Yakima (American Indians Ready Reference)
The Yakimas originally inhabited the Columbia Basin Plateau in Washington state. They are identified as Plateau Indians and belong to the Sahaptian language group. Many scholars believe that evidence of human settlement in the Columbia Basin dates back fifteen thousand years. The Yakimas first were exposed to European Americans with the arrival of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805.
Although this was the first direct contact the Yakimas had with white people, European American culture had already touched Yakima society, as they were already using horses, and other trade goods were evident. Scholars estimate the introduction of the horse at about 1730. The tribe that would be referred to as the Yakimas was probably composed of other Plateau Indians, such as the Nez Perce and the Palouse (Palus).
The land that they inhabited was arid. Subsistence patterns consisted of hunting, fishing, and gathering berries and roots, particularly camas. Fishing continues to be pursued, and in the early 1990's the Yakimas were involved in a lawsuit with various irrigators along the Yakima River over water rights.
After the first contact with whites, fur traders and missionaries crossed the Columbia Basin. Finally in 1855, the Yakimas...
(The entire section is 585 words.)
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