Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe

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Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 United States ( Oregon)
Coast Salish, English
Related ethnic groups
other Coast Salish peoples

The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe (Nəxʷsƛ̕ áy̕əm "strong people"[1]) is a federally recognized and sovereign Native American nation.[1][2] The tribe is part of the larger Klallam culture, part of the Coast Salish peoples of the Pacific Northwest. The traditional territory of the Klallam is the north and northeast portion of the Olympic Peninsula, in the U.S. state of Washington.


As of 2007 there are 776 enrolled members of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.[3] Of these, 112 live on the Lower Elwah Reservation,[3] an Indian reservation managed by the Lower Elwha and located at the mouth of the Elwha River, 48°8′19″N 123°33′11″W / 48.13861°N 123.55306°W / 48.13861; -123.55306,[4] about 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Port Angeles.


The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe was recognized by the United States in 1855 Point No Point Treaty. The tribe's current reservation was first acquired in trust from the United States in 1935-36. In 1968 the land was proclaimed as the Lower Elwha Reservation. Today tribal lands include about a thousand acres of land on and near the Elwha River.[1]

The Lower Elwha occupied several villages on the bay sheltered by Ediz Hook, now Port Angeles. One of these villages, Tse-whit-zen was rediscovered in 2004 during construction for a graving dock being undertaken by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). On December 21, 2004, after archaeological efforts unearthed over 10,000 artifacts and more than 335 intact skeletons WSDOT halted all construction efforts relating to the graving dock.[5]

The village of Tse-whit-zen dates back over 2,700 years, according to radiocarbon dating, and it continued to exist until as recently as the 1930s.[6] A number of mills were built on top of the village site during the 20th century. Because the ground was covered with 15 to 30 feet (4.6 to 9.1 m) of fill the village site was preserved.[5] Archaeology has revealed possibly eight longhouse structures.[7]

Notable members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe". Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs". Library of Congress. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "The People". Elwha Watershed Information Resrouce. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lower Elwha Reservation
  5. ^ a b "Tse-whit-zen". Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "Belongings of Our Ancestors". Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "Longhouse Structures". Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  8. ^ Rice, Arwyn (2013-03-19). "Lower Elwha tribal elder Adeline Smith, 95, dies". Peninsula Daily News. Retrieved 2013-04-16. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Mapes, Lynda (2009). Breaking ground: The Lower Elwha Klallam tribe and the unearthing of Tse-whit-zen Village. University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-0-295-98878-8. 

External links[edit]