Nisqually Indians

A 10,000 year old tribe. that now resides in its native homeland of about 2 million acres near the towns of Olympia, Tenino, and Dupont, and extending to Mount Rainier. Changed by the Euro-American settlers about 150 years ago.

The Nisqually Indian tribe is a Lushootseed speaking language tribe. They are known as southern Coast Salish people. They are recognized as the Nisqually Indian tribe, and the Confederate Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation.


The Nisqually tribe came north from the Great Basin, over the Cascade Mountains, to settling near the Mashel River some 5,000- 10,000 years ago.
*Though many events occured prior to Eropean introduction, the lack of written documentation made it near impossible to find important events with specific dates prior to the arrival of europeans*
In 1853 washington was established as American territory threatening the nisqually tribes freedom.
In 1854 the medicine creek treaty was signed between the Nisqually, Puyallup and Squaxin Island tribes with Governor Isaac Stevens.
In 1885-1886 Nisqually, Muckleshoot, Puyallup, and Klickitat went to war against the U.S government and Oregon and Washington Militias this war is refered to as 'Treaty war' or 'Puget sound war'


The Nisqually trvelled north from the Great Basin, over the Cascade Mountain Range and established their first village in a basin now known as Skate Creek
The Nisqually people were located in 13 villages located along Freshwater streams and salt water beaches. A series of prairies or plains led to Tacobet. (Mount Rainier) The spiritual center of the people.
They now reside Just east of Lacey and south of Dupoint.
The Nisqually reservation is approximately 5,000 acres in size
The present Nisqually Indian reservation


The Nisqually natives speak whats know as 'Lushootseed' also known as Puget Sound Salish.
Close relatives of the language were spoken by Duwamish, Steilacoom, Suquamish, Squaxin, Muckleshoot, Puyallup,
Snohomish, Stillaguamish, Skagit, and Swinomish tribes in Washington.

Social Organization and Government

Discuss how tribal society was organized.
Describe how tribal society was governed.
Analyze the social implications of the tribe's method of government.


The Nisqually tribe changed their clothing based on the time of the year during the winter they wore long sleeve buck skin shirt and leggings. During the summer the men wore buckskin cloth and the girls wore skirts made out of cedar cloth. Most of the clothing came from animal skin and fur. the females clothes were mostly made or bark. They used the cedar bark as a rain protector.

Image result for nisqually clothing
Image result for nisqually clothing

Diet and Food Sources

The pre industrial Nisqually primary diet was fish, Fresh and smoked. Men would spear or hook fish, while females would at time gather berries.


During the winter the Nisqually tribe would make little buildings that usually consisted of cedar planks that were about 30 feet wide and up to 100 feet long, the little houses were positioned in such a manner as to rebuff the wind or stormy weather to that site. Each shelter could fit up to 8 families in it, depending on the size of the building. They consisted of big Washington cedar trees they would cut down and then split the wood into boards and make the structure. They would use mud dirt and rocks to hold the building or houses into place. During the summer the Nisqually tribe would set poles down and then put either a mat or fur coat over the top for a roof to protect them from the rain.

Image result for nisqually tribe shelter
Image result for nisqually tribe shelter


Consider the tribe's transportation methods before 1500 and then again following European contact.

Tools and Weapons

Describe the tools created.
Compare the tools created by Native Americans to tools created elsewhere in the world (Europe and China) at the same time.

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

Identify the beliefs of the tribe, comparing and contrasting with neighboring tribes.
Include a creation story, if possible.

Recreation and Games

Include examples of games. If a game is sufficiently complex that you cannot describe it in words, create a graphic to explain it.

Works Cited