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Remembering Chief Homer St. Francis [archive]

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The homeland of the Cayuse includes present-day upper Oregon and lower Washington bordering the Columbia River.


Known as "People of the Rocks," the Cayuse would travel to Grande Ronde and exchange goods, from dried salmon to shells or even slaves. The Cayuse met other tribes in Walla Walla to trade but also to engage in friendly athletic competitions and festivities.

During the 1840ís the measles took over the tribe leaving them with only 400 left. This was the start of what is known as the Whitman massacre. The tribe blamed this doctor and his medicine for the deaths so, as a result, on November 29, 1847 the Whitmanís and 12 other people were slain.

In the 1850ís the people of the tribe signed a treaty ceding their land to the whites and agreeing to move to the Umatilla Reservation. The descendants of the tribe are now part of the Umatilla Confederated Tribes.


1)Rudy and Brown (1972) The Cayuse Indians. Oklahoma: Norman

2)Parker (1978) Cayuse pride. New York: Columbia

Additional Reading

 Cayuse Language
 Cayuse Legends
 Indian Tribes of Oregon

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