The Indian people gave the name squalli to the grasses that grew in the vast lowlands.They called the big stream the Squalli River and called themselves the "Squalli-absch", meaning the people of the grass country, the people of the river. Over time, the name Squalli-absch, evolved into the name of Nisqually.


1853: Washington Territory was established
December 1854: Medicine Creek Treaty was signed
1855: Treaty wars of 1855-1856
1895: Reburial of Leschi and Quiemuth
1917: US Army moves onto Nisqually land. (Fort Lewis Military Reserve)
1933: Indian Reorganization Act
1945: Nisqually created a tribal constitution
1946: Indian Claims Comission
1964: Survival of American Indians
Feb 12, 1974: Bolt Decisions: US vs WA
Feb 13, 1974: Northwest Indian Commission
March 1977: Indian fishing rights in the Pacific Northwest


The Nisqually Indians came north from the Great Basin, crossed the Cascade Mountain Range and made their first village in a basin now known as Skate Creek. The tribe lives on a reservation in the Nisqually River valley near the river delta. The Nisqually reservation is approximately 5,000 acres in size. In 1917 the us military took 3,370 acres of the Nisqually Indians reservation to build the Fort Lewis Military Reserve which made them go out and seek housing and live elsewhere.


The Nisqually tribe language was the Lushootseed language, which is the traditional tongue of the Nisqually and neighboring tribes. It is a subgroup of the Salishan family of Native American languages. Lushootseed is also known as Whulshootseed Salish which is an Salishan language of the north west coast, spoken by more than a dozen small Puget Sound Salish tribes. Some of those dialects are no longer spoken today.

Social Organization and Government

The people of the Tribe in the General Council have to be all enrolled tribal members that are at least 18 years of age or older. The every day business and economic affairs of the tribe are overseen by a tribal council composed of seven tribal members elected by the tribe’s voting membership.


During the summers the men wore buckskin breech cloth and the girls wore a skirt with a cedar bark breech cloth. Cedar bark garments were used to help deflect the rain, and buckskin garments were used for warmth during the colder days. Most of the men’s clothing came from animal skins and furs. Wearing almost nothing during warm weather, the men also wore long sleeved buckskin shirts and leggings in winter.

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Diet and Food Sources

The nisqually tribe were huge fishing people. Salmon was their main diet. They lived off of the river and their unique fishing skills. They harvested shellfish from the sound and also gathered berries . Even though they raised horses, they also hunted them.

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There are 2 main types of shelter that the Nisqually Indian tribe made. There was one for summer and one for winter and that provide good reasons. During the cold months during winter, they made houses made out of cedar wood and planks and used rectangular platforms as beds. For the warmer months during summer they had very temporary structures that could easily be taken down so they could move quickly so they could get their food. What they used for the vastly easy shelter to move was made out of bundles of cattail matting that was tightly woven around the structure of slender poles in a variety of different shapes.

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The Nisqually people traveled mostly by foot and on horses.When it came to crossing over water, they traveled by canoe.

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Tools and Weapons

one major tool that the Nisqaully tribe used was the Uniface. the uniface is made out of Basalt, Granite, Lithic, and Petrified wood. It was used as a knife, pick, scraper, or even a weapon. They also used bones or wood to make shredders that would take bark off of trees. they would use the best pieces of wood that they could find to make bows and the arrows they used were made from ground stones or shells that were as sharp as knives. They used and "adze" that they used to scrape and smooth the large planks that they used to build their houses. Salmon hooks and fishing clubs were made out of bone and digging tools were made out of elk horns.
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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

lesechi, the nisqually cheif. (2009). Retrieved Febuary 23, 2015, from leschischools:
Nisqually indian tribe. (2014). Retrieved Febuary 18, 2015, from us history:
Nisqually indian tribe. (2015). Retrieved Febuary 18, 2015, from Nisqually nsn:
Nisqually people and the river. (2105). Retrieved febuary 18, 2015, from yelmhistoryproject:
the native peoples. (n.d.). Retrieved Febuary 20, 2015, from rising phoenix: