Guide to the Indian Tribes of the Pacific Northwest / Edition 3

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The Native peoples of the Pacific Northwest inhabit a vast region extending from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, and from California to British Columbia. For more than two decades, A Guide to the Indian Tribes of the Pacific Northwest has served as a standard reference on these diverse peoples. Now, in the wake of renewed tribal self-determination, this revised edition reflects the many recent political, economic, and cultural developments shaping these Native communities.

From such well-known tribes as the Nez Perces and Cayuses to lesser-known bands previously presumed "extinct," this guide offers detailed descriptions, in alphabetical order, of 150 Pacific Northwest tribes. Each entry provides information on the history, location, demographics, and cultural traditions of the particular tribe.

Among the new features offered here are an expanded selection of photographs, updated reading lists, and a revised pronunciation guide. While continuing to provide succinct histories of each tribe, the volume now also covers such contemporary—and sometimes controversial—issues as Indian gaming and NAGPRA. With its emphasis on Native voices and tribal revitalization, this new edition of the Guide to the Indian Tribes of the Pacific Northwest is certain to be a definitive reference for many years to come.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this excursion into historical facts and figures about more than 150 native groups in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, the authors give a nutshell history of each group through the eyes of missionaries, explorers, and government officials. A companion volume to their Indians of the Pacific Northwest ( LJ 9/15/81), this is primarily useful for informaton on lesser-known tribes, 20th-century land-claim settlements, and the activities of today's tribal organizations. The information included goes beyond Frederick Hodge's classic Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (1910; 1975. reprint) and John Swanton's The Indian Tribes of North America ( 1952; 1968. reprint). Recommended for public libraries in the Pacific Northwest. Mary B. Davis, Museum of the American Indian Lib., Bronx, New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806140247
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 10/25/2010
  • Series: The Civilization of the American Indian Series , #173
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 623,777
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert H. Ruby was both�physician and independent scholar. Along with John A. Brown, he�was coauthor of numerous books, including Indians of the Pacific Northwest: A History.

John A. Brown was Professor Emeritus of History at Wenatchee Valley College, Washington. He is coauthor of numerous books, including Indians of the Pacific Northwest: A History.

Cary C. Collins, a public school teacher living in Maple Valley, Washington, is the editor of Assimilation's Agent: My Life as a Superintendent in the Indian Boarding School System.

Clifford E. Trafzer is Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside.

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Read an Excerpt

A Guide to the Indian Tribes of the Pacific Northwest

By Robert H. Ruby, John A. Brown, Cary C. Collins


Copyright © 2010 University of Oklahoma Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8061-8952-9




The Ahantchuyuks were popularly known as the French Prairie Indians because that prairie lay in their homeland in the Willamette Valley north of present-day Salem, Oregon. They were also known as the Pudding River Indians for the stream that enters the Willamette River from the east about ten miles south of Oregon City. Other Indians called them the Hanchiuke. Decreased in numbers, the Ahantchuyuks were pushed from around the Molalla River (a tributary to the Willamette from the east) by the Molalas, who, according to tradition, had been driven westward across the Cascade Mountains in wars with other tribes.

Like other Kalapuyan speakers, the Ahantchuyuks were skilled hunters. They used deerhead decoys, among other devices, to catch their prey. Fur traders of John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company are believed to have been the first non-Indians to enter their lands. The Ahantchuyuks were alarmed when the Astorians first came in 1812 seeking furs and venison to feed the employees at the company headquarters at Astoria on the lower Columbia River. The Natives did not wish to gather pelts for the Astorians or their successors, the Nor'Westers of the North West Company and the men of the Hudson's Bay Company, with which the North West Company later merged.

The Hudson's Bay Company operated a permanent fur trading post at Champoeg until 1825, using the Willamette Valley as a thoroughfare for its brigades traveling to and from California. On French Prairie was Chemaway (now Chemawa), one of the first permanent white settlements in the Pacific Northwest. It had received its name from former Hudson's Bay Company employees who followed Joseph Gervais, who located there in 1828. Tradition has it that a free trapper named George Montour had settled on French Prairie about fifteen years earlier. The Ahantchuyuks and other Kalapuyan speakers sold slaves to French-Canadian settlers who put these slaves to work on farms. To those settlers they also sold such goods as floormats and bed coverings.

The Ahantchuyuks witnessed the activities of the Methodist and Roman Catholic missionaries who competed for their souls when the two religious bodies established missions in their lands in 1834 and 1839. In 1841 the Ahantchuyuks were urged to send their children to the Indian Manual Labor Training School that the Methodists had opened at Chemeketa (later Salem) after they abandoned their initial Willamette mission station.

