famous colville and nez perce indians
confederated tribes of the colville reservation nezperce tribe okanogan tribe chelan tribe
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 famous colville and nez perce indians

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famous colville and nez perce indians

Bios of famous Colville and Nez Perce indians. The Confederated Colville Tribe includes the Colville indians, the Wenatchee (Wenatchi) indians, Nespelem indians, Moses-Columbia (Sinkiuse-Columbia) indians, Methow indians, Okanogan indians, Palus (Palouse) indians, San Poil indians, Entiat indians, Chelan indians, Lake (Sinixt) tribes, and Chief Joseph's band of Nez Perce Indians. The rest of the Nez Perce belong to the Nez Perce tribe located on the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho.

Historical Colville Leaders:

Harry Jim - last chief of the lower Snake River Indians

Chief Moses (Sulk-stalk-scosum - "The Sun Chief") - Last free chief of the Plateau Region. He led the Sinkiuse-Columbia, the Wenatchi, Eniat, and Chelan non-treaty indians during the last three years before they went onto the reservation.

Long Jim - Last Chief of the Chelan Tribe

Old Chief Joseph (Tuekakas - the elder Joseph) - Father of Chief Joseph, leader of Nez Perce before his son. He died in the Wallowa valley in Oregon just prior to the younger Joseph's last run for freedom.

Chief Joseph (Heinmot Tookyalakekt) - Nez Perce leader who refused to sign the Treaty of 1863 and led his people on the last Nez Perce bid for freedom.

Chief Ollokut (also spelled Ollecot, Ollicot and Ollokot) - Brother of Chief Joseph, war chief of the young Nez Perce men in the last Nez Perce battles.

Lean Elk - Nez Perce chief who fought with Chief Joseph's band.

Chief Twisted-Hair - Nez Perce chief who kept Lewis & Clark's horses while they traveled by canoe to the Pacific Coast in the fall of 1805.

Chief Red Heart - Nez Perce chief, who along with 33 members of his family and band, who were captured on July 1, 1877 and taken by steamship to Fort Vancouver where they were imprisioned from August 1877 to April 22, 1878 before being relocated to the Nez Perce Reservation.

Chief White Bird - Nez Perce war chief who refused to sign the Nez Perce Treaty of 1863.

Chief Looking Glass - Nez Perce war chief who refused to sign the Nez Perce Treaty of 1863.

Chief Yellow Bull - Nez Perce

James Reuben - Christian Nez Perce

Husis Husis Kute - Palouse medicine man

Chief Albert - Nez Perce successor to Chief Joseph.

Red Thunder - Nez Perce chief.

Yellow Wolf - Nez Perce

Chief Big Thunder - Nez Perce war chief who refused to sign the Nez Perce Treaty of 1863.

Chief Toohulhulsote

- Nez Perce chief who refused to sign the Treaty of 1863

Paul Showaway - Was part Nez Perce, but he was also the last hereditary chief of the Cayuse Tribe.

Smohalla - An Indian prophet and teacher, the originator of a religion current among the tribes of the upper Columbia River and adjacent region in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, whence the name "Smohallah Indians" sometimes applied. The name, properly Shmoqula, signifies "The Preacher," and was given to him after he became prominent as a religious reformer. He belonged to the Sokulk, a small tribe cognate to the Nez Perce and centering about Priest rapids on the Columbia in eastern Washington.

He was born about 1815 or 1820, and in his boyhood frequented a neighboring Catholic mission, from which he evidently derived some of his ceremonial ideas. He distinguished himself as a warrior, and began to preach about the year 1850. Somewhat later, in consequence of a quarrel with a rival chief, he left home secretly and absented himself for a long time, wandering as far south as Mexico and returning overland through Nevada to the Columbia.

On being questioned he declared that he had been to the spirit world and had been sent back to deliver a message to the Indian race. This message, like that of other aboriginal prophets, was, briefly, that the Indians must return to their primitive mode of life, refuse the teachings or the things of the white man, and in all their actions be guided by the will of the Indian God as revealed in dreams to Smohalla and his priests.

The doctrine found many adherents, Chief Joseph and his Nez Percé being among the most devoted believers. The "Dreamers," as they are popularly called, maintain their religious organization, with periodical gatherings and an elaborate ceremony.

Lawyer - Nez Perce orator who became a prominent leader. Son of Chief Twisted-Hair. Lawyer was a friend of the Whites. He was especially prominent in the negotiations with Governor Stevens after the great war of 1855. He threw the weight of his great influence in favor of the treaty, which established the existing reservation.

Owhi - Nez Perce leader who opposed the treaty of 1863.

Kamiakin - Nez Perce leader who opposed the treaty of 1863.

Chief Peu-peu-mox-mox - Nez Perce war chief who opposed the treaty of 1863.

TsoopNitPaLu - Nez Perce

Chief Pah Wyanan - Nez Perce prophet and medicine man.

Chief Red Grizzly Bear (xaxaac 'ilp'ilp')Son of Chief Pah Wyanan, Nez Perce warrior and prophet.

Chief Tonasket - Chief of the Okanogan Indians beginning in 1858.

Nmosize (Innomoseecha Bill) - Chelan Chief who disliked the Catholic priests. In 1880 he burned down the mission of Father Alexander Diomedi, S.J. when he wasn't present. Indian parrisoners built a new church along the lake near what would become the town of Manson.

Chelan Bob -Had an allotment near the first apple orchards in Okanogan County in what is now the town of Manson. One day he was found on the floor of his cabin nearly dead with a pick axe sticking into his face. He recovered, and after that he was referred to as "Crooked Mouth Bob," but probably not in his hearing. He would never reveal the name of his assailant.

