Walla Walla (American Indians Ready Reference)
The Walla Walla, a branch of the Sahaptian family, lived along the lower Walla Walla, Columbia, and Snake rivers in Washington and Oregon. Their name means “little river.” As is generally true for the Sahaptian tribes, there is little or no ethnographic evidence or traditional lore to show where the Walla Walla lived in prehistoric times. Their first encounter with white people occurred in 1805, when the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark passed through their territory. Like other Sahaptian tribes, the Walla Walla lived in village communities of varying size.
Because they relied on hunting, fishing, and gathering roots and berries, they moved throughout the year to find food in different seasons. They were skilled with horses. For the most part, they dwelt peacefully with whites, largely because of their refusal to engage in violent retaliation for ill treatment. The middle of the nineteenth century proved devastating for the Walla Walla. Epidemics of smallpox and measles, probably brought by traders, trappers, and miners, killed many of their people. When gold was discovered in the area in 1855, miners flooded onto Walla Walla lands. The fighting that eventually resulted ended with the shooting or hanging of several chiefs. Under the terms of an 1855 treaty signed at the Walla Walla Council, the Walla Walla, Cayuse, Nez Perce, and other tribes were forced to give up 60,000 square miles of their lands and were placed on the Umatilla...
(The entire section is 322 words.)
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