Modoc Tribe

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Modoc Indians (from Móatokni, ‘southerners’). A Lutuamian tribe, forming the southern division of that stock, in south west Oregon. The Modoc language is practically the same as the Klamath, the dialectic differences being extremely slight. This linguistic identity would indicate that the local separation of the two tribes must have been comparatively recent and has never been complete. The former habitat of the Modoc included Little Klamath Lake, Modoc Lake, Tule Lake, Lost River Valley, and Clear Lake, and extended at times as far east as Goose Lake. The most important bands of the tribe were at Little Klamath Lake, Tule Lake, and in the Valley of Lost River. Frequent conflicts with white immigrants, in which both sides were guilty of many atrocities, have given the tribe an unfortunate reputation. In 1864 the Modoc joined the Klamath in ceding their territory to the United States and removed to Klamath Reservation. They seem never to have been contented, however, and made persistent efforts to return and occupy their former lands on Lost River and its vicinity. In 1870 a prominent chief named Kintpuash, commonly known to history as Captain Jack, led the more turbulent portion of the tribe back to the California border and obstinately refused to return to the reservation. The first attempt to bring back the runaways by force brought on the Modoc War of 1872-73. After some struggles Kintpuash and his band retreated to the lava-beds on the California frontier, and from January to April, 1873, successfully resisted the attempts of the troops to dislodge them. The progress of the war had been slow until April of that year, when two of the peace commissioners, who had been sent to treat with the renegades, were treacherously assassinated. In this act Kintpuash played the chief part. The campaign was then pushed with vigor, the Modoc were finally dispersed and captured, and Kintpuash and 5 other leaders were hanged at Fort Klamath in Oct., 1873. The tribe was then divided, a part being sent to Indian Territory and placed on the Quapaw Reservation, where they had diminished to 56 by 1905. The remainder are on Klamath Reservation, where they are apparently thriving, and numbered 223 in 1905.

The following were the Modoc settlements so far as known:

  • Agawesh
  • Chakawech
  • Kalelk
  • Kawa
  • Keshlakchuish
  • Keuchishkeni
  • Kumbatuash
  • Leush
  • Nakoshkeni
  • Nushaltkagakni
  • Pashka
  • Plaikni
  • Shapashkeni
  • Sputuishkeni
  • Stuikishkeni
  • Wachamshwash
  • Waisha
  • Welwashkeni
  • Wukakeni
  • Yaneks
  • Yulalona


MLA Source Citation:

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. Web. 31 January 2015. - Last updated on Jan 21st, 2012

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2 Responses to “Modoc Tribe”

    1. mconners12
      9:59 am on February 22nd, 2014

    Does anyone know about a time when part of the Modoc Indian Tribe of Klamath moved to Kentucky?

    1. mconners12
      9:16 am on February 20th, 2014

    I’m looking for any information on Levi Rice and Mary Polly Rice (his wife) They were Modoc and lived on the Klamath reservation. His birth date is estimated at 1770.

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