Finding Chief Kamiakin (Nonfiction)

Richard D. Scheuerman and Michael O. Finley, Washington State University Press, $34.95, Softcover.
Richard D. Scheuerman and Michael O. Finley, Washington State University Press, $34.95, Softcover.

This oversized and extra-illustrated paperback introduces us to a neglected chief, Kamiakin of the Yakimas. Among the illustrations are beautiful color plates of the land-scapes, as well as original drawings of Indians by Gustavus Sohon. The book offers much information on the Army’s campaigns of the 1850s in the Pacific Northwest, as well as details of tribal life. Among the officers facing Kamiakin were George McClellan, Phil Sheridan and E.O.C. Ord of later Civil War fame. Among the Indians described here, besides Kamiakin, are his son Cleveland, Chief Moses, Spokane Garry and Tilcoax, chief of the Palouse Indians. Wounded in battle in 1858 and exiled for a year, Kamiakin returned home and became the patriarch of the Yakimas. After he died, a fossil hunter desecrated his grave and took the chief’s head. It has never been located, and the tribe has never forgotten the atrocity.

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