Sinkiuse/Sinkyone Indian Tribe History
A former division of Salish, under Chief Moses, living on the East
side of Columbia River from Ft. Okinakane to the neighborhood of
Point Eaton, Washington. Hale classed them as a division of
the Pisquows. Population 355 in 1905, 299 in 1908, 540 (with
others?) in 1990.
| In the summer
of 1878,the citizens of the eastern portion of Washington
Territory were alarmed by the excitement among the Indians,
growing out of the outbreak of the Shoshones; and in some
places measures for self-protection were deemed necessary.
Chief Moses and his band, numbering about two hundred
warriors, had refused to go upon any reservation; and they
were suspected also of having been accomplices in the murder
of Mr. Perkins and his wife, who met their death at the
hands of a vagrant band of Columbia river Indians,
instigated or influenced by that great mischief maker,
Smoheller the "dreamer." I that fall, Reverend J. H.
Wilbur, Indian Agent in charge of the Yakima Reservation,
was instructed to induce Moses and his people to go upon the
Moses was sent for, but declined to go, giving as his reason
that the government ha assured
|him that he should be
assigned to a separate reservation. He not only denied all
complicity in the Perkins murder, but offered guides to
assist him in the arrest of the murderers, whom he alleged
were located about forty miles form his camp. A party was
organized, consisting of fifteen Yakima Reservation Indians
and thirty white volunteers from Yakima City; and it was
understood that Moses and his party should have on day's
start of the Yakima party, in order to make arrangements for
crossing the Columbia river.
When Moses arrived at the appointed place, he found
that the arresting party had proceeded to a point twelve
miles below. This circumstance, together with the fact that
he had been advised that the Whites had plotted to waylay
and kill him on the way home, and also that the police and
volunteers intended to arrest him and confine him in the
Yakima jail, excited his suspicions. He declined to furnish
the guides as he agreed; and he, with sixty armed men,
defiantly confronted the volunteer party. After considerable
talk, without collision, Moses returned to his camp.
Three days later he asserts he started with nine of his
band to join the volunteer party, who were endeavoring to
capture the murderers. Before over-taking them he camped for
the night; and the volunteers who were in the vicinity,
mistaking Moses' camp-fires for those of the party of
murderers they were seeking, surrounded the camp and took
Moses and his nine men prisoners. All were disarmed, the
other having killed himself to avoid arrest. Moses and the
other four of his band were taken to Yakima City and
confined in jail without formal examination. A week later
Indian Agent J. H. Wilbur induced the citizens of Yakima to
turn over to him Moses and his fellow Indian prisoners.
Under a strong guard, to prevent the citizens form killing
him, Moses and his four companions were taken to the agency,
where they remained for three months, notwithstanding the
persistent efforts of the citizens to have them returned to
On the 12th of February, 1879, the Commissioner of
Indian affairs ordered Moses to Washington for a conference.
This order was communicated to the authorities of Yakima
county; and, upon their agreement that he should not be
arrested, eh was allowed to return to his camp and make
preparations for his journey to Washington. At the end of
ten days he was sent for, and promised to meet the agent at
Yakima ferry in four days. When the agent arrived at the
ferry, the sheriff of Yakima county with a posse was
guarding every crossing on the river within a distance of
twenty miles, determined to take Moses dead or alive. (1).
Unable to accomplish anything, Agent Wilbur returned to
Yakima City; and the next morning Chief Moses was brought in
by the sheriff. The prosecution then asked for a continuance
of the case for eight days.
Agent Wilbur then waived a preliminary examination,
offered bail for Moses' appearance at the next term of
court, which was accepted and Moses went to Washington.
After several conferences with him, on the 19th of April,
1870, a reservation was set apart for Moses and his people,
called the Columbia Reservation, which adjoins the Colville
Reservation on the west. The delegation returned to the
general commanding the department with the special request
to that officer, and a similar one to the governor of the
territory, requesting that Moses and his party be forwarded
to their reservation without arrest or further interference.
The Perkins murderers were tried at the October, 1879, term
of the Yakima court; and three of them were convicted of
murder. The charge against Chief Moses was dismissed, the
grand jury failing to find any indictment.
The books presented are for their
historical value only and are not the
opinions of the Webmasters of the site.
of American Indians, 1906
Index of Tribes or Nations