Chief Smitkin -

Famous Contemporary Colville People:


Bernie Whitebear - Colville activist. Founder of the Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB), the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, and the Daybreak Star Cultural Center.

Mourning Dove - Okanogan Colville activist who co-founded the Colville Indian Tribal Council in 1930.

Randy Lewis - Born on the Colville Reservation, Randy Lewis attended Western Washington College in the 1960s where he helped found the American Indian Student Union. After participating in the Alcatraz occupation in 1969, he joined Bernie Whitebear in organizing the Ft. Lawton takeover in 1970s. He is a longtime member of the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation.

Actors and Actresses

Kimberly Norris-Guerrero - Actress. Three-quarter American Indian with the blood of three tribes (Colville, Salish-Kootenai and Cherokee). She starred in "The Cigar Store Indian" episode of Seinfeld as Jerry's girlfriend, Winona; she was Ed's girlfriend on CBS's Northern Exposure; she portrayed Geronimo's second wife in the TNT production of Geronimo and she was in the independant feature film Naturally Native.

Elaine Miles - Nez Perce, best known from her role in the television series Northern Exposure.

Jack and Al Hoxie - Silent film actors who were sons of a half Nez Perce mother.


Lawney Reyes - Writer, architect,and large sculture artist, Colville, Lake Band.


Jackson Sundown - Nez Perce War veteran and rodeo champion.


Archie Phinney - Plublished Nez Perce Texts, a collection of Nez Perce myths and legends from the oral tradition.


Elaine Emerson - Colville Confederated Tribes. For twenty years, Elaine has taught plateau style basketry classes and language to tribal members on the Colville Indian Reservation. She connects weavers with their ancestral ties by taking them to ancestral gathering sites and following ceremonial practices involved with collecting the materials. Elaine is part of the Northwest Native American Basket Weaver's Association, which is made up of over 600 tribal basket weavers from across Washington State.

Drum Groups

Fool Soldiers - includes members of several nations, including Sans Ark Lakota, Nez Perce, Colville, Tshimsin, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Crow, Assiniboine-Sioux, Yakama, and Umitilla.

High Rock - High Rock is a traditional Native American powwow drum group in the Pacific Northwest. Members are youth seven to fourteen years old residing throughout the Indian Reservations and urban areas of Washington and Oregon. The current "base" location is the Yakama Indian Reservation. The drum is named after a granite topped hill at the convergence of the Skykomish, Snoqualmie and Snohomish River Valleys at Monroe, Washington. Although many of the newer singers are from Yakama or Warm Springs, many of the original singers are from Tulalip, Swinomish or Sauk-Suiattle so they are definitely an intertribal drum with such a mixed Coastal/Plateau crew.

Red Tail Singers - Yakama & Nez Perce from Lapwai, ID

White Hawk NW - Formerly Golden Eagle, White Hawk Singers come from the Colville Indian Reservation in Nespelem Washington. The Singers from the drum group are from various tribes: Colville, Yakama, Mohawk, Alaskan Native, Nomlaki and of the Kiowa Tribe.

Young Bird - Young Bird is composed of an eclectic mixture of tribes and nations. Curtis Hamilton-Young Bird (Cheyenne/Sauk & Fox) is the lead singer. Danita Cornelison (Osage) and Sunny Rose Yellowmule (Pawnee/Crow) add the femininity to the group. The others are Ron (Ski) James Sr. (Arapaho/Colville/Pawnee/Otoe), G.C. Tsouhlarakis (Creek/Navajo), Hah-Tee Delgado (Commanche), Ben Nakai (Navajo/Pawnee), Don Hamilton-Young Bird (Tonkawa/Apache/Cheyenne), Jeff McClellan (Sac & Fox), Anthony Monoessey (Commanche/Kiowa), Sam Cook (Creek/Pawnee) and Rusty Diamond (Pawnee/Otoe). These 12 members represent 16 tribes The first difference you will notice about this group is the prominence of female voices. It is so refreshing to hear the young women taking part, simply because this is a rarity. Most native drumming and chant groups are composed of all-male members, with an occasional female group that has no males.

Singers / Muscisians

Jim Boyd - Colville, Lakes Band. A three-time NAMA winner whose has been musically featured on five film soundtracks including the nationally acclaimed Miramax release "Smoke Signals." A versatile musician, Boyd is a songwriter, guitar player and lead vocalist with seven full-length CDs to his credit.

K.Paul Carvings - Swinomish/Colville carver and musician.

LaRae Wiley - Musician and teacher, member of the Colville Confederated Tribes, Lakes Band.

Michael "Two Leaf" Meadows - Musician,flutist.


Ken "Rainbow Cougar" Edwards - Artist and entertainer from the Colville Indian Reservation in the state of Washington. Ken provides an opportunity for his audience to see, hear, and take part in traditional Indian stories and games. His is best known for his story-telling.

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Tribal Profiles
Oral History
Official Websites
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What's New:
Nespelem Oral History
The town of Nespelem, situated on the Colville Indian Reservation derived its name from an Indian word meaning "large meadow beside a stream."

Sinixt Lake indians
Most Sinixt or Lake indians are now part of the Colville tribe in Washington state, but once roamed both Washington and British Columbia.

Chelan Indians
The Chelan Indians were historically located at the outlet of Lake Chelan in Washington State.

Marriage and Wedding Customs
Men of the Plateau Tribes usually had at least two wives at the same time, more if they were wealthy.

Burial Customs of the Colville
Burial / Funeral Traditions of the Plateau Indians

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