indian tribe.

Find answers to questions like where did the Wappo tribe live, what clothes did they wear and what food did they eat? Discover what happened to the Wappo tribe with facts about their wars and history.

What was the lifestyle and culture of the Wappo tribe?
The name 'Wappo' is an Americanized form of the Spanish word 'guapo' which means "'brave." The Wappo were a strong people who fought against the encroachment of the lands. Wappo warriors painted themselves with black, red, and white paint, and wore large bird wings in their hair. The encroachment of the Mexicans and American settlers resulted in massive changes to the Wappo lifestyle. The numbers of the Wappo tribe diminished due to the reduced supply of game and wild vegetable foods especially the acorn, disease, massacres by the whites, slavery and warfare against a better equipped enemy.


Where did the Wappo tribe live?
The Wappo are people of the California Native American cultural group. The location of their tribal homelands are shown on the map in the Napa Valley region in Northern California.  The geography of the region in which they lived dictated the lifestyle and culture of the Wappo tribe.

  • Land: Sea, coastal regions, rivers and lakes

  • Climate: Mild temperate climate

  • Natural Resources: Oak trees, acorns, buckeye nuts, mushrooms, hazel nuts, bulbs, roots and grasses

  • Types of housing or shelters: Types of housing or shelters: Wickiups and pit houses

  • Land animals: The  animals included deer, elk, chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels, quail, mountain sheep and bear

  • Sea Mammals: Seals, sea lions and sea otters

  • Insects: Crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars and dried locusts were all eaten to supplement the diet

Map showing Native American Indians Cultural Groups

What did the Wappo tribe live in?
The Wappo tribe lived in several different types of shelters dependent on the natural resources that were available in their location. Their homes included Grass Mat Houses where there was access to reeds and rushes to make make mats. Wappo people with easy access to forest areas built shelters known as Cedar Bark Tepees. Other Wappo Native Indians built Winter Pit Houses that consisted of villages of semi-subterranean winter homes that were built up to 15 feet into the ground. The Wappo pit house was constructed with a wooden frame that was completely covered in earth.

What food did the Wappo tribe eat?
Food eaten by the Wappo was usually either roasted or stone-boiled and meals were eaten at eight or nine in the morning and again at sundown. The food that the Wappo tribe ate included their staple diet of acorns which they ground into acorn meal. The abundant species of oak trees on their lands produced seven different kinds of acorns. The acorns gathered by the Wappo tribe were stored up to one year, ground into acorn meal and leached to make soup, cakes and bread. The Wappo hunted deer (venison), elk, fowl, and small game such as rabbits and quail. Fish was also another important food source, particularly salmon. The Wappo hunter-gathers collected other foods including buckeye nuts, pepperwood nuts, various greens, roots, bulbs, and berries. Wild fruits and berries included Thimbleberry, Elderberry, California Wild Grape, Thimbleberry and Chokecherry. The bulbs of the Yellow Mariposa Lily were used for food, eaten like potatoes. Most foods were dried and stored for use during the winter months. Coastal groups of Wappo people hunted for sea mammals and considered dried seaweed a delicacy.

What clothes did the Wappo men wear?
The clothes worn by the Wappo men varied according to the season. During the summer months the men wore a breech cloth or just went naked. In the winter months warm clothing was required and their winter clothing was made from the skins of animals such as deer (buckskin), elk, squirrel, rabbit and wildcats. The Wappo winter clothes included fur robes and cloaks, shirts, wrap-around kilts, mitts and leggings that were often decorated with fringes. They wore one-piece moccasins with a front seam whilst hunting or traveling, but went barefoot in the warmer weather.

What clothes did the Wappo women wear?
The clothes worn by the Wappo women included blouses and aprons that covered the front and back made of shredded willow bark. Their dresses or skirts fell to knee or calf length and were belted and fringed. Special clothes were strung with ornaments, tassels and porcupine quills. Twined tule sandals, or moccasins, covered the feet of the Wappo women in the winter and they wore fur robes to keep warm.

