What Are Some Facts About the Hupa Tribe?

The Hupa tribe lived in the area that is now northwestern California. The Hupas called themselves Natinnoh-hoi, after Natinnoh, the Trinity River. Hupa houses were built from cedar or fir planks cut from logs. The Hupas ate salmon and acorns, grinding the acorns into flour.

The northwestern California climate was mild, making heavy clothing seldom necessary. Women wore skirts made of tree bark, and the men wore deer or other types of animal skins around their hips. Men and women had their ears pierced so they could wear shell ornaments in them. The Hupa women had tattoos on their chins of three broad stripes. Women and children slept in cedar or fir plank shelters while men and older boys slept in sweathouses.

Trade was important to the Hupas as that was how they obtained canoes. The Hupas traded with the Yurok, exchanging acorns and inland foods for canoes, salt (made using dried seaweed) and saltwater fish.

Important Hupa ceremonies took place twice a year: one in the spring when the salmon swam upriver, and one in the fall when acorns fell from the trees. Hupas feasted on the salmon and the acorns as part of each ceremony. In addition to acorns and salmon, the Hupas' food supply included nuts, berries, deer and elk.