July 11, 2012

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe


The federally recognized Muckleshoot Indian Tribe are a Lushootseed Native American tribe, part of the Coast Salish peoples of the Pacific Northwest.  They are composed of descendants of various tribal groups who inhabited Central Puget Sound and occupied the Green and White River drainages from the rivers’ confluence in present-day Auburn to their headwaters in the Cascades.

Official Tribal Name: Muckleshoot Indian Tribe of the Muckleshoot Reservation


Official Website:

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

  • The historic Buklshuhls (later known as Muckleshoot) (buklshuhls – “from a high point from which you can see”, which probably referred to a lookout site between the White and Green Rivers, lived along the White River, from Kent eastwards to the mountains and eventually to the Green River)
  • The Duwamish (before mid-1850s two tribes)
    • Dxʷ’Dəw?Abš / Dkhw’Duw’Absh (“People of the Inside (the environs of Elliott Bay),” also known as doo-AHBSH – “People of the Doo, i.e. Inside”)
    • Xacuabš (“People of the Large Lake (Lake Washington)”, also known as hah-choo-AHBSH – “people of HAH-choo”, meaning ‘a large lake’, referring to present-day Lake Washington).
  • The Snoqualmie (S·dukʷalbixʷ / Sduqwalbixw) (living along Tolt River and Snoqualmie River).
  • Upper Puyallup (River) people: Puyallup (Spuyaləpabš or S’Puyalupubsh) bands along the Upper Puyallup River.
  • White River Valley tribes:
    • The Stkamish / Skekomish (Steq-ABSH) (“People of the log jam”, named after the village Steq (“log jam”) on the White (now Green) River in the Kent vicinity, the people of Steq were the Steq-ABSH; Settlers and government officials anglicized “Steq-ABSH” into Stkamish and applied the term to all villages between Auburn and Renton Junction, also known as White River Indians).
    • The Smulkamish / Smalhkamish (“People of White River”, named after the term that referred to the former course of the Upper White River, they lived in villages on the present Muckleshoot Indian Reservation and near present-day Enumclaw).
    • The Skopamish (Skop-ABSH / Skwohp-AHBSH) (“The People of the variable stream” or “Green (‘fluctuating’) River People”, lived in the central Green River Valley, mostly above the former confluence near present Auburn. The term skop means “first big and then little,” in apparent reference to fluctuations of the Green River; another explanation comes from the village name ill-AHL-koh (“confluence” or “striped water”) at the historic confluence of the White and Green Rivers at the present-day town of Auburn, possibly from the striped appearance of the Green River below the confluence before the waters merged, also known as Green River Indians).
  • The Tkwakwamish / T’Qua-qua-mish (along the heads of the Puyallup River).
  • The Yilalkoamish tribe.
  • The Dothliuk (lived in the area of South Prairie, Washington, south of the mouth of the Cole Creek into the South Prairie Creek, a Carbon River tributary).

Common Name / Meaning of Common Name:

Muckleshoot Tribe

Alternate names / Alternate spellings / Misspellings:

Formerly known as the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe of the Muckleshoot Reservation

Name in other languages:

Region: Northwest Coast

State(s) Today: Washington

Traditional Territory:

Confederacy: Coast Salish (Lushootseed)


Reservation: Muckleshoot Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land

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Bands, Gens, and Clans

Related Tribes:

The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe is one of the four Klallam tribes. Three are based in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and one in British Columbia, Canada. There are also Klallam people on several other reservations in the US. They are also related to the Sook and other Tribes of British Columbia, and to most of the Tribes of the Puget Sound Area.

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US Tribes K to M
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