The Wintun are an American Indian group numbering about one thousand who live on several rancherías and Reservations in California. The Wintun language belongs to the Penutian language family. In the early nineteenth century the tribe was located in northwestern California and numbered about fourteen thousand.
The Wintun had a varied subsistence economy including collecting and drying acorns, communal deer and rabbit hunts, and communal fish drives to catch salmon and trout. The tribe was divided into nine major geographical regions, but the largest political units were villages, each of which was headed by a chief whose position was usually inherited.
The Wintun worshiped a supreme deity and prayed to the sun each morning. Religious leaders were shamans who acquired their power in an initiation period of fasting, dancing, and instruction and who cured the sick by means of Massage, soul capture, and sucking disease-causing objects out of the patient. Between 1830 and 1870 75 percent of the tribe was wiped out by epidemics. Subsequently, the Wintun were harassed and massacred by the hundreds at the hands of White ranchers and miners and finally forced onto Reservations.
DuBois, Cora (1935). Wintu Ethnography. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, 36, 1-148. Berkeley.
Goldschmidt, Walter (1951). Nomlaki Ethnography. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, 42, 303-443.