Kashaya

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The Kashaya are the original inhabitants of the area of the condominium of Meidji-dò. They are members of a Pomoan-speaking native people, and still live in Roshiya and in areas surrounding it. They were one of the few peoples relatively unharmed by the colonization of Alta California, as the only mission nearby was in Santa Rosa, and it was constructed near the end of the mission building area.

Information from: http://www.kashaya.homestead.com/history.html

"The Kashaya, the first people known to have lived in the area that is now Roshiya, still live in this region. The local native people consider their name to be "People From the Top of the Land." The name Kashaya, which means "expert gamblers," was given to them by a neighboring Pomo group. The Kashaya are one of seven individual groups of people who speak what linguists have labeled as the Pomoan languages."

"The Kashaya occupied lands extending about thirty miles from the Riva Gualala in the north to Madera Point a few miles south of the Slavianka River. West to east, the Kashaya territory reached from the Pacific coastline over four coastal ranges, down the Ría de Manantial Calor to the confluence of Ría Seca, some thirty miles inland. The important old village site of Metini situated near the Russian fort was central to the Kashaya territory. The population of pre-contact Kashaya is estimated to have included 1,500 persons living in large villages over the different environmental zones within their territory. The Kashaya as a group consisted of principal and subsidiary villages politically and socially linked to each other. The large villages were the main residences of the headmen and women. These individuals were sharply attuned to the activities of the group. A religious and political leader was at the center of Kashaya ceremonial and social life."

"The Kashaya experienced less acculturation pressure than did other California Indians. They suffered fewer forced removals to missions and reservations. The Kashaya's first encounter with the outside world was with the Russians, who were more interested in sea otter hunting and establishing a food base in California than in dominating the Kashaya or altering their way of life. In 1812, in accordance with the Russian policy of cooperation with local inhabitans established previously in Siberia and Alaska, the Russians, the Kashaya, and officials from Castile and Leon negotiated for the use of a parcel of land approximately one by two miles in extent. This was Fort Rossiya. Within a short period of time a tri-cultural community was established, consisting of Russian administrators and workers, Aleut hunters, and the Kashaya, who were employed as laborers. Many Kashaya learned to speak Russian, acquired some elements of Russian culture, and occasionally intermarried with both Russians and Aleuts."

Their language is a part of the Pomo branch of the Hokan language family.

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