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Massacre devastates tiny Native American tribe in Northern California

Crime scene at tribal headquarters in Alturas, CA.
Crime scene at tribal headquarters in Alturas, CA.

Cherie Lash Rhoades, former chairwoman of the Cedarville Rancheria (Northern Paiute) tribe, opened fire during an eviction hearing at the tribal headquarters in Alturas, CA yesterday. She was finally taken into custody after shooting four people to death including the current leader, and stabbing another woman with a butcher knife. None of the victims' names were released.

Police said tribal members were meeting about evicting Rhoades and her son from her home on Rancheria land.
The Cedarville Rancheria is a federally recognized tribe with 35 members, located on 26 acres of land in northeastern California, about 55 miles south of the Oregon border and 35 miles west of the Nevada line. The tribal office in Alturas serves as a community center for a variety of activities from council meetings, to youth tutoring and holiday celebrations.

The shooting was on everyone’s mind last night at the Niles Hotel, a few blocks from the Rancheria’s headquarters, said Cheyenne Menkee who works there.

“It’s not something you hear about happening here in Alturas,” Cheyenne Menkee who works at the nearby Niles Hotel, told local newspaper the Record-Searchlight. “My heart dropped a little bit ... some people in here are kind of shaky. People were concerned if someone they knew was shot.”