Elderly Klamath woman by Edward
Klamath are a Native American tribe
of the Plateau culture area in Southern Oregon.
A Klamath man; a full image is
the arrival of European explorers, the Klamath people lived in the
area around the Upper Klamath Lake and the Klamath,
Williamson, and Sprague rivers.
primarily on fish and gathered roots and seeds.
Klamath were known to raid neighboring tribes (such as the Achomawi on the Pit River), and occasionally to take prisoners as
slaves. Kit Carson
arrows of the Klamath, and it is reported that they could shoot
those arrows through a horse. They traded with the Chinookan people at The Dalles.
In 1826 Peter Skene Ogden
explorer for the Hudson's Bay
, first encountered the Klamath people, and he was
trading with them by 1829.
Treaty with the United States
States, the Klamaths, Modocs, and
Yahooskin band of Snake tribes signed a
treaty in 1864, establishing the Klamath Reservation, to the northeast of
Upper Klamath Lake. The treaty had the tribes cede the land in
Basin, bounded on the north by the 44th parallel, to the
In return, the United States was to make a
lump sum payment of $35,000, and annual payments totalling $80,000
over 15 years, as well as providing infrastructure and staff for
the reservation. The treaty provided that, if the Indians drank or
stored intoxicating liquor on the reservation, the payments could
be withheld and that the United States could locate additional
tribes on the reservation in the future. The tribes requested
as the agent to
represent the United States to them. The Indian agent estimated the
total population of the three tribes at about 2,000 when the treaty
Klamath, along with the Modoc and Yahooskin, form the Klamath
Tribes confederation, with their tribal government based in
Klamaths live on the Quartz Valley Indian
Community in Siskiyou County, California.
The Klamath spoke one dialect of the Klamath–Modoc language, the
other being spoken by the Modoc
lived south of the Klamath. Once thought to be a language isolate,
Klamath–Modoc is now considered a member of the Plateau Penutian
Both the Klamath and the Modoc called themselves maqlaqs
meaning "people." When they wanted to distinguish between
themselves, the Klamath were called ?ewksiknii
, "people of
the [Klamath] Lake," and the Modoc were called
, "people of the south."
Klamath people are grouped with the Plateau Indians—the peoples who originally
lived on the Columbia River Plateau.
They were most closely linked with the
- Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the
Secretary of the Interior for the year 1865: Reports of Agents in
Oregon Washington: United States Office of Indian Affairs,
- Hale, Horation. "The Klamath Nation: the country and the
people". Science. vol. 19, no. 465, 1892.
- Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians north
of Mexico. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1907.
- Mithun, Marianne. (1999). The languages of Native North
America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN
0-521-23228-7 (hbk); ISBN 0-521-29875-X.
- Waldman, Carl. Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes.
New York: Checkmark, 1999. ISBN 0-8160-3964-X