The Kato, also spelled Cahto, are a Native American people who reside in California. Today most descendants are enrolled as the federally recognized tribe, the Cahto Indian Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria, and a smaller group of Cahto enrolled in the Round Valley Indian Tribes of the Round Valley Reservation.
Their name means "People of the Lake" or "Lake People", which refers to the lake shore where they people once lived.
Historically, their language was Wailakian. Unfortunately, their language is no longer spoken. Their traditional homeland was mountains and hills covered with fir, pine, oak and redwoods with intertwining streams. A nearby 4,213 foot high mountain summit is named Cahto Peak in their honor.
Laytonville is home to two non-denominational churches, the Shepherd of the Valley Church and the Community Christian Church "the Dome Church".
The traditional religious conceptions of the Kato tribe are grouped around two deities: Chén'h or T'cenes, the creator, who is identified with thunder and lightning, and his companion, Nághai-cho or Nagaicho, the Great Traveler. The latter is a somewhat mischievous personage, who in the myth, constantly urges Chén'h to acts of creation, while pretending that he has the knowledge and power to perform them, if only he has the desire to do so.
In mythology, as in other phases of their culture, the Kato tribe showed their susceptibility to the double influence to which they had been exposed. With a creation story of the type prevailing in central California, they preceded it with an account of a race of animal-people who were swept from the earth by the deluge — a theme characteristic of North Pacific Coast mythology.
The creator, Chén'h, who is identified with lightning, dwelt in the sky. Below was an expanse of water, with a rim of land in the north. With his companion, Nághai-cho, he descended and turned a monstrous deer into land. Chén'h created the people, but Nághai-cho made the mountains and the streams. In everything, the latter tried to outdo Chén'h, playing the role (usually assigned to coyote) of the buffoon and trickster. (Cahto Religion)
Pray for God to work in the hearts and lives of Kato people, meeting both their spiritual and physical needs.
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