The Ahantchuyuks realized that the formation of the Oregon provisional government in 1843 presaged a flood of settlers into their homeland. Ironically, they facilitated the occupation of their territory when they signed a treaty on January 4, 1855 (10 Stat. 1143, ratified March 3, 1855), with Oregon superintendent of Indian affairs Joel Palmer, which required their removal to a reservation. Having surrendered their lands, they had little choice other than to relocate west to the Grand Ronde Reservation, established on the west side of the Coast Range in the Yamhill River watershed.

The Ahantchuyuks numbered an estimated two hundred or more in 1780.

Suggested Readings:

Lloyd Collins, "The Cultural Position of the Kalapuya in the Pacific Northwest," master's thesis, University of Oregon, 1951; Harold Mackey, The Kalapuyans: A Sourcebook on the Indians of the Willamette Valley (Salem, Ore.: Mission Mill Museum Association, 1974).



The name "Alsea," or "Alcea," is derived from Alsi, or Alse, the significance of which is unknown. With the Siletz and Yaquina tribes, the Alseas were sometimes called Southern Tillamooks because they had been erroneously identified in this way by Oregon superintendent of Indian affairs Joel Palmer when he negotiated a treaty with them in 1855, calling them the Alcea Band of Tillamooks. The name "Tillamook," which is sometimes applied to the Alseas, is thus a misnomer, although the Siletzes spoke a Tillamook dialect of the Salish language. Nearly a score of Alsea village sites have been identified on the Alsea River, Alsea Bay, and at nearby locations along the central Oregon coast. The name Alsea has also been assigned to a town and to an Indian reservation.

Peoples of the Yakonan linguistic stock to which the Alseas belonged totaled an estimated six thousand in 1780. The approximate number of Yakonan speakers fell sharply over the generations: to twenty-nine in 1910 and to nine in 1930.

The Alseas hunted seals and sea lions for meat and also netted salmon. Like other Indians, they coordinated food gathering with spiritual activities. Calling on animal spirits as well as other powers in nature, their shamans used their powers to promote good salmon runs. The Alseas journeyed into the Coast Range to supplement their diet with camas roots. For cooking they preferred vessels of alder and maple. Before their way of life was altered by outsiders, they flattened the heads of their infants and placed their dead in canoes at lonely points of land jutting into estuaries.

When the American trader Robert Gray sailed off the Oregon coast in 1788, the Alseas presented themselves to him and his crew in what they interpreted to be a military posture, dressed in cuirasses and allegedly shaking their spears. That they kept beyond the range of the guns on Gray's ship indicates that they possibly had had some previous unfortunate encounter with maritime visitors. By the 1820s they were trading with crewmen of the ships of the Hudson's Bay Company along their coasts.

With other western Oregon tribes, the Alseas met with Superintendent Palmer, who on August 11, 1855, negotiated a never-ratified treaty with them for their lands. Consequently, the Alseas were destined for a reservation along the coast, the southern portion of which bore their name. Nearly a century later, their descendants, along with those of other western Oregon tribes, sued the United States for compensation for lands taken from the Coast Reservation by executive order on December 21, 1865, and by an act of Congress on March 3, 1875 (Case No. 45320). On April 2, 1945, a ruling by the U.S. Court of Claims was appealed by the Justice Department to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the decision of the Court of Claims on November 25, 1946. With the Siletzes, the Yaquinas, and the Neschesnes, the Alseas shared a $1,327,399.20 award. For the Alsea claims against the United States for the lands taken, seeYaquinaandAlsea Tribes of the Alsea Reservation.

Suggested Readings:

Stephen Dow Beckham, The Indians of Western Oregon, This Land Was Theirs (Coos Bay, Ore.: Arago Books, 1977); Livingston Farrand, "Notes on the Alsea Indians," American Anthropologist, 2 (1901): 239–47; Leo J. Frachtenberg, Alsea Texts and Myths, Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin no. 67 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1920).


The Alsea Tribes of the Alsea Reservation (occasionally referred to as the Yachats Reservation) comprise Hanis and Miluk Coos, Kuitsh (Lower Umpquas), and Siuslaws. In 1859 and 1860, they were removed from their southwestern Oregon homelands to the southern part of the Coast Reservation, later called the Siletz. In 1865 the Siletz Reservation was divided into two parts by the withdrawal of a strip of land around Yaquina Bay. Those Indians in the southern part became known as the Alsea Tribes of the Alsea Reservation. For the history of their reservation, seeConfederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. Most of the descendants of the Indians composing the Alsea Tribes of the Alsea Reservation live in and around Coos Bay, Oregon; seeCoos Tribe of Indians; Miluk Coos; Hanis Coos; Kuitsh;andAlsea.

Suggested Readings:

Stephen Dow Beckham, The Indians of Western Oregon, This Land Was Theirs (Coos Bay, Ore., Arago Books, 1977); E. A. Schwartz, "Sick Hearts: Indian Removal on the Oregon Coast, 1875–1881," Oregon Historical Quarterly 92, no. 3 (1991); William R. Seaburg, "An Alsea Personal Narrative and Its Historical Context," Western Folklore 51, nos. 3–4 (1992).



The name "Atfalati" was sometimes shortened to Fallatah or Tfalati. The Atfalati people were also commonly known as the Tualatin or Wapato Lake Indians. They spoke the Tualatin dialect of the Tualatin-Yamhill language, one of three Kalapuyan languages. They lived in about twenty-four villages on what are now the Tualatin Plains of northwestern Oregon as well as in the hills around Forest Grove, along the shores and in the vicinity of Wapato Lake, along the north fork of the Yamhill River, and possibly at the townsite of Portland. Southwest of Portland, a town, a valley, and a river bear the name "Tualatin," which is said to mean "a land without trees" and "slow and sluggish."

As was true of other Kalapuyans, the lifestyle of the Atfalati was disrupted by non-Indians who entered their lands early in the nineteenth century. In precontact times they were fond of adornment and fancy attire and wore red feathers on their heads; long beads and bright dentalia were suspended from their pierced noses. Both sexes cut holes in their earlobes from which beads were hung. They also flattened the heads of their infants more severely than the Indians south of them did, and they raised fewer horses than the peoples east of the Cascade Mountains. Their slaves sometimes purchased their freedom with horses. The Atfalatis lived in rectangular houses containing several families. By the 1830s they had begun to clothe themselves in the manner of EuroAmericans, whose influence extended to other areas besides dress. The outsiders disturbed Indian root and hunting grounds and forced the Natives to follow EuroAmerican legal codes. Permanent Atfalati villages came to consist of little more than crude plank houses covered with dirt and bark. Contributing greatly to the changes in Atfalati culture was the decrease in their population that was precipitated by smallpox epidemics in 1782 and 1783 and by the intermittent fever that raged in the 1830s. As a consequence, the tribe was diminished in its ability to resist white encroachments.

As the Willamette watershed rapidly filled with newcomers, the Atfalatis and other Kalapuyan speakers met with American officials who were seeking to secure title to Indian lands. In a never-ratified treaty with Oregon superintendent of Indian affairs Anson Dart on April 19, 1851, the Atfalatis ceded their lands in return for a small reservation at Wapato Lake. This cession definitely reduced their homeland but it was far better than their removal east of the Cascade Mountains, as had first been demanded. Besides the reservation, they were to receive money, clothing, blankets, tools, a few rifles, and a horse for each of their headmen—Kiacut, La Medicine, and Knolah.

At the time of the treaty, the tribe numbered sixty-five persons. Under continuing pressure to relocate, they and other Kalapuyan speakers were asked to renegotiate with the government, this time with Joel Palmer, Dart's successor. Through a treaty dated January 4, 1855 (10 Stat. 1143, ratified March 3, 1855), they were to live in the Willamette Valley until a suitable reservation was designated as their permanent home. They agreed to remove to a reservation once the government provided one. From an American perspective, Palmer's benevolent influence was seen in the treaty's provisions for medical care and help for the Indians in farming and other activities. Palmer believed the Atfalatis to be one of the most influential Indian groups in the Willamette Valley. How many remained to integrate with the white community is unknown. An 1870 census cited sixty living on the Grand Ronde reservation, the permanent home assigned them by the government. The census of 1910 enumerated but forty-four persons. A publication of the Smithsonian Institution in 1914 listed only one survivor, and he was living on the Yakama Reservation in Washington. How he came to be there is not known.

Suggested Readings:

Stephen Dow Beckham, The Indians of Western Oregon, This Land Was Theirs (Coos Bay, Ore.: Arago Books, 1977); S. A. Clarke, Pioneer Days of Oregon History (Portland, Ore., J. K. Gill, 1905); Leo J. Frachtenberg, "Ethnological Researches among the Kalapuya Indians," Smithsonian Institution, Miscellaneous Collections 65, no. 6 (1916); John Adam Hussey, Champoeg: Place of Transition (Portland: Oregon Historical Society, 1967); Melville Jacobs, "Kalapuya Texts," University of Washington Publications in Anthropology 13 (1945); Harold Mackey, The Kalapuyans: A Sourcebook on the Indians of the Willamette Valley (Salem, Ore.: Mission Mill Museum Association, 1974); W. W. Oglesby, "The Calapooyas Indians" (188?), Mss. P-A 82, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley; James L. Ratcliff, "What Happened to the Kalapuya? A Study of the Depletion of Their Economic Base," The Indian Historian 6, no. 3 (Summer 1973).


