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Indians of Washington

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Learn about the tribes and bands, state recognized tribes, agencies, records and reservation of the Indians of Washington.

To learn how to get started with American Indian research, find research facilities, and American Indian websites click here.

Tribes and Bands of Washington[edit | edit source]

Many tribes and bands of Indians have historically resided in the Pacific Northwest. Many of them signed treaties with the United States government and ceded claims to land. A maps of some of these land cessions is available online. The following list of American Indians who have lived in Washington has been compiled from Hodge's Handbook of American Indians...[1] and from Swanton's The Indian Tribes of North America[2]. Some may simply be variant spellings for the same tribe. A map of the current Federally-Recognized Tribes of Washington State is available online.

Tribes: Chathlamet, Cathlapotle, Cayuse, Chehalis, Chelan, Chilluckittequaw, Chinook, Clackamas,Clallam,Clallum, Columbia, Coeur d'AleneColville, Copalis, Cowlitz, Duwamish, Hoh, Humptulip, Kalispel, Klickitat, Kwaiailk, Kwalhioqua,   Lummi, Makah,Methow, Mical, Muckleshoot, Neketemeuk, Nespelem, Nez Perce, Nisqually, Nooksack, Ntlayapamuk, Okanagon, Ozette,Palouse, Pshwanwapam, Puyallup, Queets or Quitso, Quileute, Quinault,Sahehwamish, Salish, Samish, Sanpoil, Satsop, Semiahmoo, Senijextee, Shoalwater Bay, Sinkaietk, Sinkakaius,Skagit,Sinkiuse-Columbia, Skilloot, Skin, Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Spokane, Squaxin or Squakson, Suquamish, Stillaguamish, Swinomish,Taidnapam, Tulalip, Twana, Upper Skagit, Walla Walla, Wanapam, Watlala, Wauyukma, Wenatchee, Wishram, Wynoochee, Yakama

Confederated Tribes: Colville, Okanagan, Lakees, San Poil, Methow, Nespelem, Entiat, Wenatchee, Moses, Nez Perce, and Palouse

Indian Tribes of Washington Territory. by George Gibbs. FHL Collection WorldCat

Indians in Washington:Indian Tribes and Reservations in Washington. by Victor A. Meyers. FHL book 907.1 M576i WorldCat

Washington State Recognized Tribes[edit | edit source]

Chinook Indian Tribe of Oregon and Washington, Inc. (also known as Chinook Nation)

Agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs[edit | edit source]

Agencies and sub-agencies were created as administrative offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its predecessors. Their purpose was (and is) to manage Indian affairs with the tribes, to enforce policies, and to assist in maintaining the peace. The names and location of these agencies may have changed, but their purpose remained basically the same. Many of the records of genealogical value were created by these offices.

The following list of agencies that have operated or now exist in Washington has been compiled from Hill's Office of Indian Affairs...[3], Hill's Guide to Records in the National Archives Relating to American Indians[4], and others.

Records[edit | edit source]

The majority of records of individuals were those created by the agencies. Some records may be available to tribal members through the tribal headquarters.They were (and are) the local office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and were charged with maintaining records of the activities of those under their responsibility. Among these records are:

Allotment Records[edit | edit source]

Allotted Tribes of Washington

•Chehalis, Columbia, Colville Reservation, Kalispel Reservation, Klickitat, Lummi, Makah, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Port Madison, Puyallup, Quileute, Quinault, Skokomish Reservation, Spokane, Squaxin Reservation, Swinomish, Snohomish (Tulalip) Yakima •Colville

Enrollment Records[edit | edit source]

Enrollment Records

United States Office of Indiana Affairs, Application for Enrollment and Allotment of Washington Indians, 1911-1919. M1343. FHL films 1605469(first of 6)

Roll of Certain Indian Tribes in Oregon and Washington. by Charles E. McChesney and Glen Cameron Adams. Fairfield, Washington: Ye Galleon Press, c. 1969. FHL book 970.1 RR659 WorldCat

Indian Schools[edit | edit source]

The Office of Indian Affairs (now the Bureau of Indian Affairs) established a network of schools throughout the United States, beginning with Carlisle Indian School, established in 1879. Some of these schools were day schools, usually focusing on Indian children of a single tribe or reservation. Some were boarding schools which served Indian children from a number of tribes and reservations.

