Klickitat County Washington History
Klickitat Indian History
Klikitat (Chinookan: 'beyond,' with reference to the Cascade Mountains. ). A Shahaptian tribe whose former seat was at the headwaters of the Cowlitz, Lewis, White Salmon, and Klickitat rivers, north of Columbia river, in Klickitat and Skamania Counties, Wash. Their eastern neighbors were the Yakima, who speak a closely related language, and on the west they were met by various Salishan and Chinookan tribes. In 1805 Lewis and Clark reported them as wintering on Yakima and Klickitat rivers, and estimated their number at about 700. Between 1820 and 1830 the tribes of Willamette valley were visited by an epidemic of fever and greatly reduced in numbers. Taking advantage of their weakness, the Klikitat crossed the Columbia and forced their way as far south as the valley of the Umpqua. Their occupancy of this territory was temporary, however, and they were speedily compelled to retire to their old seat north of the Columbia. The Klikitat were always active and enterprising traders, and from their favorable position became widely known as intermediaries between the coast tribes and those living east of the Cascade Range. They joined in the Yakima treaty at Camp Stevens, Wash., June 9, 1855, by which they ceded their lands to the United States. They are now almost wholly on Yakima Reservation, Wash., where they have become so merged with related tribes that an accurate estimate of their number is impossible. Of the groups still recognized on that reservation the Toppenish are probably their nearest relatives (Mooney in 14th Rep. B. A. E., 738, 1896) and may be regarded as a branch of the Klikitat, and the Taitinapam, speaking the same tongue, as another minor branch. One of the settlements of the Klikitat was Wiltkun.
The Klickitat (also spelled Klikitat) are a Native American tribe of the Pacific Northwest. A Shahaptian tribe, their eastern neighbors were the Yakama, who speak a closely related language. Their western neighbors were various Salishan and Chinookan tribes. Their name has been perpetuated in Klickitat County, Washington, Klickitat, Washington, Klickitat Street in Portland, Oregon, and the Klickitat River, a tributary of the Columbia River.
The Klickitat were noted for being active and enterprising traders, and served as intermediaries between the coastal tribes and those living east of the Cascade Mountains.
The ancestral lands of the Klickitat were situated north of the Columbia River, at the headwaters of the Cowlitz, Lewis, White Salmon, and Klickitat rivers, in present-day Klickitat and Skamania Counties. They occupied their later base after the Yakama crossed this river. In 1805, the Klickitat were encountered by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Lewis and Clark found them wintering on the Yakima and Klickitat Rivers and estimated their number at about 700.
In the early 1850s, the Klickitat Tribe raided present-day Jackson County, Oregon from the north and settled the area. Modoc, Shasta, Takelma, Latgawas, and Umpqua Indian tribes had already lived within the present boundaries of that county.
Between 1820 and 1830, an epidemic of fever struck the tribes of the Willamette Valley. The Klickitat took advantage of the drop in population in this region and crossed the Columbia River and occupied territory occupied by the Umpqua. This was not permanent, however, as they were pushed back to their original homeland.
The Klickitat War erupted in 1855. The Klickitat capitulated and joined in the Yakima treaty at Camp Stevens on June 9, 1855. They ceded their lands to the United States. Most of them settled upon the Yakima Indian Reservation.