Patwin Tribe

Patwin Indians (‘man,’ ‘person’). A name adopted by Powers to designate a division of the Copehan family. They occupied the area extending from Stony creek, Colusa County, to Suisun Bay, Solano County, California, and from Sacramento river to the boundary of the Kulanapan family on the west, but excluding the so-called Coyote Valley Indians on the headwaters of Putah creek in the south part of Lake County, determined by Barrett to be Moquelumnan and not Copehan. The dialects of this division differ considerably from those of the Wintun. Powers believed the Patwin were once very numerous. The manners and customs of the tribes in the interior and on the mountains differed greatly from those near the shore. On the plains and in the valleys in building a dwelling they excavated the soil for about 2 feet, banked up enough earth to keep out the water, and threw the remainder on the roof in a dome. In the mountains, where wood was more abundant and rain more frequent, no roofing of earth was used. In war the Patwin used bows and arrows and flint-pointed spears; no scalps were taken, but the victors are said often to have decapitated the most beautiful maiden they captured. They had a ceremony for “raising evil spirits” and dances to celebrate a good harvest of acorns or a successful catch of fish. The dead were usually buried, though cremation was practiced to some extent by some of the tribes.


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

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Access Genealogy

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top