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Okanagon Indians

Okanagon Indians. 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:

Okanagon Connections. The Okanagon belonged to the interior division of the Salishan stock, but their closest relatives were the Sanpoil, Colville, and Senijextee.

Okanagon 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.

Okanagon Villages

The Similkameen Okanagon were divided into three bands, the Okanagon proper into four; with the villages belonging to each, they are as follows:

Okanagon 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 Valley.

Okanagon 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 the Okanagon Indians 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.