IntroductionThe Walla Walla are Native Americans classified as Plateau American Indians, who primarily lived in Oregon and Washington boarding the Walla Walla River and the Columbia River. The name Walla Walla has several variations in its translation. The most popular translation is "little river" or "many waters". Below you find a list of many interesting Walla Walla Tribe Facts.
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Interesting Walla Walla Tribe Facts
- Villages and temporary camp sites were usually named after natural resources that were found there. Chief Yellepit was a Walla Walla chief who first encountered white people when the Lewis and Clark Expedition showed up in the mid 19th century. He was known for how he welcomed them with open arms. What followed were trappers, miners, and traders coming to the area who brought smallpox and other diseases to the Walla Walla people.
- They were a nomadic tribe that relied on hunting and gathering like many other Indian tribes in the region. They were constantly on the move in an effort to always be close to seasonal food. They were known to fish for salmon, hunt elk, and gather seasonal roots, berries and nuts.
- The nomadic tribe lived in shelters called longhouses that could be broken down and set up again easily and quickly. Some houses were up to 80 feet long, allowing several families to live in one longhouse. They resembled a tent but were usually rectangular in shape and made of wood.
- In 1860, after their homeland was seized by the white people, a majority of the tribe was relocated to a reservation in Northern Oregon called Umatilla. They were accompanied by the Cayuse and the Umatilla peoples as well.
- The Walla Walla relied on the land for materials for tools, clothing, decorations, and utensils. They would use antlers from animals like elk to make tools for digging roots. Animal hide was used in clothing and shoes such as moccasins. Feathers and porcupine quills were added to clothing and served to decorate various items.
- The Walla Wall had a democratic society with assigned leaders and tribal elders making decisions on behalf of the rest of the tribe.
- In the 1700's life for the Walla Walla people changed drastically. They began maintaining large herds of horses fir use in their everyday lives. It made travel much easier and they were able to travel over the Rockies to the Plains Indians to trade or barter commodities with them.
- Tribe members practiced the traditional religion of Washat, also known as the Longhouse religion and the seven drum religion. It involved a great deal of dancing to ceremonial music and drumming. It was a religion based on the belief that a spirit exists in every living thing and they must do as the sprits wished. It was thought that his would bring a return to nature and the way things were before the white man came into the picture.
- The winter season was a time for the entire tribe to be with family and spend a lot of time listening to stories of elder tribe members. It was also a time for fishing and hunting for the men and making clothing for the women.