Information about the Palouse

The Palus tribe is one of twelve aboriginal tribes enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. A variant spelling is Palouse which was the source of the name for the fertile prairie of Washington and Idaho.


The people are one of the Sahaptin speaking goups of Native Americans living on the Columbia Plateau in eastern Washington, northeastern Oregon, and North Central Idaho.


The people of the region lived in three main groups, the Upper, Middle, and Lower bands. Traditional lands included areas around waterways such as the Columbia, Snake and Palouse Rivers.

The ancestral people were nomadic, following food sources during the seasons. The Palus people gathered with other native peoples for activities such as food gathering, hunting, feasting, trading, and celebrations that included dancing, sports and gambling. They lived near other groups including the Nez Perce, Wanapum, Walla Walla, and Yakama peoples.

In October 1805, Lewis and Clark met with the tribe, although most were away from the area for fall food gathering and hunting. Diaries of the Corps of Discovery show the people as a separate and distinct group form the Nez Perce.

The people were were expert horsemen and the term Appaloosa is probably a derivation of the term Palouse horse. Hundreds of tribal horses were slaughtered to cripple the tribe during the Indian Wars in the mid to late nineteenth century.


Trafzer, Clifford E., and Richard D. Scheuerman. Renegade Tribe: The Palouse Indians and the Invasion of the Inland Pacific Northwest. Pullman, WA.: Washington State University Press, 1986.

The above includes excerpts from Wikipedia.org, the free encyclopedia:

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