Iman family notes







Chinook Tribes

"CHINOOKIAN A small family of Indians inhabiting the lower Columbia River in Washington and Oregon as far up that river as The Dalles. The Chinooks were primarily a bay and river people, dependent on fishing (salmon) as well as game. They lacked the developed woodcarving art of the west coast tribes of British Columbia and northern Washington, although often classified in the same cultural area. They have been classified as the Upper and Lower Chinook, referring to their location on the Columbia River. They were first noticed generally by Lewis and Clark in 1805, and afterwards were greatly diminished in numbers by diseases brought by white trades. The majority of the individual tribes forming this family became extinct as separate identities before 1900; but a few hundred have fused with other tribes on the Warm Springs, Yakima, Chehalis, Quinault and Grande Ronde Reservations in Washington and Oregon; the largest single element by 1950 were the Wasco at Warm Springs, Oregon. A few have maintained themselves off reservations.

"Before their decline in population the Chinookian tribes became the greatest traders on the Columbia River, a great water highway stretching from the area of the coastal tribes into the immense interior. Their geographical position at the mouth of that river up to The Dalles gave them the opportunity to become middlemen in the development of trade relationships between the coast and the interior. The development of the Chinook Jargon, an Indian trade language based originally on Chinook words but later incorporating an increasing vocabulary of European origin, bears witness to the importance of the Chinook tribes in pre-1840 trade relations. Contacts and trade took place largely on the Columbia River at Celilo or The Dalles, when material culture from the northern edge of the Plains mingled with and was exchanged for material from as far as Alaska. From there the Nez Perce were the main outlet to the northern Plains via their associations with the Crow and to a lesser extent the Flathead.

"THE 'LOWER CHINOOK': CHINOOK PROPER or LOWER CHINOOK A Chinookan tribe inhabiting the mouth of the Columbia River, giving their name to include tribes to the interior of similar language under the name Chinookian stock. Their territory extended to Shoalwater Bay in the north, and the tribe numbered 800 in 1800. They gained considerable fame through their trading with British and American companies, and the Chinook Jargon, a trade language of the northwest originally based on the Chinook language, existed until 1900. From Lewis and Clark, Nov. 1805: 'This Chinook nation is about 400 souls, inhabit the country on the small river which runs into bay below us and on the Ponds to the North West of us, live principally on fish and roots, they are well armed with fusees and sometimes kill Elk, Deer, and fowl.'

"Their few remnants mixed with the Chehalis or remained in public domain, and had almost disappeared as a separate people by 1945 when 120 'Upper Chinook' remained on the Quinault Reservation, Washington; although of mixed origin they included descendants of the Chinook proper. A few more have been associated with Shoalwater Bay and Chehalis reserves, and some have never been on reservations. In 1970 609 'Chinook' were reported, excluding Wasco, apparently accounting for the whole family. Two smaller groups, the Wahkiakum and Willapa Indians, probably belong to this group.

"CLATSOP An important coastal Chinookian tribe of the Cape Adams area, Clatsop County, Oregon. From Lewis and Clark, who estimated their population at 300, in 1806: 'The Clatsaps, Chinnooks, Killamucks etc. are very loquacious and inquisitive; they possess good memories and have repeated to us the name and capacities of the vessels etc. of the many trades and others who have visited the mouth of the river (Columbia); they are generally low in stature, proportionably small, reather lighter complected and much more illy formed then the Indians on the Missouri and those of our frontier; they were generally cheerfull but never gay. With us their conversation generally turns upon subjects of trade, smoking, eating and women. In common with other savage nations they make their women perform every species of domestic drudgery; their women are also compelled to gather roots and assist them in taking fish which articles form much the greater part of their subsistence; notwithstanding the servile manner in which they treat their women they pay much more respect to their judgement and opinions in many respects than most Indian nations.'

 "With the mixed remnants of the other ruined neighbouring tribes they moved to the Grande Ronde Reservation, Oregon. In 1910 they were reported as numbered 26 persons. The Clatsop are not now separately entered amongst the general Indian population of the Grande Ronde Agency, the population of which was about 700 in 1955, although most have lost their identity as Indians. In 1956 the Reservation and Indian people of Grande Ronde were no longer recognised, and the Reservation as such was terminated. However, they have recently been reactivated and have filed land claims against the U.S. Government.

"CATHLAMET A tribe forming a dialect division of the Chinookian stock near the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington, to a point up that river near the present city of Rainier on the south bank. In 1806 Lewis and Clark estimated them at 300: 'The Killaniucks, Clatsops, Chinooks, Cathlahmahs and Wac-ki-a-cums resemble each other as well as in their person and dress as in their habits and manners their complexion is not remarkable, being the usual copper brown of the most tribes in North America.' About 50 or 60 were reported in 1849. A remnant of the Cathlamet may have moved to the Yakima Reservation with the Wishram, or to the Quinault Reservation with the mixed Chinook-Chehalis, but as distinct groups they no longer exist."

"MULTNOMAH or WAPPATO A Chinookian tribe of the Sauvie Islands at the mouth of the Willamette River, Oregon. Remnants joined with related groups and lost separate identity; they were closely related to the Clackamas. Several bands can be attributed to this tribe.

"WATLALA (CASCADE INDIANS) A Chinookian tribe at the Cascades of the Columbia River and the Willamette River in Oregon. Remnants joined the Wishram and Wasco and lost separate identity. Related to the Clackamas.

"CLOWWEWALLA A Chinookian tribe of the Clackamas dialect, formerly living in Oregon on the Willamette River, a tributary of the Columbia. They have for many years been extinct as a separate people. The Cushooks, Chahcowahs, Willamette-Tumwater and others where divisions of this tribe. The last of this people were said to be on the Grande Ronde Reservation.

"CLACKAMAS A tribal division of the Chinook stock giving their name to a dialect group. They apparently moved to the Grande Ronde Reservation, Oregon, and remained separate until recently, being reported under this name in 1945-89. This may, however, be a combination of various Chinook remnants.

"CHILLUCKITTEQUAW A Chinookian tribe of Hood River on the south side of the Columbia, and on the north side of the Columbia in Klickitat and Skamania Counties, Washington, along the White Salmon River. A few remained separate as late as 1895, mixed with a few Tenino (Waiam) at Celilo Falls and Warm Springs."

"WASCO A Chinookian tribe of the inland branch, their closest relatives being the Wishram, living near the present The Dalles in Wasco County, Oregon, on the Columbia River. They were joined by the remnants of the Watlala and others and removed to the Warm Springs Reservation, where a portion still remain as a separate people. In 1910 they returned a number of 242 persons; 227 in 1937; and 260 in 1945. They are the only independently reported Chinook group today. The Dalles Indians, Wasco and Wascopan were divisions of this tribe."