Lutuamian Indians

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Lutuamian Family. A linguistic family consisting of two branches, the Klamath and the Modoc, residing in south west Oregon east of the Cascade range and along the California border. Their former boundary extended from the Cascades to the headwaters of Pit and McCloud rivers, thence east to Goose lake, thence north to lat. 44°, and thence west to the Cascades. The more permanent settlements of the of family were on the shores of Klamath lakes, Tule lake, and Lost river, the remainder of the territory which they claimed being hunting ground.  In 1864 both divisions of the family entered into a treaty with the United States whereby  ceded the greater part of their lands to the Government and were placed on Klamath Reservation in Oregon. It was an attempt on the part of the Modoc to return to their former seat on the California frontier that brought about the Modoc war of 1872-73. The climate and productions of their country were most favorable, edible roots and berries were plentiful, and the region abounded in game and fish. As a consequence the tribes were fairly sedentary and seem to have made no extensive migrations. They were not particularly warlike, though the Modoc had frequent struggles with the tribes to the south, and after the coming of the whites resisted the aggressions of the latter with persistence and fierceness.

Slavery seems to have been an institution of long standing, and the Modoc, assisted by the Klamath, made annual raids on the Indians of Pit river for the capture of slaves, whom they either retained for themselves or bartered with the Chinook of Columbia river. The habitations were formerly of logs, covered with mud and circular in shape, a type of building which is still occasionally seen on the reservation. The women were  noted as expert basket weavers. No trace of a clan or gentile system has been discovered among them. The family organization is a loose one and inheritance is in the male line. The language spoken by two divisions of the Lutuamian family is ordinarily called Klamath, and while there are dialectic differences between the speech of the Klamath proper and the Modoc the are so slight that they may be disregarded. The Lutuamian language is apparently entirely independent, though further study may disclose relationship with the Shahaptian.

For Further Study

The following articles and manuscripts will shed additional light on the Lutuamian as both an ethnological study, and as a people.

MLA Source Citation:

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. Web. 20 December 2014. - Last updated on Jan 2nd, 2012

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