Tribal Chiefs


Methow, Entiat, Wenatchi, Chelan,  Moses-Columbia, Okanogan, Lakes,  Colville, San Poil, Nespelem, Nez Perce, Palus



Chief Chiliwhist Jim

Chiliwhist Jim was a prominent medicine man and spiritual leader from the  Malott Area.

The Methow originally lived in and  around the Methow River Valley.



Chief Long Jim

Long Jim’s father was Innomeseecha,  who was also a leader of the Chelan.

The homeland of the Chelan centered  around the shoreline of Lake Chelan and  down the Chelan River to the Columbia  River.



Chief John Harmelt

John Harmelt refused to sell the  Wenatchi rights to a reservation and  remained in the Wenatchee area until his  death.

The Wenatchi people originally lived  west of the Columbia River, in the  Wenatchee River Valley.



Chief Silicosasket

Silicosasket refused to relocate to the  Colville Reservation and took an  allotment at the mouth of the Entiat River.

The Entiat lived in the Entiat River  Valley. The Entiat probably had a small-  er population than neighboring tribes.



Chief Moses

Chief Moses served his people as a  warrior during his younger years, but later tried to protect his people through diplomacy  as the leader of the Moses-Columbia.

The traditional territory of the  Moses-Columbia consisted of approximately 4.3 million acres. This area is  roughly bordered on the north and west by the Columbia River. It extends south the Pot-  holes area and east towards the Ritzville area.



Chief Tonasket

Tonasket was an Okanogan Chief born  around 1819. He maintained a ranch by  the Kettle River that included a small  general store and a horse track.

The Okanogan traditional territory is  comprised of the drainage system of the  Okanogan and Chewuch rivers, as well  as the Sinlahekin Valley.



Chief James Bernard

Chief James Bernard took many  delegation trips to Washington D.C. on  behalf of the Colville Confederated  Tribes.

The Lakes territory centered around the  upper Columbia River, possibly reaching  as far north as the “Big Bend” of the  Columbia, north of Revelstoke, British  Columbia. The southern limit of the Lakes’ land is found near Northport,  though many also fished at Kettle Falls.



Chief Kinkanaqua

Kinkanaqua was the last Salmon Chief of  Kettle Falls. Some sources report that  he had closer ties to the Lakes than the  Colville.

The Colville lived in the area between  the Kettle and Columbia Rivers south to  the mouth of the Spokane River.



Chief Jim James

Jim James was one of the last  individuals to be regarded as a  traditional chief. He presided at the  “Ceremony of Tears” prior to the  inundation of Kettle Falls in 1939 and  served his people faithfully until his  death in 1961.

The Sanpoil territory centers around the  Sanpoil River Valley, extending north to  the boundary of the current Colville Reservation.



Chief Nespelem George

Nespelem George served his people as a  peacemaker and mediator.

The Nespelem Territory starts north at  the headwaters of the Nespelem River  and heading south of the Columbia River.


Nez Perce

Chief Joseph

Chief Joseph led his band of Nez Perce who  refused to leave the Wallowa Valley until a war  erupted between his people and the U.S. Ar-  my. After years of exile in Oklahoma, Joseph accepted Chief Moses’ offer to move to  the Colville Reservation. He was never  allowed to move back to his homeland.

The majority of Nez Perce villages  concentrated on the banks of the middle  Snake and Clearwater Rivers, as well as the  northern portion of the Salmon River.



Chief Cleveland Kamiakin

Cleveland Kamiakin was a young man when  the construction began on the Grand Coulee  Dam. As a leader of his people, he spoke out  against the broken promises of reduced  electricity rates and job opportunities for  Tribal members, which the U.S. Government  had made to previous tribal leaders prior to  the construction of the dam.

The Palus territory extended from the  confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers  in the west.


Prepared by the Colville Confederated Tribes History/Archaeology Program Not For Distribution - Educational Purposes Only. Created July 2008