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Chilula (Yurok language term: Chueluela' / Chueluelaa' , Tsulu-la, "People of Tsulu, the Bald Hill", locally known as the "Bald Hills Indians") were an Pacific Coast Athabaskan tribe speaking a dialect similar to the Hupa to the east and Whilkut to the south, who inhabited the area on or near Lower Redwood Creek, in Northern California, some 500 to 600 years before contact with Europeans.

Upstream and northwest of the Whilkut along the Lower Redwood Creek lived the Chilula; they established their more than 20 villages only along the eastern shore, because there the mountains were broken by valleys irrigated by small streams, while the western shore was difficult to access.

The Chilula (together with Whilkut) were called by the neighboring Hupa-speaking peoples Xwiy¬q'it-xwe / Xwe:yłq'it-xwe ("Redwood Ridge / Bald Hills People"), the Karuk also called them Vitkirik'áraar ("People of Viitkírik/Viitkírak (Bald Hills)"), therefore they were also known as Bald Hills Indians or Lower Redwood Indians. Because of their close Hupa kin they are also called Lower Redwood Creek Hupa or Downstream Redwood Creek Hupa. Sometimes they are also considered another fourth tribelet (subgroup) of the Whilkut and are called the Chilula Whilkut.

Chilula descendants have since been incorporated into the Hupa:

  • Hoopa Valley Tribe (Hoopa, Humboldt County, Population 2013: 3.139) (Hupa, Tsnungwe, Chimalakwe, Chilula, Whilkut)
  • Moon Creek Corporation (Redwood Creek Descendants)

Historic villages

The Chilula originally had at least 20 villages, these villages are known by name: k'ina'-xontah-ding (Kinahontahding), kinyiq'i-kyoh-mingwah (Kingyukyomunga), łich'iwh-'inahwh-ding (Hlichuhwinauhwding), mis-me' (Misme), noleh-ding (Noleding), q'a: xis-tah-ding (Kahustahding), q'ayliwh-tah-ding (Kailuhwtahding), q'ung'-kyoh-lay' (Kingkyolai), sikinchwin-mitah-ding (Sikinchwungmitahding), to:n'-dinun-ding (Tondinunding), ts'in-sila: -ding (Tsinsilading), xontehł-me' (Hontetlme), xowuni-q'it (Howunakut), yinuqi-no:mitse'-ding (Yinukanomitseding), yitse'ni-ning'ay-q'it (Yisining'aikut). Further settlements are mentioned: Kailuhwchengetlding, Tlochime, Tlocheke.

Groups of Chilula Indians lived in small villages scattered throughout the area. Each contained about thirty people. Most of these settlements were on the east side of Redwood Creek. It was sunnier there and the trees less dense. The Chilulas also had temporary camps on Bald Hills, where they stayed during the summer and fall. They usually chose sites high on a ridge near a cool brook or stream. The Chilula's permanent homes in Redwood Creek basin were square structures made of redwood slabs. Small pieces of leftover wood were used to make drum frames, medicine boxes, and other items. The houses were built over dug-out pits. A notched plank served as a stairway leading down to them. Near the pit's center, a scooped-out area bordered by stones was used for fire.


A 205' Cherokee-class US Navy oceangoing tugboat was christened the USS Chilula (ATF-153) in 1945, and recommissioned in 1958 as the United States Coast Guard Cutter Chilula (WMEC-153), serving until 1991.

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