Native American Tribes Nations and Confederacies: Cayuse

The Cayuse are native North Americans who originally occupied parts of North Oregon and Washington. They were closely associated with the Nez Percé tribe, and spoke a language belonging to the Sahaptin-Chinook branch of the Penutian linguistic stock.

A mission was established at Waiilatpu in 1836, among them was a missionary by the name of Marcus Whitman. In 1847 the Cayuse, blaming the missionaries for an outbreak of smallpox, attacked the mission and killed the Whitman's and their helpers which led to the settlers declaring war on the tribe.

In 1855 they were placed on the Umatilla Reservation in Oregon, which they continue to share with the Wallawalla and Umatilla peoples as by 1990 they were among the smallest groups of Native Americans, numbering a mere 126.

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