Colville Indians

Colville Indians. The name is derived from Fort Colville, a post of the Hudson’s Bay Company at Kettle Falls, which was in turn named for the London governor of the company at the time when the post was founded, i. e., in 1825. Also called:

  • Basket People, by Hale (1846).
  • Chaudière, French name derived from the popular term applied to them,
  • Kettle Falls Indians.
  • Kettle Falls Indians, as above.
  • Salsxuyilp, Okanagon name.
  • Skuyelpi, by other Salish tribes.
  • Whe-el-po, by Lewis and Clark, shortened from above.

Connections. The Colville belonged to the inland division of the Salishan linguistic stock and to that branch of the latter which included the Okanagon, Sanpoil, and Senijextee.

Colville Location. On Colville River and that part of the Columbia between Kettle Falls and Hunters.

Colville Villages and Subdivisions. (From Ray, 1932)

  • Kakalapia, home of the Skakalapiak (across from the present town of Harvey, at the point where the ferry now crosses).
  • Kilumaak, home of the Skilumaak (opposite the present town of Kettle Falls, about 1½ miles above Nchumutastum).
  • Nchaliam, home of the Snchalik (about 1½ miles above the present town of Inchelium).
  • Nchumutastum, home of the Snchumutast (about 6 miles above Nilamin).
  • Nilamin, home of the Snilaminak (about 15 miles above Kakalapia).
  • Nkuasiam, home of the Snkuasik (slightly above the present town of Daisy, on the opposite side of the river).
  • Smichunulau, home of the Smichunulauk (at the site of the present State bridge at Kettle Falls).

Colville History. The history of the Colville was similar to that of the neighboring tribes except that Kettle Falls was early fixed upon as the site of an important post by the Hudson Bay Company and brought with it the usual advantages and disadvantages of White contact.

Colville Population. Mooney (1928) estimated the number of the Colville at 1,000 as of 1780, but Lewis and Clark placed it at 2,500, a figure also fixed upon by Teit (1930). In 1904 there were 321; in 1907, 334; and in 1937, 322.

Connections in which the Colville Indians have become noted. The name Colville was applied to an important Indian Reservation and later to a town, the county seat of Stevens County, Wash., but the original, of course, was not Indian.

Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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