Indian Tribes West of the Rocky Mountains, 1822

In the Table is given, from the most authentic sources to which I have had access, which I believe to be the best existing in our country, a list of the Indian Tribes West of the Rocky Mountains. With the names, numbers, and places of residence, of these tribes, Messrs. Crooks &, Stuart, (to whom I am indebted for the body of information contained in the Table, as well as for that which follows it,) gave me a concise description of these Indians, and of their country, which I here insert. This description embraces several tribes, and their country, immediately on this side the Rocky Mountains, a region hitherto unexplored, through which the gentlemen above named passed, and where they spent a winter.

“The sources of Big Horn River, a branch of the Yellow Stone, of Rio del Norte, a water of the Gulf of Mexico, and of the East Fork of Lewis River, a water of the Pacific Ocean, are within half a mile of each other, in about lat. 43°.”

“From the Pacific Ocean, ascending Columbia river, 160 miles, to the Rapids, is a broken, heavy timbered country, mostly of the pine species. From this point the woods gradually diminish for sixty miles farther up the river, where timber wholly disappears, and no growth is found, but stinted pines, and shrub oaks. Except on the spurs of the Rocky Mountains, which extend west to within four hundred miles of the Pacific Ocean, the face of the country, generally, presents a continuation of rocks and sand, with very little vegetation of any kind, except a few tracts scattered along the banks of the rivers. It is in fact a barren desert. The spurs of the mountain, and the main chain, indeed, are covered with pines. From these east, to the Missouri, the same barrenness, as to the growth of timber, prevails, but the soil is better, producing grass sufficient to feed large herds of buffalo. On the west side of the mountains, no wood of any kind is found, not even on the low bottom lands.” ” I have travelled,” says Mr. Crooks, “several hundreds of miles along the Ky-eye-nam River, without meeting with any thing larger than the common willow. The Indians in this desert waste subsist on fish and roots. There is here very little game.”

“A town, called Astoria, named after John Jacob Astor, Esq. of New York, was established on Columbia river, fifteen miles from its mouth, in the spring of 1811. At this period, there were here about one hundred and twenty men. In 1813, this place was captured by the British, but afterwards given up, by treaty, in which it was stipulated, that the British, should have liberty, for ten years, to trade with the Indians in the vicinity of this coast, in common with the Americans.

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“At the falls of the Columbia river, are collected Indians of different tribes, in large numbers, particularly the Hellwits. Here is an immense salmon fishery. Some of this species of fish, caught here, weigh sixty pounds, and the average is fifteen pounds, of fine flavor. These fish, dried by the sun, are the principal food of the Indians. From the Falls, to the junction of Lewis’ river with the Columbia, on the south side, are no Indians. On the north side, the first one hundred miles above the Falls, is inhabited by the Hellwitts tribe.

“East of the Rocky Mountains, scattering timber grows on the bottom lands, but not a twig on the upland.

“The eye meets with no other obstruction than it would in the midst of the ocean. There is abundance of salt in this region. Stone is not uncommon; but not a solitary indication of coal, after leaving the main stream of the Missouri.

“About the year 1802, a war party of the Pawnee Indians brought the smallpox from New Mexico, to the borders of the Missouri. It spread its ravages over a great part of this region, and destroyed more than half its population. Since this period, their numbers have slowly increased.”

An Education Family might be planted on some part of Columbia, on Wallaumut, (erroneously called Multnomah) river, with safety, and advantage to this populous region of Indians, and some of our religious Associations are directing their attention to this place, and intending to seize the first opening, for establishing here such a family of a large and respectable size. Several promising young men have offered themselves already for this service. Should the Government establish a military post here, 1 it will be very important for reasons stated in another part of this Report, that an Education Family, and an Indian Agency should be planted, at the same time, near it. These Indians, who have hitherto had but little intercourse with white people, should see them, in the outset of this intercourse, and also in continuance, in an attitude adapted to make, and to cherish, impressions favorable to civilization and Christianity. This establishment, should it be made, will be an important link in the chain of intercourse between the United States and the islands of the Pacific Ocean.

