October 15, 2015

Yakama Nation History Timeline


The Yakama Nation is an indigenous tribe of the Pacific Northwest who live in Washington State. Here is a brief timeline of their history with Europeans from the 1750s to the present.


  • 1750’s: The Yakama acquire the horse and their lifestyle changed as they were able to travel to the Great Plains to hunt buffalo.

  • 1805: Contact was made between the Yakama tribe and the Lewis and Clark expedition in October 1805 near the confluence of the Yakima and Columbia rivers

  • 1812: A trading post known as Spokane House was built near the confluence of Spokane and Little Spokane Rivers

  • 1825: The Hudson’s Bay Company established Fort Vancouver as a trading post

  • 1836: Henry Marcus Whitman founded a Presbyterian mission at Waiilatpu and made contact with the tribe

  • 1840’s: Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, was sent by U.S. government to explore the Pacific Coast.

  • 1843: The first major migration along the Oregon Trail took place which eventually led to violent conflicts with the white settlers who traveled in wagon trains along the Oregon trail

  • 1845: The white settlers brought various diseases to the Native Indians who lived in the surrounding areas of the Oregon Trail

  • 1847: Many of the Yakama tribe are wiped out by a devastating series of measles and smallpox epidemics

  • 1847: The Whitman Massacre led to the outbreak of the Cayuse War

  • 1847: The Yakama tribe fought with their Native Indian allies in the Cayuse War (1847-1855)

  • 1855: Isaac Stevens (March 25, 1818 – September 1, 1862) , governor of Washington Territory, negotiated a treaty with the Yakama.

  • 1855: The Yakima treaty was signed on 9 July 1855

  • 1855: Governor Stevens opened Native Indian lands for white settlers less than two weeks after the treaty was signed. Yakama chief, Chief Kamiakin, called upon the tribes to oppose the declaration.

  • 1855: The Yakima War (1855-1858) erupted

  • 1855: The Battle of Toppenish Creek in Yakima Valley was fought on October 5, 1855 and was a major victory for Chief Kamiakin and the Yakama tribe

  • 1855: The Battle at Union Gap was fought on November 9 and 10, 1855.

  • 1857: The Fraser Canyon gold Rush

  • 1858: The Yakima War escalated to the other Native Indian tribes

  • 1858: The Battle of Four Lakes on September 1, 1858 saw the end of the Yakima War

  • 1858: The events at “Horse Slaughter Camp” concluded the Coeur d’Alene and Yakima Wars.

  • 1859: The treaty was broken, the US gave only half of what was promised to the Yakama people

  • 1860: The first government school for Native American Indians was established on the Yakima Reservation, Washington Territory

  • 1887: Dawes General Allotment Act passed by Congress leads to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Indian lands to white settlers

  • 1933: The Yakama tribe was organized as the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama Nation.

  • 1994: the Yakima Nation adopted the spelling of its name as “Yakama,” which they feel is the more correct historical spelling of their name.

Tribal Timelines
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