Washington State Native American Tribes

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Washington contains more than 20 Native American reservations, including one of the largest in the country, belonging to the Yakima peoples. Native American groups comprise 1.7 percent of the population of Washington State.

Learn more about:

Washington State Native Americans.

Tribal Events

What's in a name?


 

Cayuse The Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla Tribes make up the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. For over 10,000 years, we have lived on the Columbia River Plateau. Specifically, our homeland is the area now known as northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington

Umatilla Indian Nation


Chehalis Located along the Chehalis River in Lewis County,the Chehalis tribe used the river as their primary trading route.In 1855, 5000 Chehalis lived along the Chehalis River. Today the majority of the tribe live on the Chehalis Reservation near Grays Harbor.

Chehalis History      Economic History


Chinook The most important tribe of the Chinookian linguistic family, formerly living along the Columbia River on the Pacific coast. Nearly extinct today, the Chinook numbered about 16,000 in the early 1800s. They were noted as traders, salmon fishers, and hunters. Other tribes from as far away as the Great Plains traded their articles for the Chinooks' dried salmon, seashells, and slaves. A simple Chinook language—called Chinook jargon—was known to traders from Alaska to California. Although some early-19th century visitors grouped all of the Indians of the lower Columbia River together as Chinook, most observers before 1850 described the Chinook as a tribe or band which was separate from the Clatsop, Wahkiakum, and Kathlamet bands along that part of the Columbia.

Language


Colville Sprawling across more than 1,000,000 acres (AID, 38) or 2,300 square miles of northeast Washington State is the Colville Reservation - that is larger than the state of Rhode Island. The reservation is named after Fort Colville, a British outpost established in the 1820s. ("Who are the Colville Indians, Colville Tribal Museum, Grand Coulee, WA). It was established as a reservation in 1872 by Executive Order of President Ulysses S. Grant, but was not fully populated until the 1880s.

Colville History


Cowlitz Name for the Indian nation and the river drainage which is the aboriginal home of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe located in the interior southwest of what is now the State of Washington. The Cowlitz are a Salish language speaking people. The tribe of 2000 members incorporates four historical divisions which contribute to the rich cultural heritage of the people.

Cowlitz Tribe


Duwamish  The city of Seattle is named the settlement Seattle after the friendly chief of the Duwamish Indians- Chief Sealth. This tribe fished and hunted on the shores of Elliott Bay and Puget Sound. Seattle and the Suquamish-Duwamish people had moved -- after the signing of the treaty -- to a reservation across Puget sound from the city later named after him, on the east shore of Bainbridge Island. Today -- its landbase diminishd as usual -- it is the Port Madison Suquamish Reservation.

Chief Sealth   Renton Museum


Hoh Tribe  On the coast of Washington near Forks, this tribe subsisted on the fish and berries of the forest.  See credits for pictures of members of the Wolf Clan of the Hoh Tribe.


Klallam  The Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal offices are located in Blyn, Washington at the head of Sequim Bay (approximately 6 miles southeast of the city of Sequim). The Tribe has 375 enrolled Tribal members. The S'Klallam Tribe, whose name means the "Strong People," belong to a Salish cultural and linguistic group related to British Columbia Tribes as well as to most Tribes in the Puget Sound area.

Klallam History      Klallam Tribe


Kalispel  The Kalispel Tribe of Washington is located in the northeast corner of the state.

Kalispel Tribe      Online Resources  Catholic Encyclopedia

 


Lower Elwha Klallam This tribe lives on the 572-acre Lower Elwha reservation which is located six miles (10km) west of the city of Port Angeles at the mouth of the Elwha River. As members of the Klallam tribe, the Lower Elwha many villages dotted the Strait of Juan de Fuca along the northern coast of present-day Washington State, neighboring the Makah lands in the west and the Skokomish tribe
of Puget Sound in the east.

Location      History    Tribal Page


Lummi The Lummis, a strong and enduring Salish tribe, once inhabited the San Juan Islands, but now resides on the Lummi Reservation West of Bellingham.The local Lummi, Semiahmoo and Nooksack Indians utilized resources of Puget Sound and local rivers, as well as materials of Western Washington forests, to fulfill their basic needs and for the development of their sophisticated culture. They lived in substantial wooden houses of permanent cedar frames covered with hand-split cedar planks. They traveled in dugout canoes on the open waters of the rivers and sound. They harvested fish, shellfish and wild plants and animals to provide them a good living from their Northwest homeland. Populations were never large, probably less than 3000 people.

Games       History



Makah  The "Kwih-dich-chuh-ahtx" or "people who live by the rocks and seagulls". The name "Makah", which was given to us by our neighboring tribes, means "Generous with food". The Makah have lived at the most northwestern point in what is now the contiguous United States since the beginning of time. For thousands of years they have hunted whales and seals, and fished in the great waters which cradle our home.

Makah Tribal Council    


Muckleshoot  Located in King County, Washington, the same county that claims Seattle as its biggest city, is the 1,275 acre (NAA, 285) Muckleshoot Reservation, the home of the Muckleshoot Indian Nation. The Muckleshoot, like many of the tribes found in western Washington State, are members of the Coastal Salish family of nations. These people made a living in the far west for over a thousand years relying upon the vast number of salmon that filled the rivers far beyond the needs of the local inhabitants.

Tribal Council   Muckleshoot Library   Tribal Flag


Nez Perce Indians of the Plateau, the Nez Perce are famous for the Apaloosa horse and made warring forays into other tribal territory.  The Nez Perce territory was approximately 17 million acres. This covered portions of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. The Nez Perce would travel with the seasons. The seasons would guide the Nez Perce where to locate foods. At times, they would go as far east as the Great Plains to hunt buffalo and fish for salmon at Celilo Falls on the Columbia River. The Nez Perce were well known to breed the Appaloosa horse.

