To get started in American Indian Research
Alternate names: Spokan
Spokane Tribe of Indians
P.O. BOX 100
Wellpinit, WA 99040
The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions sent missionaries to the tribe in the mid 1800s. They established the Tshimakain Mission.
Smallpox and measles epidemics depopulated the tribes in the years 1782 and in 1847.
Emigration on the Oregon Trail caused conflict with the tribe as the trail went through their lands.
At the battle at Te-hots-Ne-Mah, in which U.S. troops under the command of Colonel Steptoe battled the Spokane, Palouse, Coeur d'Alene, Columbia River, Colville Calispel and Spokane Indian tribes, the tribes were defeated.
The Lower Spokanes moved to the Spokane Reservation in 1877.
The Spokane Reservation was established in 1881, and when the army abanded Fort Spokane, the tribe utilized the old fort as a school.
The tribe has divided into Upper, Middle, and Lower Spokane bands/groups. The Upper and Middle Spokanes moved to the Colville Flathead Reservation in 1887.
- 1782: Smallpox epidemic
- 1838-1848: The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions sent missionaries among the tribe. The Tshimakain Mission was established
- 1843- ----: Oregon Trail
- 1847: Measles epidemic
- 1858: Colonel Steptoe battled the Spokane, Palouse, Coeur d'Alene, Yakama and other tribes at Te-hots-Ne-Mah
- 1858: Battle of Four Lakes, Colonel Wright fought with the Coeur d'Alene, Columbia River, Colville, Kalispel and Spokane Indians; the Indians were defeated
- 1881: Spokane Reservation is established
- 1896: U.S. Army abandoned Fort Spokane; the tribe established a boarding school there.
- 1906: Indian Agents alloted land to 651 Spokan tribal members
- 1951: 1st constitution and bylaws for the Spokane Tribe of Spokane Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington
- 1980: The Commissioner of Indian Affairs ratified a constitution and bylaws for the Spokane Tribe of the Spokane Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington
Additional References to the History of the Tribe
- Frederick Webb Hodge, in his Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, gave a more complete history of the Spokane tribe, with estimations of the population of the tribe at various time periods.
- Additional details are given in John Swanton's The Indian Tribes of North America.
The majority of records of individuals were those created by the agencies. Some records may be available to tribal members through the tribal headquarters.They were (and are) the local office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and were charged with maintaining records of the activities of those under their responsibility. Among these records are:
- Allotment records
- Annuity rolls
- Census records
- Health records
- School census and records
- Vital records
The following agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs had jurisdiction over the Spokane for the time periods indicated. BIA agencies were responsible to keep such records as census rolls, allotment (land) records, annuity rolls, school records, correspondence, and other records of individual Indians under their jurisdiction. For details, see the page for the respective agency.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs compiled annual Indian Census Rolls on many of the reservations from 1885 to 1940. They list the names of individuals, their age, and other details about each person enumerated. For more information about these records, click here.
The following table lists the census rolls for the Spokane Indians:
M595 RG 75 Rolls -- 692 Rolls
|Colville Agency, 1865-1952||Seattle||-||FHL Films: 574208-574215|
|Spokane Agency, 1885-1950||Seattle||49-56, 546||FHL Film 583005|
In 1905, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs assigned Special Agent Thomas Downs to investigate the enrollment of the Indians of the Flathead Reservation. The National Archives has microfilmed the resulting documents as their Microcopy M1350, consisting of 3 rolls of microfilm. These records are available at the National Archives and their Regional Archives, and at other research institutions, including the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The records include census rolls for 1903, 1905, and 1908, as well as applications for enrollment and Agent Downs' field notes. It includes members of all tribes then living on the Flathead Reservation, including the Flathead, Kootenai, Pend d'Oreille, Kalispel, and Spokane tribes.
Tribal Office Records
The Tribal Office is responsible for enrollment records, vital records, tribal police records, tribal court records, employment records and many others. They are an entirely different set of records from those kept by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Most of them remain in the Tribal Office. For details, contact that office at the address for the Tribal Headquarters listed above.
Prior to the Indian Reorganization Act, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, through their agencies, may have recorded some vital events. Some were recorded on health forms, such as the "Sanitary Record of Sick, Injured, Births, Deaths, etc." Others were recorded as supplements to the "Indian Census Rolls." Some were included in the unindexed reports and other correspondence of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Some vital records for the Spokane Indians include:
- Colville Agency, M595, births and deaths 1924-1932, FHL Film: 574214 and 1935,1936,1938,1939, FHL Film: 574215
Important Web Sites
- Spokane Tribe Official Web Site
- Constitution and By-Laws of the Spokane Tribe of the Spokane Reservation Washington. Approved June 27, 1951.
- Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives; Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
- Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906 Available online.
- Klein, Barry T., ed. Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian. Nyack, New York: Todd Publications, 2009. 10th ed. WorldCat 317923332; FHL book 970.1 R259e.
- Malinowski, Sharon and Sheets, Anna, eds. The Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1998. 4 volumes. Includes: Lists of Federally Recognized Tribes for U.S., Alaska, and Canada – pp. 513-529 Alphabetical Listing of Tribes, with reference to volume and page in this series Map of “Historic Locations of U.S. Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Canadian Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Mexican, Hawaiian and Caribbean Native Groups” Maps of “State and Federally Recognized U.S. Indian Reservations. WorldCat 37475188; FHL book 970.1 G131g.
- Vol. 1 -- Northeast, Southeast, Caribbean
- Vol. 2 -- Great Basin, Southwest, Middle America
- Vol. 3 -- Arctic, Subarctic, Great Plains, Plateau
- Vol. 4 -- California, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Islands
- Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians. 20 vols., some not yet published. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1978– .
- Volume 1 -- Not yet published
- Volume 2 -- Indians in Contemporary Society (pub. 2008) -- WorldCat 234303751
- Volume 3 -- Environment, Origins, and Population (pub. 2006) -- WorldCat 255572371
- Volume 4 -- History of Indian-White Relations (pub. 1988) -- WorldCat 19331914; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.4.
- Volume 5 -- Arctic (pub. 1984) -- WorldCat 299653808; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.5.
- Volume 6 -- Subarctic (pub. 1981) -- WorldCat 247493742; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.6.
- Volume 7 -- Northwest Coast (pub. 1990) -- WorldCat 247493311
- Volume 8 -- California (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 13240086; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.8.
- Volume 9 -- Southwest (pub. 1979) -- WorldCat 26140053; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.9.
- Volume 10 -- Southwest (pub. 1983) -- WorldCat 301504096; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.10.
- Volume 11 -- Great Basin (pub. 1986) -- WorldCat 256516416; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.11.
- Volume 12 -- Plateau (pub. 1998) -- WorldCat 39401371; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.12.
- Volume 13 -- Plains, 2 vols. (pub. 2001) -- WorldCat 48209643
- Volume 14 -- Southeast (pub. 2004) -- WorldCat 254277176
- Volume 15 -- Northwest (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 356517503; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.15.
- Volume 16 -- Not yet published
- Volume 17 -- Languages (pub. 1996) -- WorldCat 43957746
- Volume 18 -- Not yet published
- Volume 19 -- Not yet published
- Volume 20 -- Not yet published