Cayuse Indians

The Cayuse Indians share a reservation and government in northeastern Oregon with the Umatilla and the Walla Walla tribes as part of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

The reservation is located near Pendleton, Oregon at the base of the Blue Mountains.The Cayuse Indians occupied territories at the heads of the Walla Walla, Umatilla, and Grande Ronde Rivers, and from the Blue Mountains to the Deschutes River in Washington and Oregon. 

They lived adjacent to territory occupied by the Nez Perce, and often intermarried with them. They also had a close association with thw Walla Walla tribe.

The Cayuse Indians frequently were in conflict with the Snake people and other smaller tribes in the area.

The Cayuse Indians were located in the Columbia Basin and were nomadic, sometimes moving on a daily basis. They lived in easily transportable tipis, and used horses to hunt and travel.

They made a yearly trip to the Plains to hunt buffalo, but  their primary meat source was salmon from the Columbia River. 

They also hunted deer, elk in the Blue Mountains,  and small game, and the women gathered berries and dug roots.Canadian Fur trappers gave them the French name of Cayuse.

The Cayuse called themselves Liksiyu in their language, which is a language isolate, not related to any of the  Sahaptin languages which are predominant in this area.   

Scholars have proposed that it may be related to Molala, making up a Waiilaptuan family ultimately related to the Penutian stock, but this proposal is currently unproven.

The language has been extinct since the 1800s.Their number was officially reported as 404 in 1904, however, a count in 1902 found only one full-blood Cayuse. 

Descendants with ancestry partially of the other tribes may still have identified as Cayuse.  As decendants of the three tribes have intermarried extensively, they have stopped counting individual tribe population numbers.