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The Inter-tribal Council of California

With 107 federally recognized tribes either totally or partly within its borders, the state of California has almost five times as many tribal entities as any other state (AID, 39- 41). The vast majority of these tribes are extremely small and the area under their control is tiny. The largest of the tribes totally within California are the Hoopa Valley and the Karuk nations with just over 2,000 enrolled members each (Ibid.). In area, the Hoopa Valley reservation is the largest with 93,000 acres. If you compare this against the Navajo nation with 220,000 enrolled members and 17,213,941 acres, one can understand the relative sizes of the California native populations.

Because of their small size and their "sprinkling" across such a vast state as California, it is important for the Native Peoples of the "Golden State" to have a vehicle to coordinate their interests, concerns and needs. This function is the responsibility of the Inter-Tribal Council of California based in the state capital of Sacramento (REAI, 88). Here it can act as a voice for all the tribes of the state in their relationship with the government of California.

The Inter-Tribal Council has a golden yellow flag recalling the state's nickname. Running across the top of the flag in red letters is the corporate name "Inter-Tribal Council of California, Inc.". Below this, centered on the remaining portion of the flag is the corporate logo depicted in full color. Facing a barely visible rising yellow sun is a native overlaying or morphing into a stylized bird. The native is shown with black hair, brown skin tones wearing an ochre colored breechcloth and sandals. His wrists have white bands possibly affixing the bird to the individual. The bird is shown with black, white and ochre wings and tail while the beak forming out of the native's head is ochre with a black end.

The sun appears to be rising over a brown hill against a white circle. The white circle is formed by an arcing six colored rainbow starting with red one the outside and proceeding inward with bands of orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

The flag was modified in either 1997 or 1998 to include a motto beneath the ventral emblem.The phrase "Unity for all California Indians now appears in red.

Thanks to Jim Ferrigan of NAVA and Flag Services of Reno, Nevada for obtaining information about the flag of the Inter-Tribal Council.


Don Healy, Bisbee, Az 85603