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Delores George & Evelyn Umtuch

History of the Yakama

Under the treaty of 1855, 14 tribes and bands of the Columbia Plateau region gathered together to form the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation, located in the south central part of Washington State along the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains.  They are traditionally recognized as Waptailmim, which means “people of the narrow river.”

The Yakama Nation made treaty agreements with United State government which recognized their sovereignty has its own government, laws, police, and services, just like a small country.

Traditionally the Yakama people fish for salmon, steelhead, and other various fish along the Columbia River and its tributaries, as well as the Yakima River found on their reservation.  They hunt and gather traditional foods on Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier of Washington, and the Blue Mountains and Mt. Hood of Oregon. They prepared their foods for the fall and winter seasons and did intertribal trading of such items as fish products, baskets, dogs and horses.

Many of the tribes and bands of the Columbia River share a history with the great fishing and trading site of the Celilo Falls and still participate in the ceremonial feasts of their roots, salmon, and berries.

The Yakama people practice the Wah’shut religion or seven drums religion.  Others participate in medicine dances as well.

More information can be found at this website:  http://www.ohwy.com/wa/y/yakamana.htm