Salinan Indians

Salinan Indians – From Salinas River which drains most of their territory.

Salinan Connections. Formerly considered a distinct linguistic stock, they are now connected with the Hokan linguistic family.

Salinan Location. From the headwaters of the Salinas, or perhaps only from the vicinity of the Santa Margarita Divide, north to Santa Lucia Peak and an unknown point in the valley somewhere south of Soledad; and from the sea presumably to the main crest of the Coast Range.

Salinan Subdivisions On linguistic grounds the Salinan have been divided into the San Miguel Salinas on the upper course of Salinas River, the San Antonio Salinas below the preceding to Costanoan territory, and the Playano along the coast.

Salinan Villages

  • San Antonio Division:
    • Chahomesh, at the head of San Antonio River.
    • Chohwahl, near the mouth of San Antonio River.
    • Chukilin, at the head of Nacimiento Creek.
    • Holamna Jolon, southeast of San Antonio Mission.
    • Nasihl Pleyto, on lower San Antonio River.
    • Sapewis, below the preceding.
    • Skotitoki, north of San Antonio Mission.
    • Tesospek, on San Antonio River above San Antonio Mission.
    • Tetachoya Ojitos, on lower San Antonio River.
  • San Miguel Division:
    • Cholame, probably on Cholame Creek or at the mouth of Estrella Creek.
    • Teshaumis, on the upper course of Cholame Creek.
    • Teshaya, at San Miguel Mission.
    • Trolole, near Cholame or near Santa Margarita.
    • Playano.
    • Ehmahl, located conjecturally near Lucia.
    • Lema, perhaps lower down the coast than the preceding.
    • Ma’tihl’she, located conjecturally still farther south.
    • Tsilakaka, placed conjecturally near San Simeon.

Salinan Population. Kroeber (1925) estimates that there may have been 3,000 Salinan in 1770 but that 2,000 is a safer estimate; about 40 remain. The census of 1910 returned 16; that of 1930, none.


Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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