The Indian chief Kamiakin

Essay by KristythespecialJunior High, 9th gradeA+, March 2003

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Chief Kamiakin was born around 1800 and he died in 1877. His father, Tsyiyak, was a Palouse Indian and his mother, Kamoshnite, was a Yakima Indian. Both his mother's father and brother were also Yakima chiefs. Kamiakin was not the head chief of the Yakima Indians because there were several chiefs of different Indian bands. The people of the Yakima tribe were what are called Plateau Indians. They ate mostly salmon, roots, berries, and nuts.

Chief Kamiakin grew up in central Washington but later traveled with his family to the Great Plains. While living there, Kamiakin became a skilled warrior and buffalo hunter. He was considerably wealthy as an Indian and throughout the course of his life he married five wives. His first wife was his cousin. The four other women were members of a different rival tribe. The fact that he married these women infuriated his uncles but it created ties between the Yakima tribe and the rival tribe.

In 1853, the Oregon Territory split in two and thus created Washington Territory. Of this new territory, Kamiakin was the most important chief. By 1855, tensions had built up between the Yakima Indians and the American government. The US attempted to place the Yakima tribe on an Indian reservation. The Indians didn't like that idea too well and it ended up in war. Chief Kamiakin faithfully led his troops through the war until in finally ended in 1859. The Yakima Indians lost the war and were placed in an Indian Reservation.

After the war, Kamiakin moved to Canada and then to Montana where he befriended some Flathead Indians and settled with them. In 1860, he moved back to his Father's homeland and was kind of antisocial after that. He spent those days fishing, hunting, gathering and gardening.