What was the religion and beliefs of the Wappo tribe?
The religion and beliefs of the Wappo tribe was based on Animism that encompassed the spiritual idea that the universe and all natural objects animals, plants, trees, rivers, mountains and rocks have souls or spirits. The Kuksu cult was a secret religious society, in which members impersonated a god (kuksu) or gods in order to obtain supernatural power. The Kuksu religion practised by the Wappo featured dance cycles aimed at bountiful harvest and hunt and good weather In the 1870's the Earth Lodge Religion and the Bole-Maru that grew out of the Ghost Dance movement revitalized the tribes in north-central California 

Wappo History Timeline: What happened to the Wappo tribe?
The following history timeline details facts, dates and famous landmarks of the Wappo people. The Wappo timeline explains what happened to the people of their tribe.  

Wappo History Timeline

  • 1800's: The Spanish began raiding Wappo country for converts forcing them to work as slaves in Spanish missions

  • 1823: The Sonoma Mission was established

  • 1821: Mexico wins its independence from Spain and takes control of California. Large numbers of Wappo are indentured to Mexicans

  • 1830: The Pomo tribe, who lived in Alexander Valley along the Russian River, were defeated in a fight with the Wappo over some stolen acorns

  • 1833: Wappo people fight against the Mexicans but are are forced to work as slaves on Mexican ranches

  • 1833: Many Wappo were interned at the Sonoma Mission

  • 1833: Cholera epidemic kills many Wappo people

  • 1836: Mexican Salvador Vallejo was made commandant general of California and fought with the Wappo in their campaigns against the Mexicans

  • 1836: Wappo chief Succara signed a peace treaty with the Mexicans after a year of fighting in order to defend Wappo territories

  • 1838: Smallpox epidemic (1838-1839) ravages the Wappo tribe

  • 1841: The California Trail opens

  • 1840: The Clear Lake Massacre occured when a posse led by Mexican Salvador Vallejo massacred 150 Wappo and Pomo Indians on Clear Lake, California

  • 1846: South Emigrant Road aka the Applegate Trail opens

  • 1848: California is passed to the US with the Treaty of Guadalupe

  • 1848: January 24, 1848: Gold is discovered at Sutter's timber Mill starting the California Gold rush

  • 1848: The white settlers and gold prospectors bring various diseases to the Native Indians who lived in the surrounding areas of the westward trails

  • 1850: California was admitted into the Union

  • 1851: Treaties were agreed reserving lands for the Native Indians of California, but they were never honored.

  • 1856: Wappo people were rounded up and forced onto the Mendocino reservation

  • 1868: Wappo were moved to the Round Valley reservation

  • 1870: The Bole-Maru and the Earth Lodge Religion were religious revitalization movements of tribes in north-central California that grew out of the Ghost Dance movement involving the dreams of medicine people

  • 1906: The 18 treaties of 1851 were “rediscovered” and 54 rancherias were established.

Wappo History Timeline


  • Interesting Facts and information about the way the people lived
  • The clothes worn by men and women
  • Description of the homes and the type of food the Wappo would eat
  • Fast Facts and info about the Wappo
  • Names of famous chiefs and leaders
  • Interesting Homework resource for kids on the history of the Wappo Native American Indians

Pictures and Videos of Native American Indians and their Tribes
The Wappo Tribe was one of the most famous tribes of Native American Indians. Discover the vast selection of pictures on the subject of the tribes of Famous Native Americans such as the Wappo nation. The pictures show the clothing, war paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes, such as the Wappo tribe, that can be used as a really useful educational resource for kids and children of all ages. We hope you enjoy watching the video - just click and play - a great social studies homework resource for kids .


Wappo - Kids - Cool, Fun Facts - Wappo Clothes - Clothing - Dresses - Headdresses - Homes - Shelters- Lives - Weapons - Legends - Wappo Food - Location - Wappo History - History Timeline - Kids - Info - Information - Famous - Kids - Children - Wappo Timeline - Teaching resource - Social Studies - Lifestyle - Culture - Teachers - Wappo Facts - Wappo Timeline - Kids - Interesting Facts - Info - Information - Pictures - Reference - Guide - Studies - Homework - Wappo Facts

ⓒ 2017 Siteseen LimitedFirst Published Cookies PolicyAuthor
Updated 2018-01-16Publisher Siteseen Limited Privacy Statement