Published on December 18, 2012 by Amy
The Chehalis people are a native people of western Washington state in the United States. Today they are enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, a federally recognized tribe. They should not be confused with the similarly named Chehalis First Nation of the Harrison River in the Fraser Valley area of British Columbia.
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The Chehalis of Washington consists of two divisions: The Upper Chehalis and the Lower Chehalis. Within these were several tribes: the Copalis, Wynoochee and Humptulips people were part of the Lower Chehalis, while the Satsop people were part of the Upper Chehalis. The boundary between the two groups was the confluence of the Chehalis River and Satsop River.
The Chehalis language belongs to the Coast Salish family of languages among Northwest Coast indigenous peoples.
Like many Northwest Coast natives, the Chehalis relied on fishing from local rivers for food and built plank houses (longhouses) to protect themselves from the harsh, wet winters west of the Cascade Mountains.
The Chehalis people settled on their current Chehalis Indian Reservation along the Chehalis River in 1860. The reservation has a land area of 18.188 km² (7.022 sq mi) in southeastern Grays Harbor and southwestern Thurston Counties. As of the 2000 census its resident population was 691 persons. The major communities within the reservation are Chehalis Village and part of the city of Oakville.