Washington: Colville Reservation


The Colville Tribes include 12 confederated bands, now known as the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, namely: Chelan, Chief Joseph Band of Nez Perce, Colville, Entiat, Lakes, Methow, Moses-Columbia, Nespelem, Okanogan, Palus, San Poil and Wenatchi. The traditional territories of the Colville Tribes extended across eastern Washington and into portions of British Columbia, Oregon and Idaho. This expanse covered approximately 39 million acres. 

Prior to the influx of Canadians and Europeans in the mid-1850s, the ancestors of the tribes were nomadic, following the seasons of nature and their sources of food. Many ancestors traveled throughout the northwest, gathering with other Native peoples for traditional activities such as food harvesting, feasting, trading, and celebrations that included sports and gambling. Their lives were tied to the cycles of nature both spiritually and traditionally. 

History of the Reservation: The tribe’s history is tied to Kettle Falls, an important salmon fishing resource and an important post of the Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1846 the Jesuit St. Paul’s Mission was established. Through its influence, most of the upper Columbia tribes were Christianized. In February of 1938, the federal government approved the tribes’ constitution and by-laws which led to the establishment of the Colville Business Council.  

In 1872, the Colville Tribe was relocated to the Colville Indian Reservation, established by Executive Order of President Grant in 1872. This reserve was originally twice as large as it is today. Covered with mountains, range land, timberlands, lakes and streams, the reservation is bordered on the east, south and west by the Columbia and Okanogan rivers. 

Life on the Reservation: Today, the Colville Reservation is home to 7,000 people, although 9,300 members are enrolled in the tribe. Residents live on 1.35 million acres (about the size of Delaware) that are divided into tribally owned lands, individually owned trust lands and non-tribally owned lands. Most of these communities are connected via state-maintained highways. The main economy is comprised of tourism, gaming, agriculture and timber industries. Despite these advances, 1 in 4 people live in poverty. The unemployment rate is about 14% and the median income is nearly $46,000.  

Colville on the map: North-central Washington 


Income, Poverty, Population, Acres: https://censusreporter.org/profiles/25200US0760R-colville-reservation/ and https://www.census.gov/tribal/?aianihh=0760 

History https://www.npaihb.org/member-tribes/colville-tribes/ 

Enrollment, General Info https://www.colvilletribes.com/ 

Joblessness https://www.minneapolisfed.org/indiancountry/resources/reservation-profiles/colville-reservation