In addition, other groups such as various church denominations established schools specifically focusing on American Indian children. (read more...)

The following list of Indian Schools in Washington has been compiled from Hill's Office of Indian Affairs...[5], Hill's Guide to Records in the National Archives Relating to American Indians[6], and others.

Indian Health Facilities[edit | edit source]

Family History Library[edit | edit source]

  • A wealth of genealogical information is available for the various Indian tribes in Washington. Besides published histories, the Family History Library has microfilm copies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) records of births, marriages, deaths, censuses, schools, land allotments, heirships, and family records. They are available from about 1887 to 1952 from agencies such as the Colville, Puyallup, Taholah, Tulalip, and Yakama. The original documents are at the National Archives—Pacific Northwest Region (Seattle).

See also the FamilySearch Catalog for over 300 titles Washington Native Races

  • An especially useful source is the collection, Family Index Cards, 1938-1950, created by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Portland Area Office FHL films 1028470 item 4 to 1028471
  • Records of American Indians are also listed in the Subject section of the FamilySearch Catalog under the names of the agency or tribe. Some of these tribes are the Nez Perce, Yakama, and Chinook.
  • Washington Superintendency records FHL films 1637277 (first of 26)
  • Portland Area Office - Census Information 1877-1952.
    • Census information 1888-1952 FHL film 1028458 Item 2
    • Census information 1877-1946 FHL film 1028459 Item 1

Reservations[edit | edit source]

Many of the reservations in Washington are small, with one agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs having responsibilities for the tribes residing on several reservations. Most of the records kept by the federal government about the tribes will be found in the appropriate agency.

From the mid-1800's, the official policy of the United States government toward the American Indian was to confine each tribe to a specific parcel of land called a reservation. Agencies were established on or near each reservation. A government representative, usually called an agent (or superintendent) was assigned to each agency. Their duties included maintaining the peace, making payments to the Native Americans based on the stipulations of the treaties with each tribe, and providing a means of communication between the native population and the federal government.

Sometimes, a single agency had jurisdiction over more than one reservation. And sometimes, if the tribal population and land area required it, an agency may have included sub-agencies.

The boundaries of reservations, over time, have changed. Usually, that means the reservations have been reduced in size. Sometimes, especially during the later policy of "termination," the official status of reservations was ended altogether.

For a current reservation map -Washington - Indian Reservations - The National Atlas of the United States of America. Federal Lands and Indian Reservations. by the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Geological Survey.

The following list of reservations has been compiled from the National Atlas of the United States of America[7], the Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America[8], and other sources. Other reservations have historically been associated with the state or are not currently recognized by the federal government.

Archives, Libraries, and Museums[edit | edit source]

Glenbow Archive, Library, and Museum

The Glenbow Archives and Library, has an excellent collection of resources for the study of Métis genealogy. Their sources cover predominantly Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and some parts of the Northwest Territories, Ontario, and British Columbia.

Most of our sources pertain to people who were living in the Prairie Provinces in 1900 or earlier.

One unique collection is the Gail Morin who donated her 40,000 name data base to the archive in 2011. The data base is ancestral quest format and all in families with sources.

Contact: Glenbow Archives
130 - 9 Avenue
SE Calgary, Alberta T2G 0P3
Reference Desk telephone: 403-268-4204

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

See also American Indian For Further Reading.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington D.C.:Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #30 1907. Available online.
  2. Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online.
  3. Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches, Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc. 1974. FHL book 970.1 H551o
  4. Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981. FHL book 970.1 H551g
  5. Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches, Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc. 1974. FHL book 970.1 H551o
  6. Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981. FHL book 970.1 H551g
  7. National Atlas of the United States of America -- Federal Lands and Indian Reservations Available online.
  8. Isaacs. Katherine M., editor. Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America. U.S. Data Sourcebook, Volume 11 Appendices, Bureau of Indian Affairs List of American Indian Reservations, Appendix E, Indian Reservations. Omnigraphics, Inc., 1991.

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