Oregon Pioneers -- "Northwest Indians"

Lady Jane, January 21 2013

Celilo Falls near The Dalles in Oregon.Celilo Falls on the Columbia River was a prized fishing ground for millennia

Another American history site worth recommending is Oregon Pioneers, which has a multitude of information on the settlement of Oregon in the mid-1800s. For a researcher or someone with family ties to the migration, there is also an extensive list of pioneers by name and year.

Another section of this site covers the American Indian tribes1 of the Northwest, which were numerous. Below are just a few:

  • Chinook - The Chinook were located on the coast near the estuary of the Colombia River. They were a settled people who lived in long houses and had a rather stratified society. They also had a system of slavery amongst the unfortunate people who they captured. The Clatsop, Nehalem, and Tillamook were related to the Chinook.
  • Paiute - Also known as the Shoshone, this tribe was nomadic and lived in the arid regions of southeast Oregon. Their reputation seems to be that of a fierce, upright people.
  • Klickitat - Shahaptian was a common language of the Klikitat, Nez Perce, Palouse, Tenino, Tygh, Umatilla, Wallawalla and Yakama. All of these tribes lived along the Columbia River plateau that forms in northeastern Oregon and Washington, as well as in the west of Idaho. They were adept at hunting and fishing and traveled around a large area depending on the season. Celilo Falls near The Dalles was a favored location for catching salmon.
  • Klamath - The Klamath lived in southern Oregon and in the far north of California. The Klamath were once subordinate to an entity known as the Lutuamian Nation. In a dispute about their tribute they rebelled and were able to defend themselves from attack. The Lutuamian Nation then dissolved and split into distinct tribes, including the Modoc.

For more details about the food, lodging, languages, and customs of these tribes see the Northwest Indians page on Oregon Pioneers. This award-winning site was created by Stephenie Flora.

1 - Per Oregon Pioneers, "The term most often heard when describing groups of indians is "tribe". However, it is important to note that the tribes are part of a larger grouping known today as Confederated Tribes. Within the tribes it was broken down into individual "bands" and within the bands it was divided into family groups."

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