Okanagon. From the native term Okanā'qēn, Okaāqē'nix, or Okinā'qēn. The
name is derived from some place on the Okanogan River, near Okanogan Falls
at the mouth of the Similkameen, where is said to have been the
headquarters of a large band of the tribe and is even given as the place
of origin of the entire tribe. Also called
Akênuq'łā'lām or KōkEnu'k'kē, by Kutenai (Chamberlain, 1892).
own name, meaning "our people."
Känk.'utlā'atlam, Kutenai name, meaning "flatheads" (Boas, 1911).
KEnāke'n, by Tobacco Plains Band of Klickitat.
OtcEnake', OtcEna.gai'n, or UtcEnā'.gai'n, by the Salish and their allies.
Soo-wān'-a-mooh, Shuswap name.
.SoqEnāqai'mEx, Columbia name.
Tcutzwā'ut, Tcitxûā'ut, Tsawa'nEmux, or OkEnā.gai'n, Ntlakyapamuk names.
WEtc.nāqei'n, Skitswish name.
Connections. The Okanagon belonged to the interior division of the
Salishan stock, but their closest relatives were the Sanpoil, Colville,
Location. On Okanagan River above the mouth of the Similkameen to the
Canadian border and in British Columbia along the shores of Okanagan Lake
and in the surrounding country; in later times they
have displaced an Athapascan tribe and part of the Ntlakyapamuk from the
Similkameen Valley. (See also Canada.)
Subdivisions and Villages
The Similkameen Okanagon were divided into three bands, the Okanagon
proper into four; with the villages belonging to each, they are as
Upper Similkameen Band:
Ntkaihelok (Ntkai'xelôx ), about 11 miles below Princeton, north side of
Snazaist (Snäzäi'st), on the north shore of Similkameen River, a little
of Twenty-mile Creek and the town of Hedley.
Tcutcuwiha (Tcutcuwî'xa) or Tcutcawiha (Tcutcawī'xa), on the north side
of Similkameen River, a little below the preceding.
Ashnola (Acnū'1ôx), on the south side of Similkameen River, near the mouth
of Ashnola Creek.
Nsrepus (Nsre'pus) or Skanek, .sa'nEx, a little below the Ashnola, but on
the north side of Similkameen River.
Lower Similkameen Band:
KekerEmyeaus (KekerEmyē'aus), across Similkameen River from Keremyeus.
Keremyeus (KerEmye'us), on the north side of Similkameen River, near
Nkura-elok (Nkuraē'lôx ), on the south side of Similkameen River and about
4 miles below KerEmyeaus.
Ntleuktan (Ntleuxta'n), on the south side of Similkameen River, opposite
Skemkain (Skemquai'n), a short distance below Nkuraelok.
Smelalok (Smela'lox);), on the south side of Similkameen River, about 10
To the villages listed above must be added the following old Similkameen
sites in Washington:
Konkonetp (Ko'nkonetp), near the mouth of Similkameen River.
Kwahalos (Kwaxalo's), a little back from Similkameen River, below
Hepulok. Naslitok (Nā.sli'tok), just across the International Boundary in
Washington. Skwa'nnt, below Kwahalos.
Tsakeiskenemuk (Tsakei'sxEnEmux), on a creek along the trail between
Keremeous and Penticton.
Tseltsalō's, below Kwahalos.
Douglas Lake Band:
Kathlemik (Kā.'łEmix), near Guichons, at the mouth of the Upper Nicola
River, where it falls into Nicola Lake.
Komkonatko (Komkona'tko) or Komkenatk (KomkEna'tkk), at Fish Lake
on the headwaters of the Upper Nicola River.
Kwiltcana (Kwiltca'na) at the mouth of Quilchene Creek.
Spahamen (Spā'xamEn) or Spahamen (Spā'xEmEn), at Douglas Lake.
Komaplix or Head of the Lake Band:
Nkamapeleks (Nkama'pElEks) or Nkomapeleks (Nkoma'pElEks), near the
head of Okanagan Lake, about 8 miles north of Vernon.
Nkekemapeleks (Nkekema'pE1Eks), at the head of Long Lake, a little over a
mile from Vernon.
Nkokosten (Nxok.o'stEn), a place near Kelowna, and also a general name for
the district around there and Mission.
Skelaunna (SkElō'un.na), at Kelowna, near the present-town.
Sntlemukten (SntlEmuxte'n), (Black Town), a little north of the head of
Stekatelkeneut (Stekatelxenē'ut), a little above Mission(?) on Long Lake
Tseketku (Tse'kEtku), at a small lake a little north of Black Town.
Tselotsus (TsElo'tsus), at the narrows of Long Lake.
Tskelhokem (TsxElho'qem), near the lower end of Long Lake about 19 miles
south of Vernon.
Penticton (Pentī'ktEn), Penticton, near the foot of Okanagan Lake.
Stekatkothlkneut (StEkatkołxne'ut) or Stekatethlkeneut (StEkatEłxEne'ut),
on the opposite side of Long Lake from Mission.
Nkamip (Nkamī'p), on the east side of the upper end of Osoyoos Lake.
Sci'yus, near Haynes or the old customhouse just north of the American
line. Skohenetk (Sxoxenē'tkuu), at the lower end of Dog Lake.
To the villages listed above must be added the following names of old
village sites on Okanagan River south of the Canadian line:
Milkemahituk (MilkEmaxi-tuk) or Milkemihituk (MilkEmixī'tuk), a general
name for the district around the mouth of Similkameen River and of the
Okinaken (Ōkinā'qēn), an old name for Sathlilk.
Sathlilk (Sałi'lxu), near the mouth of Similkameen River.
SmElkammin (Smelkammī'n), thought to be the old name of a place at the
mouth of Similkameen River.
History. The history of the Okanagon differed little from that of the Ntlakyapamuk and other neighboring tribes except that they were affected
by the fact that a part of them were on the south side of the
International Boundary. During the last two centuries, however, there has
been a steady movement of the tribe northward, where they have displaced
the Shuswap, who once hunted down to the head of Okanagan Lake and in the
hinterland on the east side of it down to the latitude of Penticton. They
have also displaced the Stuwik(?) and the Ntlakyapamuk in the Similkameen
Population. Mooney (1928) estimated that there were about 2,200 Okanagon
in 1780. Teit (1900) gives the population as between 2,500 and 3,000. In
1905, according to the Canadian and United States Departments of Indian
Affairs, there were 1,516 Indians belonging to this tribe, including 824
in Canada and 1 92 in the United States. In 1906 the numbers were given as
824 and 527, respectively.
Connections in which they have become noted. The name of the Okanagon in
the form Okanogan has been given to a county, a town in that county, a
precinct, and a river in the State of Washington, and in the form Okanagan
to a lake and a town in British Columbia.