on the cool winter morning of February 26, 1860, a group of settlers
armed with hatchets, clubs and knives (they left their guns behind so
that their presence on the Island would not be know to the nearby
neighbors in Eureka) paddled to what is now known as Indian Island.
There, sleeping Wiyot men, women and children, exhausted from a week of
ceremonial dance were caught unaware and brutally slain.
brutal 1860 massacre of Indian Island's inhabitants and visitors
abruptly ended centuries of ceremonial dancing and celebration. Most of
the men among the Wiyot celebrants had traveled to the mainland during
the night in order to replenish supplies. As a result, mostly women,
children, and elders were killed. This was not the only massacre that
took place that night. Two other village sites were raided. One on the
Eel River and another on the South Spit. Eighty to one hundred people
or more were slain that night. A baby, Jerry James (Captain Jim's son),
was the only infant that survived the massacre on the Island.