Buena Vista Tribe

Buena Vista Tribe, Buena Vista Band, Buena Vista Indians (Spanish: pleasant view ). A descriptive name applied to one or more Shoshonean or Mariposan tribes living on Buena Vista lake, in the lower Kern River Drainage, California. By treaty of June 10, 1851, these tribes reserved a tract between Tejon Pass and Kern River, and ceded the remainder of their land to the United States.

The Me-Wuk Indians of the Buena Vista Rancheria are an integral part of California’s Native American history. They lived in and around what is now Amador County for thousands of years. The Oliver family has roots in Amador County as early as 1817. As a result of the Mission Period, Gold Rush and then diseases that Indian people had never been exposed to, the Me-Wuks’ numbers shrunk dramatically over the last three centuries.

By the late 19th Century, the Me-Wuks in the Amador County area were reduced to a smattering of individual families. The Buena Vista Band and its descendents lived through some of the most horrific times in American history…from Casus Oliver and his mother escaping Mission San Jose, to continuing to practice their culture when it was forbidden. Casus Oliver came to Amador County with his mother and joined the settlement of Upusani.

The Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California is a federally recognized Indian tribe. The Tribe has been listed by the Secretary of the Interior as such since 1985. The Tribe’s Rancheria land is a 67-acre parcel in Amador County just outside the town of Buena Vista.

For Further Study

The following articles and manuscripts will shed additional light on the Buena Vista as both an ethnological study, and as a people.

  1. History of the Buena Vista Tribe
  2. Barbour (1852) in Sen. Ex. Doc. 4, 32d Cong., spec, sess., 256, 1853.
  3. California Rancheria Act, Pub. L. No. 85-671
  4. P.L. 85-671, 72 Stat. 619 (1958)
  5. Hardwick v. United States, No. C-79-1710 SW (N.D. Cal. 1979)


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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