The Cause Indians were once the masters of their homeland of more than six million acres. being the most feared in their region the Cayuse were the first of the tribes to acquire horses. Along with their feared combat know about the Cayuse were also silver tongues when it came to bargaining. They were neighbors to the clan of Walla Walla and Nez Perce. After being defeated in a seven year long war in the Whitman Massacre they moved to the Umatilla Reservation where by the turn of the century their numbers dropped to 400 with all of them being mixed blood and the Walla Walla language slowly becoming extinct.


1750 - Horses arrived
1832 - Department of Indian Affairs established
1838 - A mission was established among the Cayuse and Marcus Whitman.
1842 - Whitman moved into their territory in large numbers from the opening of the [[#|Oregon Trail]]
1847 - Measles carried off a large part of the tribe.
1847 - A group of Indians entered camp with concealed weapons and [[#|killed]] Dr. Whitman with a killing blow from behind.
1851 - The Cayuse had long intermarried with the Nez Perce tribe who learned their language well.
1855 - Lost the seven year war of Whitman's Massacre and moved to the Umatilla Reservation.
1855 - Cayuse ceded most of their traditional territory to the United States.
1902 - Only one pure blooded Cayuse remained on the reservation.
1956 - Moved to cities under the Indian [[#|Relocation]] Act of 1956.
2010 - 304 population alone and in combination of the Cayuse tribe.


Map of the Umatilla Reservation, modern-day home of the Cayuse.

The Cayuse tribe live in a reservation and have for years with its surrounding neighbor tribes. the reservation is roughly 60 miles wide and 80 miles long. Located in the north-east part of Oregon and south-east part of Washington, near the city of Pendleton.


English and Cayuse (extinct)
The Cayuse language became extinct after losing their war in the Whitman Massacre and joining the Umatilla Massacre.

Social Organization and Government

A tribe was organized into a kind of pact, in which three chiefs banded together in a council to better govern the bands of families underneath them. This was how the tribes were organized until the mid nineteenth century, until the tribal council of three chiefs was reduced to just one chief governing the three bands of families.
These chiefs were responsible for the moral and social education of the people under them. They would often give lectures to their people on proper behavior in the tribe. In more recent times, the Umatilla Reservation, where most Cayuse now reside, they are now governed by a nine member tribal council with the additional of several active committees.


high_459.jpg 0a81dfe550aaafbc6433b55b85a0ecc7.jpgNAW1.jpg
Plateau-style clothing of bark and fur breechclouts, aprons, and ponchos were replaced in the eighteenth century by Plains-style clothing such as long dresses for women, shirts and leggings for men, and moccasins. This late-prehistoric clothing was made of tanned skins, especially antelope and elk, and decorated with fringe and quillwork.

Diet and Food Sources

Salmon and other fish were the staples. This was supplemented by various plant foods, especially camas and other roots, and berries. Large and small game also contributed to the Cayuse diet.
Foods were preserved by drying out the meat like we do present day canning so it could last the full year. the berries were also done similarly to have it last the year.


Tepees similar to these were used in the cayuse tribe for easy transportaion

The Cayuse like most early tribes used tepees for easy mobility as they traveled the river sides or flat land, they especially needed easy transportation for when they traveled with their horses over the Rocky Mountains, it was also easier for them to hunt and find other food resources that were needed.


Horses arrived in Cayuse country about 1750. In the early nineteenth century, each person had from 10 to 15 to up to as many as 2,000 horses

Tools and Weapons

Woven reed mats and baskets played a major role in Cayuse's material culture.
These tools at the time compared to together areas were back a few steps in time as they were already progressing to metal tools and guns the native Americans were still in their old ways using wooden hand crafted tools with bows, knives and spears being their weapon of use.

Economic Activities and Trade

This is an image of a Cayuse pony which was once breeded by the cayuse tribe

Particularly after the early eighteenth century, the Cayuse dominated trade at the Dalles, site of the region’s premier trade fair, as well as at other trading tribes. Among other items, salmon products and shells came from the west, and elk and buffalo products came from the east. Horses became the most important trade item: In the early nineteenth century, the Cayuse commonly exchanged beaver and horses for guns and ammunition. The Cayuse also collected tribute from weaker tribes.Cayuse would breed horses and came up with the breed of horse named after them called the cayuse pony.

Religious Beliefs

Individuals acquired and maintained relationships with helping nature spirits. Such spirits were obtained during adolescent quests; their powers, which facilitated various skills, were revealed many years later. Shamans acquired particularly strong guardian spirits. They led religious ceremonies and cured illness by blowing, sucking, and chanting. They were also regularly killed for misusing or stealing power. The main religious ceremonies were related to guardian spirits (winter ceremonies), food, and battle.
The Cayuse creation story originates from Old Wishpoosh, the giant beaver story. Cayuse came from the arms of old Wishpoosh in order that they would be strong and powerful with the war club and bow.

Recreation and Games

download (2).jpg
Now as you can see this is obviously a more modern ritual but very few changes have actually been made over the years to this tribes dances.

The tribe participates in dances year round for salmon run and other spiritual types things they also perform rodeos and arts and craft ceremonies to show off their skill and activities they do through out the year.

Works Cited

Creation Story
Schlosser, S.E. American Folklore.

Accessed February 23, 2015.

National Geographic . Accessed February 23, 2015.

Tate, Cassandra. History Link.