The History of the Spokane Tribe of Indians
The Spokane Tribe of Indians ancestors inhabited much of northeastern Washington which consisted of approximately 3 million acres. At times they extended their hunting, fishing, and gathering grounds into Idaho and Montana. They are one of the Interior Salish speaking tribes, others include: the Coeur d’ Alene, Kalispel, Colville, San Poil, Nespelem, Okanagan, Lakes, the Shuswap of Canada and the Pend Oreille and Salish of the Flathead reservation.
Spokane ancestors were a river people, living a semi-nomadic way of life hunting, fishing, and gathering all creator had made available to them. Living along the banks of the Spokane and Columbia rivers and scattered up the tributaries. Their primary diet consisted of what was taken from the water ways in the form of salmon, steelhead, eel, and shellfish which made up 60% of their diet.
In 1858, with no treaty established or adequate communications from the Federal Government, the Spokane’s defended their families and country as U.S. soldiers marched through their country.
In 1881, President Rutherford B. Hayes formerly established the Spokane Indian Reservation of approximately 154,602 land acres known as Chief Lot’s reservation.
In 1887, the Upper and Middle Spokanes signed an Agreement to move to the Coeur d’Alene, Jocko (Flathead) or Colville reservations; ultimately some did move to the Spokane reservation.
In 1951, the Spokane Tribe officially became one of 574 recognized tribal governments within the United States following the passage of their formal Constitution that governs them today.
Today the Spokane Tribe of Indians primary government operations are located in Wellpinit Washington with a citizen population of approximately 2,900 enrolled members.