(Shoshonean of Uto-Aztecan)

The modern name "Bannock" derives from the tribe's own name of Banakwut. By early-nineteenth-century fur men and others, the Bannocks were also called "the Robbers." They were mistakenly called Snake Indians (a reference given by non-Indians to the Shoshones) because they were closely associated with the Shoshones and because they belonged to the same linguistic family. The name Bannock has been applied in Idaho to a river, a mountain range, and a county. A small community in Montana also bears the name Bannack.

The Bannock Indians were, in fact, a branch of the Northern Paiutes. They left their homelands in present-day southeastern Oregon in the eighteenth century after they had acquired horses and moved to south-central Idaho, where they associated with the Pohogwes, a branch of the Northern Shoshones, and adopted traits of horse culture. Horses enabled them to range into present-day southern Montana and western Wyoming and into the Salmon River country of Idaho. Exposed to the Indian cultures of the Great Plains, to which they traveled with their Shoshone allies to hunt buffalo, they exchanged their sagebrush and willow clothing for the skins worn by Plains Indians. They also exchanged their permanent pole-supported conical lodges of bundled grass, bark, and tule mats for skin-covered tipis. With horses at their disposal, Bannock rudimentary family units coalesced into larger groups as a means of coping with emergencies that arose on the Great Plains. Their chiefs came to be chosen for their aggressiveness and military prowess.

Estimates of the Bannock population by nineteenth-century observers are tenuous because the projections often included other allied Shoshonean peoples. In 1845 the Bannocks were said to number about 1,000 and in the late 1850s about 400 to 500. In 1870 they were placed at roughly 600 to 800; in 1901, 513; in 1910, 413 (of whom all but 50 lived in Idaho); in 1930, 415 (of whom 313 lived in Idaho); and, in 1937, 342.

In early January 1814, under a chief called The Horse, the Bannocks destroyed the Astorian fur post commanded by John Reed on the lower Boise River. The Horse led his people on other expeditions against white fur traders and their outposts until at least 1832. After that, Le Grand Coquin became the Bannocks' head chief. In 1843, during his chieftaincy, Fort Hall was constructed as a fur post by the American trader Nathaniel Wyeth near the mouth of the Portneuf River above Idaho's American Falls. The post was later sold to the Hudson's Bay Company. On October 14, 1863, Le Grand Coquin, with the Eastern Shoshones under their chief Washakie, signed the never-ratified treaty of Soda Springs, Idaho. The Bannock chief Tahgee (or Taghee) also touched the pen to the treaty for his people, who agreed to allow Americans to pass peacefully through their lands. Bannock woman. With the acquisition of horses, Bannocks traveled in present-day south-central Idaho and as far as the Great Plains. Bannock clothing and attire are indicative of the Plains influence.


Excerpted from A Guide to the Indian Tribes of the Pacific Northwest by Robert H. Ruby, John A. Brown, Cary C. Collins. Copyright © 2010 University of Oklahoma Press. Excerpted by permission of UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA PRESS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Foreword, by Clifford E. Trafzer,
Preface to the First Edition,
Preface to the Third Edition,
Pronunciations of Pacific Northwest Tribal Names, by M. Dale Kinkade and Sean O'Neill,
The Indian Tribes,
Alsea Tribes of the Alsea Reservation,
Burns Paiute Tribe,
Clatsop-Nehalem Confederated Tribes,
Coeur d'Alene,
Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Coeur d'Alene Reservation,
Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation,
Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation,
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation,
Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians,
Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community,
Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians,
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation,
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs,
Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation,
Coos Tribe of Indians,
Coquille Indian Tribe,
Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians,
Hanis Coos,
Jamestown S'Klallam Indian Tribe,
Kalispel Tribe of Indians,
Klamath Tribes,
Klamath and Modoc Tribes and Yahooskin Band of Snake Indians,
Kootenai Tribe of Idaho,
Lower Chehalis,
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe,
Lower Skagit,
Lummi Tribe of Indians,
Miluk Coos,
Mitchell Bay,
Muckleshoot Tribe, Muckleshoot Reservation,
Nez Perce,
Northern Paiute,
Pend d'Oreille,
Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, Port Gamble Reservation,
San Juan Tribe of Indians,
Shoalwater Bay Tribe, Shoalwater Bay Reservation,
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation,
Skokomish Tribe, Skokomish Reservation,
Squaxin Island,
Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians,
Suquamish Tribe, Port Madison Reservation,
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Swinomish Reservation,
Tulalip Tribes of the Tulalip Reservation,
Upper Skagit,
Upper Umpqua,
Walla Walla,
Willamette Valley Confederated Tribes,
Historic Indian Tribes of the Pacific Northwest,
Tribal Reservations and Tribal Council Addresses,
Early Indian Missions of the Pacific Northwest,
Early Fur and Military Posts and Camps,
Language Families of the Pacific Northwest Tribes,

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