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First Inhabitants: Columbia Sinkiuse

My parents gave birth to me here, and I fancy that this is my country . . . . Let me remain in my own country and I shall die contented. Chief Moses, 1870 


Chief Moses, c. 1888.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Robert H. Ruby

The town of Moses Lake, like the lake that borders it, is named after Chief Moses, leader of the Columbia-Sinkiuse in the late nineteenth century.

The interior Salish- speaking Sinkiuse lived on the east side of the Columbia River from the Grand Coulee south to Priest Rapids.

Once numbering close to 10,000, the Sinkiuse, like many other indigenous groups, were devastated by diseases that swept the Northwest coast and plateau after 1780.

 


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