Nez Perce History  Spalding-Allen Collection


Nisqually For generations the Nisqually Indian people lived and thrived in the Nisqually River Basin of Puget Sound. They occupied the entire watershed from its marine waters to the foothills of the great mountain they called Ta-co-bet. During summer and early fall they ranged upriver to hunt the deer, elk and bear and gather huckleberries. From the early spring runs to the late winter catches, they netted salmon, their most basic food item. Last but not least, the sandy saltwater beaches of lower Puget Sound provided the Nisquallies with seasonal clams and oysters.

Nisqually People


Nooksack The Nooksack Indians utilized resources of Puget Sound and local rivers, as well as materials of Western Washington forests, to fulfill their basic needs and for the development of their sophisticated culture. They lived in substantial wooden houses of permanent cedar frames covered with hand-split cedar planks. They traveled in dugout canoes on the open waters of the rivers and sound. They harvested fish, shellfish and wild plants and animals to provide them a good living from their Northwest homeland. Populations were never large, probably less than 3000 people.

Tribal Council   


Port Gamble S'Klallam The Nisqually, Squaxin Island, Chehalis, Shoalwater Bay and Skokomish - and the Port Gamble S'Klallam  tribes with a combined population of about 7,500, are mostly found in a four-county area of South Puget Sound.


Puyallup a tribe in Pierce County, Washington, derives its name from the Lushootseed term for "curving or winding river"

River Map


Quileute The tribal lands on the Olympic Peninsula near La Push, Washington, overlook the Pacific Ocean about 40 miles (64km) south of Cape Flattery,the state's most northwesterly tip, home of the Makah. The islands, A-KA-Lat, or James Island and Little James Island, are a central focus ofthe village, lying just offshore of the ocean at the mouth of the Quileute River. A-KA-Lat has one of the oldest village sites. The island was used a burial site for the chiefs and as fortress

History   Tribal School


Quinalt Located on the Olympic Peninsula,the western boundary of the Quinalt tribe is 28 miles of wide driftwood strewn beach on the Pacific Ocean while the easternmost angle encompasses beautiful Lane Quinault, home of the famed "Blueback" sockeye salmon. The Quinalt depend upon salmon fishing for a living.  Includes Quinault, Queets, Quilaeut, Hoh, Chehalis, Chinook, and Cowlitz tribal peoples

Quinault Tribe Constitution    Quinault Page     Quinault Story about Origin of the Salmon  Quinault Nation


Samish
Whatcom County was home to Northwest Coast Indians, the Lummi, Nooksack, Samish and Semiahmoo

NARF    


Sauk-Suiattle
 
Sauk-Suiattle Tribal Council

Shoalwater Bay The Nisqually, Squaxin Island, Chehalis, Shoalwater Bay and Skokomish - and the Port Gamble S'Klallam   tribes with a combined population of about 7,500, are mostly found in a four-county area of South Puget Sound.

Tribal Council    Tribe      Chinook


Skokomish   The Nisqually, Squaxin Island, Chehalis, Shoalwater Bay and Skokomish - and the Port Gamble S'Klallam  tribes with a combined population of about 7,500, are mostly found in a four-county area of South Puget Sound.

Skokomish Tribal Council


Snohomish Snohomish County was inhabited by Native Americans long before the advent of white exploration and settlement. The area had two principal tribes - the Snohomish (who inhabited western Snohomish County as well as parts of Skagit and Island counties) and the Snoqualmie

 


Snoqualmie Snohomish County was inhabited by Native Americans long before the advent of white exploration and settlement. The area had two principal tribes - the Snohomish (who inhabited western Snohomish County as well as parts of Skagit and Island counties) and the Snoqualmie. Snoqualmies resided in 96 long houses in 14 permanent winter villages. With 30 to 40 people in each, the population could have been 3,000 to 4,000 -one of the largest Puget Sound tribes.

Timeline


Spokane The Spokane Indians are of the Interior Salish group which has inhabited northeastern Washington, northern Idaho, and western Montana for centuries. The native language spoken by the Spokanes is common to other Salish tribes with only a slight variation in dialect. Generally speaking, the Spokanes can converse easily in their native tongue with the Kalispels, Coeur d' Alenes, and Flatheads.

History       Spokane Tribe  Spokane Myth   


Squaxin Island  The Nisqually, Squaxin Island, Chehalis, Shoalwater Bay and Skokomish - and the Port Gamble S'Klallam  tribes with a combined population of about 7,500, are mostly found in a four-county area of South Puget Sound.


Steilacoom

 

Tribal Museum


Stillaguamish Located near Arlington.

Museum


Suquamish

Suquamish Tribal Council


Swinomish Located in LaConner,this fishing tribe


Tulalip Members of the Snohomish tribe, the Tulalips are located near Marysville. The Tulalip depended on salmon for food and


Upper Skagit Located in the Skagit Valley,this tribe re

Language   Stories


Walla Walla  The Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla Tribes make up the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. For over 10,000 years, we have lived on the Columbia River Plateau. Specifically, our homeland is the area now known as northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington.

Umatilla Indian Nation


Yakima  Indians of the Plateau, the Yakima used horses for transportation as they travelled the land from the Cascade mountains to the Columbia River. The Yakima Nation consisted of several tribes (Klickitat,Palouse, Pisquouse, Yakama, Wenatchapa, Klinquit and others). Located in southwestern Washington State is the 1,130,000 acres

Yakima Tribal Council      Yakima Nation Museum   Yakima Flag 


Official List of Washington Tribes (BIA)

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