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Klickitat Indians

Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Native American,Washington | No Comments

Klickitat Indians. From a Chinook term meaning “beyond” and having reference to the Cascade Mountains.

Also called:

  • Awi-adshi, Molala name.
  • Lûk’-a-tatt, Puyallup name.
  • Máhane, Umpqua name.
  • Mǐ-Çlauq’-tcu-wûn’-ti, Alsea name, meaning “scalpers.”
  • Mûn-an’-né-qu’ tûnnĕ, Naltunnetunne name, meaning “inland people.”
  • Qwû‘lh-hwai-pûm, own name, meaning “prairie people.”
  • Tlakäï‘tat, Okanagon name.
  • Tsĕ la’kayāt amím, Kalapuya name.
  • T!uwānxa-ikc, Clatsop name.
  • Wahnookt, Cowlitz name.

Klickitat Connections: The Klickitat belonged to the Shahaptian division of the Shapwailutan linguistic family.

Klickitat Villages

Possibly the Atanum or Atanumlema should be added to the Klickitat. Mooney (1928) reports that their language was distinct from, though related to, both Klickitat and Yakima.

 The following villages are mentioned:

  • Itkilak or Ithlkilak, at White Salmon Landing, which they occupied jointly with the Chilluckquittequaw.
  • Nanshuit (occupied jointly with the Chilluckquittequaw), at Underwood.
  • Shgwaliksh, not far below Memaloose Island.
  • Tgasgutcu (occupied jointly with the Chilluckquittequaw), said to be about 34 mile west of a long high mountain opposite Mosier, Oreg., and about 1 mile above White Salmon Landing but the exact location seems to be in doubt. Wiltkun (exact location unknown).

Klickitat History: The original home of the Klickitat was somewhere south of the Columbia, and they invaded their later territory after the Yakima crossed the river. In 1805 Lewis and Clark found them wintering on Yakima and Klickitat Rivers. Taking advantage of the weakness of the Willamette tribes following upon an epidemic of fever between 1820 and 1830, the Klickitat crossed the Columbia and forced their way as far south as the valley of the Umpqua but were soon compelled to retire to their old seats. They were active and enterprising traders, profiting by their favorable location to become middlemen between the coast tribes and those living east of the Cascades. They joined in the Yakima treaty at Camp Stevens, June 9, 1855, by which they ceded their lands to the United States, and most of them settled upon the Yakima Reservation.

Klickitat Population: Mooney (1928) estimated that the Klickitat, including the Taitinapam, numbered 600 in 1780. In 1805 Lewis and Clark placed their total population at about 700. The census of 1910 returned 405

Connection in which the Klickitat Indians have become noted: The Klickitat were early distinguished from other tribes of central Washington owing to their propensity for trading. The name is perpetuated in that of a small affluent of the Columbia and in the name of the county, and a post village in the county.


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