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Santa Rosa Rancheria is the reservation of the Santa Rosa Indian Community of the Santa Rosa Rancheria. It is located 4.5 miles (7.24 km) southeast of Lemoore, California. Established in 1934 on about 40 acres (16 hectares), the Santa Rosa Rancheria belongs to the federally recognized Tachi Yokuts tribe. It is the site of the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino. The population was 517 at the time of the 2000 United States Census and had increased to 652 by the 2010 United States Census. In 2010, 288 residents (44.2% of the total) were under 18 and 29 (4.4%) were 65 and over.

Ruben Barrios was elected as the Tribal Chairman in 2009. The previous Tribal Chairman, Clarence Atwell Jr., served in that position for 42 years and died in 2013.

The Santa Rosa Rancheria expanded in size over the years to 643 acres (260 hectares) by the beginning of 2008. On May 28, 2008, then–Tribal Chairman Clarence Atwell Jr. and Dale Morris, Pacific Region Director of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, signed documents that added 1,163 acres (471 hectares) of trust land, thus enlarging the Rancheria to 1,806 acres (731 hectares).

Tachi History

The Santa Rosa Rancheria belongs to the federally recognized Tachi-Yokut Tribe. The Indians of the San Joaquin Valley were known as Yokuts.  The word "Yokuts" mean people. By the end of the 19th century, the Tachi Yokut Tribe was split across the central and southern parts of California. The Yokuts were divided into tribes with each having a name, a language, and a territory. They are called the seed-gatherers because they did no farming at all in the days before Columbus.  Their main food was acorns.  The Yokuts also ate wild plants, roots, and berries.  They hunted deer, rabbits, prairie dogs, and other small mammals and birds.  They made simple clothing out of bark and grass.  Their jewelry and headbands were made of seeds and feathers.


The Citizenship Act of 1924 gave all Indians American citizenship rights while allowing them to retain their tribal citizenship but it made little difference in the way they were treated by the government. As part of their integration into white society, the federal government sent their children to government schools, the religion was banned, and the teaching of the native language and culture was all but forbidden. Even after the land grabs and removal efforts had ceased, the damage had been done. The division of the native people, the suppression of the Indian culture, and the influence of white society left them with few ties to the past. Aspirations for the future were being destroyed by the resulting economic hardships and prejudice. For generations, the native people have tried to support themselves as seasonal field laborers. Government regulations produced long term economic stagnation on the reservation, resulting in 85% unemployment, a crumbling infrastructure, and a cycle of poverty which ground away at the hope for a better future for their children.

The Yokutsan Language

The Santa Rosa Rancheria Cultural and Historical Preservation Department have been given a great responsibility to educate people about the Cultural Ways and Values of the Tachi-Yokuts. Ignorance of the culture still exists today as in the time of their Ancestors and they do the best they can to carry the words and knowledge to educate those who they will be working with.

The Yokutsan languages are considered by most linguists to be part of the Penutian family of languages, possibly related most closely to Miwok. There were once between twenty and thirty Yokutsan languages spoken throughout the San Joaquin area of Southern California. Language loss in California has been especially severe, however--the legacy of the Gold Rush days, in which massacres and Indian slavery, while technically illegal, were not actively discouraged--and today only three Yokuts languages are still spoken, by only a handful of elders apiece. The three surviving Yokuts languages are generally called Southern Valley Yokuts (with two surviving dialects, Yawelmani/Yowlumni and Tachi); Northern Valley Yokuts (Chukchansi); and Foothill Yokuts (Choinimni.) Although the Yokuts languages are seriously endangered, there are language programs in the Tachi and Chukchansi tribes, and some young Yokuts people are working to keep their ancestral tongue alive.

The Rancheria

In 1934, the Santa Rosa Rancheria was established on about 40 acres of desolate farmland in Lemoore, California. Forty people lived on the reservation below poverty level, many living in tule huts, tin houses, old cars and chicken coops. The average education on the reservation was 3rd grade level, with field labor as the primary source of income. By the 1980's the Santa Rosa Rancheria had grown to approximately 200 members and 170 acres. Government programs such as Headstart, 638 funds, and an AA program were in place, and the average education increased to 8th grade level. Some HUD housing was built, but living conditions were still below poverty level for most members.

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