Home region: Northern and Southern San Joaquin Valley and the Siera Nevada foothills
Language group: Penutian
Historical background: Yokuts is a term referring to a large number of peoples of the Central Valley of California and the Sierra foothills, all of whom spoke similar languages.
The Spanish encountered the Yokuts very early in their land explorations, at least as early as the 1770s, but the Yokuts began to join the missions around 1811. The padres had plans to establish missions among the Yokuts in the San Joaquin Valley, but for a number of reasons, these plans never materialized.
Interesting facts: The Spanish referred to many of these people as tulareños or “people of the reeds.” In the case of the southern Yokuts tribes, they often lived in permanent structures thanks to the abundance of food resources in their home areas. The Yokuts traded with other tribes closer to the coast and were fond of wearing shell beads as necklaces.
Today: Today there are a number of organizations representing Yokuts people, including Table Mountain Rancheria (Fresno County), Picayune Rancheria (Madera County), the Wuckchumni Tribe (Tulare County), and Santa Rosa Rancheria (Kings County).