Indian Tribes West of the Rocky Mountains

Indian Tribes west of the Rocky MountainsPopulationLocation
1,70012 miles from the mouth of Columbia River, north side.
1,3002 miles from the mouth of Columbia River, south side.
1,40040 miles north of Columbia River.
1,20040 miles south of Columbia River, along the coast of the Pacific ocean.
60030 miles from the mouth of Columbia River.
400Opposite the Cathlamats.
1,20030 miles front the mouth of Columbia river, south side.
2,400On Columbia river, 62 miles froth its mouth; they dwell in 3 villages on a north creek of it, called the Cowlitsick, 210 yards wide, rapid, beatable 190 miles.
70080 miles front the month of Columbia River, at the mouth of the Wallaumut, (called, incorrectly, Multnomah), south branch of Columbia River.
1,100Opposite the Cathlakamaps, on Columbia River.
400On the island in the mouth of the Wallaumut, where very powerful under the famous chief Tutsleham.
500At the upper end of the island above named, in the mouth of the Wallaumut. The main channel of the Wallaumut is 500 yards wide.
1,80050 miles from the mouth of the Wallaumut, west side.
50060 miles from the mouth of the Wallaumut, on the east side
20,000All the above named on the Wallaumut are at this neme. They inhabit the banks of the Crooked River, boatable above 500 miles.
900At the rapids of Columbia River, the farther on the north, the latter on the south side, 100 miles from its mouth.
600North side of the Columbia River, in the Long Narrows, a little below the falls, 220 miles from its mouth.
600On the Columbia River, opposite the above.
900On Columbia River, north side, near the above
1,200At the falls of Columbia River.
60,000They occupy all the country between the southern branches of Lewis River extending from the Umatullum to the east side of the Stony Mountains on the southern part of Wallaumut River, from about 40° to 47° north latitude. A branch of this tribe of 4.000 or 5,000 reside in the spring and summer on the west fork of Lewis River, a branch of the Columbia, and in the winter and fall on the Missouri.
400Reside in the spring and summer in the Rocky Mountains on Clarke River, winter and fall on the Missouri and its waters.
2,000Residing on the Kooskooskee River, below the forks and on Cotters Creek and who sometimes pass over the Missouri.
1,000Residing on the Kooskooskee River, above the forks, and on the small streams which fall into that river west of the Rocky Mountains and Chopunnish River and sometimes pass over to the Missouri.
800Reside on the Lewis River, above the entrance to the Kooskooskee, as high up as the forks.
250Reside under the southwest mountains on a small river called Weancum, which falls into Lewis River above the entrance of the Kooskooskee.
500Reside on the Wallaumut River, which falls into Lewis River on the southwest side below the forks.
400On the north side of the east fork of Lewis River from its junction to the Rocky mountains and on Smatter Creek.
2,200On Lewis River below the entrance of the Kooskooskee on both sides of that river to its junction with the Columbia.
2,400On the Columbia River above the entrance of Lewis River, as high up as the entrance of Columba River.
1,800On the northwest side of the Columbia River, both above and below the entrance of Lewis River and on the Taptul River, which falls into the Columbia River 15 miles above Lewis River.
1,600On both sides of the Columbia River as low as the Muscheshell rapid, and in winter pass over to the Taptul River.
2,600The Muscheshell rapid and on the north side of the Columbia to the commencement of the high country; this nation winter on the waters of the Taptul River
700On the north branch of the Columbia, in different bands from the Pishquitpahs as low as the River Lapage; the different bands of this nation winter on the waters of Taptul and Cataract Rivers.
1,200At the upper part of the Great Narrows of the Columbia, on both sides; are stationary.
1,000At the upper part of the Great Narrows of the Columbia, on the north side; is the great mart fur all the country.
1,400Next below the Narrows and extending down on the north side of the Columbia to the River Labiche.
800On the Columbia on both sides of the entrance of the Labiche to the neighborhood of the great rapids of that river.
At the Grand rapids of the Columbia, extending down in different villages Wallaumut River
2,800Above the rapids.
Below the rapids.
Below all the rapids.
1,000100 lodges on the south side, a few miles below, above the Wallaumut River.
100On the south side of the Columbia, near Quicksand River, and opposite the Diamond Island.
460On the west side of the Columbia, back of the a post and nearly opposite the entrance of the Wallaumut River.
200On the northeast side of the Wallaumut River, 3 miles above its mouth.
400On the southwest side of Wappatoo Island.
1,200On a small river, which discharges itself on the southeast side of the Wappatoo Island.
200On the southwest side of Wappatoo Island.
450On the main shore southwest of Wappatoo Island.
280On the southwest side of Wappatoo Island.
2,500On the Columbia, on each side in different villages, from the lower part of the Columbia Valley as low as Sturgeon Island and on both sides of the Coweliskee River.
1,000From the Clatsops of the coast along the southeast coast for many miles.
20Place of abode not known
500A small brave tribe on the large prairies on the Missouri
1,000On the Rocky Mountains, near the Rapid Indians and west of them.
A general name given to the native tribes of New Caledonia
100In one village on Stuarts Lake, on the west side of the Rocky Mountains, latitude 54° 30' north longitude 125° west, opposite the heads of the Missouri. They have other villages. The Atenas Indians are in this neighborhood.
2,000In New Caledonia, west of Rocky Mountains, on the northern border of the US.
700These tribes dwell along the coast south of Columbia River and speak the Kallamucke language.
100Indians dwelling along the coast in succession, in the order they are mentioned north of Columbia River.
1,800On a large river of the same name which heads in Mount Jefferson and discharges itself into the Wallaumut, 40 miles up that river on its northwest side. This nation has several villages on both sides of the river.
200On Cataract River, 25 miles north of the Big Narrows.
120On Cataract River, below Skaddals.
100On Cataract River, above Skaddals.
400On the heads of Cataract and Taptul Rivers.
1,200On both sides of the Columbia, above the Sokulks, and on the northern branches of the Taptul River and also on the Wahnaachee River.
2,000On both sides of the Columbia, above the entrance of Clarke River.
1,600On a river which falls into the Columbia north of Clarke River.
2,500On both sides of Clarke River, from the entrance of Lastaw to the great falls of Clarke River.
1,300From the entrance of the Lastaw into Clarke River, on both sides of the Lastaw, as high as the forks
600At the falls of the Lastaw River, below the great Wayton Lake, on both sides of the river.
2,000On a small river of the same name, which falls into the Lastaw below the falls, around the Wayton Lake, and on 2 islands in it.
300On Clarke River, above the great falls, in the Rocky Mountains.
300On Clarke River, above the Micksuckscaltons, in the Rocky Mountains.
5,600On the north fork of Clarke River in spring and summer, and in the fall and winter on the Missouri. The Ootlashoots is a band of this nation.


Morse, Rev. Jedidiah. A Report to the Secretary of War of the United States on Indian Affairs, Printed by S. Converse, 1822.

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