Yakama Nation

Yakama Nation
Yakama Warrior ca. 1913 by Lucullus V. McWhorter
Total population
10,851 (2000 Census)
Regions with significant populations
United States (Washington)

English, Ichishkíin Sínwit

Related ethnic groups


The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, or simply Yakama Nation (formerly Yakima), is a Native American group with nearly 10,000 enrolled members, living in Washington. Their reservation, along the Yakima River, covers an area of approximately 1.2 million acres (5,260 km²). Today the nation is governed by the Yakama Tribal Council, which consists of representatives of 14 tribes and bands.

Many tribal members engage in ceremonial, subsistence, and commercial fishing for salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon in the Columbia River and its tributaries within land ceded by the tribe to the United States. The right to fish is protected by treaties and has been re-affirmed through court cases such as United States v. Washington (the Boldt Decision) and United States v. Oregon (Sohappy v. Smith.)



The Yakama people were similar to the other native inhabitants of the Columbia River Plateau. They were hunters and gatherers well known for trading salmon harvested from the Columbia River. In 1805 or 1806, they encountered the Lewis and Clark Expedition where the Yakima River merges with the Columbia River.

As a consequence of the Walla Walla Council (1855) and the Yakima War of 1855 , the tribe was forced to move onto their present reservation. The Treaty of 1855 identified the 14 confederated tribes and bands of the Yakama including "Yakama, Palouse," (now written "Palus"), "Pisquouse, Wenatshapam, Klikatat, Klinquit, Kow-was-say-ee, Li-ay-was, Skin-pah, Wish-ham, Shyiks, Ochechotes, Kah-milt-pay, and Se-ap-cat, confederated tribes and bands of Indians, occupying lands hereinafter bounded and described and lying in Washington Territory, who for the purposes of this treaty are to be considered as one nation, under the name 'Yakama'…". (Treaty with the Yakama, 1855) The name was changed from Yakima to Yakama in 1994 to reflect the native pronunciation.


Yakama Indian Teepee - Edward Curtis collection - 1910

Yakama is a northwestern dialect of Sahaptin, a Sahaptian language of the Plateau Penutian family. In recent years there has been a concerted effort by some native speakers to use a traditional Yakama name for this language, which is "Ichishkíin Sínwit". This usage has been promoted by the tribal Cultural Resources program to supersede the word Sahaptin, which means "stranger in the land". [1]


  1. ^ Beavert, Virginia and Hargus, Sharon Ichishkíin sínwit yakama = Yakima Sahaptin dictionary. Toppenish, Wash. : Heritage University ; Seattle : in association with the University of Washington Press, 2009; 492 pp. OCLC 268797329


Further reading

  • Ray Hoard Glassley: Indian Wars of the Pacific Northwest,Binfords & Mort, Portland, Oregon 1972 ISBN 0-8323-0014-4
  • Helen H. Schuster (1990). The Yakima. Chelsea House. ISBN 1-55546-735-0. 
  • Donald M. Hines (1992). Ghost Voices: Yakima Indian myths, legend, humor, and hunting stories. Great Eagle Pub. ISBN 0-9629539-2-X. 
  • A. J. Splawn (1917). Ka-mi-akin, the last hero of the Yakimas. Kilham Stationery & Printing Co.. online

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Toppenish — Wasserturm in Toppenish Toppenish ist ein Ort im Yakima County im US Bundesstaat Washington, der im Jahr 2000 genau 8.946 Einwohner zählte. Er liegt im Reservat der Yakama, rund 30 km südöstlich der Stadt Yakima. Rund 6,5 % der Bevölkerung… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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