Tribe Name

We have been researching the Colville Tribe. Twelve different tribes combined to make the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. They are located in the eastern part of Washington. They are also by the Columbia river. They do a lot of fishing there. It seems like there was not a tribe before the late 1700's.


1782-1783: Smallpox depopulated the tribe.
1872: Colville reservation starts
1872: The government made 10 other tribes to move in with the Colville tribe.
1872: About 3,400 lived or around the reservation
1904: Chief Joseph dies.
1911: They have school 6 days a week in Colville.
1912: Three schools close because of a lack of teachers.
1924: The tribe became US citizens.
1934: Act provides federal dollars to the public schools because of the lack of property tax.
1938: The tribe confederates under a new constitution.


The Colville Indians were originally located at the outlet of Lake Colville in Washington State.When they started out, their reservation was over 3 million acres, but now it has decreased to about 1.4 million acres.
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The Colville tribe speaks the language of the Interior Salish people speaking the Wenatchi dialect. Their neighbors, the Spokane Indians, also spoke a variation of the Salish language.

Social Organization and Government

The main social unit for the Colville Indians was their extended family, where the oldest members were the leaders. Each family was either wealthy, middle-class, or slaves captured from another tribe. The men in the tribe were responsible for hunting, trading, and fighting in wars for their tribe. The Colville women were in charge of gathering food and performing household chores. The leader of the tribe was the village chief or "headman", and he either inherited or was elected by the village for the position. Chiefs were typically males, but occasionally females were chiefs.


The Colville Tribe typically used buckskin to make their clothing before Europeans came into the area. But they also used beaver and bear furs to make robes for the cold winter months. Men usually just wore breech-clout and moccasins, whereas women wore dresses, leggings, and moccasins. After coming into contact with Europeans, the Colville tribe was introduced to using fabrics to make their clothes.

Diet and Food Sources

The men generally hunted, while the women gathered for food. Hunting deer as their big game animal and fishing for salmon was very important to the tribe. However, rabbits, squirrels, and clams were also useful for the tribe. Gathering roots, berries, and other plants was perhaps even more important than the hunting because 135 different plant species contributed to their diet. Flowers and roots were convenient during the spring because they could be eaten fresh or be allowed to dry and stored for later.
Discuss food preservation and management.


When the winter months comes, they would make communal mat lodges and have more then one family stay in it to keep warm. Then in the warmer months they would sleep in mats or hide tents.


Before the European came to the United States the Colville Indians were using two types of of transportation, which were the dugout canoes and when it snowed they used snowshoes. After the Europeans came and began trading, they got horses.

Tools and Weapons

The most important weapon used by the Colville Indians was the bow and arrow for hunting and warfare. They used the bow and arrow until they came into contact with the Europeans, who introduced them to guns. The tribe also used obsidian to make arrowheads, knives, and scrapers.
While the Colville Tribe was using the bow and arrow, the Europeans had already begun using muskets.

Economic Activities and Trade

Describe how the tribe created goods and acquired wealth (money and materials).
Through an economic lens, analyze how the tribe interacted with other tribes and with Europeans.
Analyze the economic nature of any social traditions that involve gifting.

Religious Beliefs

The Colville Tribe believed that their lives were directed and shaped by a spirit guide. Religion was very important to them because it connected each individual to the supernatural. The religious beliefs of their neighbors, the Spokane Tribe, was centered around the land and living things in nature. They believed in a Great Spirit and other spirits in nature like wind and thunder.
One of the important Colville legends called Boy and Bear was about a boy who was mean and disobedient to his parents, so his parents left him up a mountain because he was so awful in the tribe. The boy was raised by a mother grizzly bear with her two cubs until he became a man and returned to his people. The lesson was to teach children to be good and obedient members of the tribe. Boy and Bear

Recreation and Games

The Colville Indians celebrate on the 4th of July. They call it the pow wow. It is the main culture event of the year. Then other events they do is different tribe dances and the bone game. The last event they do is the horse race but another name for it is called suicide race. The suicide race is with 20 horses and 20 riders. What they have to do is to go down a hill with an 62 degree bank.

Works Cited