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Modoc Indians

Modoc Indians. From M6atokni, meaning “southerners.” Also called:

Modoc Connections. With the Klamath, the Modoc constituted the Lutuamian division of the Shapwailutan linguistic stock.

Modoc Location. On Little Klamath Lake, Modoc Lake, Tule Lake, Lost River Valley, and Clear Lake, extending at times as far east as Goose Lake.

Modoc Subdivisions. The most important bands of the Modoc are said to have been at Little Klamath Lake, Tule Lake, and in the valley of Lost River.

Modoc Villages

Modoc History

The Modoc came into contact with the Whites in comparatively late times, and acquired an unfortunate reputation from frequent conflicts with white immigrants in which atrocities were committed on both sides. In 1864 the Modoc and the Klamath together ceded their territory to the United States and retired to Klamath Reservation, but they were never contented there and made persistent efforts to return to their old country. Finally, in 1870, a chief named Kintpuash, better known to the Whites as Captain Jack, led the more turbulent element of the tribe back to the California border and refused to return. The first attempt to bring the runaways back precipitated the Modoc War of 1872-73. The Modoc retreated to the lava beds of northern California and for several months resisted all attempts to dislodge them, but they were finally overcome and Kintpuash and five other leaders hanged in October of that year. Part of the tribe was then sent to Indian Territory and placed on the Quapaw Reservation and the remainder on the Klamath Reservation.

Modoc Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that there were 400 Modoc in 1780, but Kroeber (1925), with whom Spier (1930) seems to concur, allows twice as many. In 1905 there were 56 on the Quapaw Reservation and 223 on the Klamath Reservation. The census of 1910 returned 282, of whom 212 were in Oregon, 33 in Oklahoma, 20 in California, and the remainder scattered among 5 other States. In 1930 31 were in Oklahoma. (See Klamath Indians) In 1937, 329 were reported.

Connections in which the Modoc Indians have become noted. The chief claim of the Modoc to remembrance is on account of the remarkable defensive war they maintained in the lava beds of California, as above stated. A California county is named for them and places called Modoc are to be found in Phillips County, Ark.; in Emanuel County, Ga.; in Louisiana; in Ohio; and in McCormick County, S. C.; Randolph County, Ill.; and Randolph County, Ind.; also in the name of Modoc Point, Oreg.; in Scott County, Kans.; and in the name of the Modoc Lava Beds, Calif.