Dalles Indians

In the Carlisle Indian School records, Victor H. Johnson was listed as a member of the Dalles Tribe, a tribe I had never heard of.

Searching the internet provided nothing, so I initially wondered if there was a mistake.  However, turning to Frederick Hodges Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico provided information, although not a lot.

He described the Dalles thus:

The Chonookan tribes formerly living at the Dalles, Oregon and on the opposite side of the Columbia river.  While tribes of other stocks, notably Shahaptian, frequently visited The Dalles during the summer, they were not permenent residents.  Of the Chonookan tribes, the Wasco were important and the term is sometimes limited to that tribe.

Lewis and Clark references them as the La Dalle Indians in 1842 and in Parker in 1846 names them as La Dalles Indians.  The woodcut above was created in 1841.

He gives sources for the Dalles as:

US Indian Treaty 1855 and 1873

Lee and Frost, Oregon, 1844

This area of the Columbia River was rich in salmon.  Native people would fish from piers and spear the fish as they swam past.  This photo from the University of Washington Library, shows this process in the region known as “The Dalles.”  Later, dip netting was used.

The area was flooded in 1957 and no longer exists.


This site shows the location as well as a mural depicting fishing in ancient times.



About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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