Clackamas people

Published on October 2, 2012 by Amy

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The First People of Clackamas County
The First People of Clackamas County

The Clackamas Indians are a tribe of Native Americans of the U.S. state of Oregon who traditionally lived along the Clackamas River in the Willamette Valley. Lewis and Clark estimated their population at 1800 in 1806. At the time the tribe lived in 11 villages and subsisted on fish and roots.

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By 1855, the 88 surviving members of the tribe were relocated to Grand Ronde, Oregon, first to the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation; later they blended in the general population.

Descendants of the Clackamas belong to the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon.

Like others of the Chinookan tribes, they practiced head flattening. From infancy the head was compressed between boards, thus sloping the forehead backward.

They are the technical owners of the Willamette Meteorite.


The now-extinct language spoken by the Clackamas is also known as Clackamas, and is one of the Chinookan languages, specifically a variety of Upper Chinook. It is closely related to the still-living (but highly endangered) Wasco-Wishram language, which is another variety of Upper Chinook.

A number of toponyms around the Columbia River derive from Clackamas, notably:

  • Various places called Clackamas themselves;
  • Various places called Willamette.
  • Source: wikipedia Unabridged
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