Facts about the Palouse Native Indian
This article contains fast, fun facts and
interesting information about the Palouse Native
American Indian tribe. Find answers to questions
did the Palouse tribe live, what clothes did they wear, what
did they eat and who were the names of their most
famous leaders? Discover what happened to the
Palouse tribe with facts about their wars and
What language did the Palouse tribe speak?
The Palouse tribe spoke in a Sahaptian dialect
of the Penutian language and called themselves
the "Pallotepellows" meaning "people living in
the gooseberry valley". The name 'Palouse' was
derived from the French word 'pelouse' meaning a
grassy expanse an reflects the prairies and rich
grasslands of their territories.
Who were the allies and enemies of the Palouse
The allies of the Palouse tribe were many of
the other Native American Indians who inhabited
the Plateau region including the Cayuse, Walla
Walla, Spokane, Coeur D'Alene, Yakama and the
Nez Perce. The main enemies of the Palouse
tribe were the Great Basin groups to the south,
including the Shoshone, Northern Paiute, and the
Where did the Palouse tribe live?
The Palouse are people of the Plateau Native
American cultural group. The location of their
tribal homelands are shown on the map. The
geography of the region in which they lived
dictated the lifestyle and culture of the Palouse
The tribe lived along the mouth of the
Palouse and the south banks of the Columbia
and Snake Rivers
Land: Fast flowing rivers, lakes, forests
Climate: Warm summers and cold, snowy
Animals: The animals included elk,
deer, mountain goat, groundhog, coyote, raccoon,
bear, fox, porcupine, weasel, beaver and hare
Fish: Salmon, steelhead trout
Natural Resources: Berries, bulbs, roots and
What was the lifestyle and culture of the
The Palouse tribe were one of the tribes of the Plateau
Culture area. They lived a semi-nomadic
lifestyle fishing, hunting, or gathering wild
plants for food. The Palouse were divided into
the Upper, Middle, and Lower bands and lived in pit houses in the
winter and tule-mat lodges or tepees in the summer.
The introduction of the horse in the 1750's
brought about a change in lifestyle and many of
the people traveled to the Great Plains to hunt
buffalo. The people are famous for breeding the
speedy, sturdy, spotted horses now called
Appaloosas, that were named after the Palouse
tribe. The Lewis and Clark expedition encountered the
Palouse tribe during their explorations. The
rich grasslands and prairies of the Palouse
territory enabled the tribe to become horse
breeders and horse traders. The Palouse adopted
many of the ideas of the Great Plains Indians
including the use of the tepee which were
covered with buffalo hides and some items of
clothing also made from buffalo hides.
The Palouse tribe and the Lewis and Clark
Lewis and Clark encountered the Plateau Palouse tribe in October
1805. and Meriwether Lewis, a noted
horseman, described the Appaloosa in his
journal dated February 15, 1806 "Their horses
appear to be of an excellent race. They are
lofty, elegantly formed, and durable...some of
these horses are pided with large spots of white
irregularly scattered and intermixed with black,
brown, bay or some other dark color".
What did the Palouse tribe live in?
The Palouse were semi-nomadic and needed
shelters that were easy to set up and take
down. They lived in one of three shelters,
depending on the season. The types of
shelters were a semi-subterranean pit
house, a tepee or a tule-mat lodge.
Pit houses were winter shelters that were built
with logs and sealed for insulation with
dirt and grasses. These Palouse homes were built
below ground with an entrance and ladder
at the top
The summer shelters were the tepee and tule-mat
lodge, both above ground.
covered with animal skins but the tule-mat
lodge was covered with mats of strong,
durable, tule reeds (bulrushes).
What transportation did the Palouse use?
The men of the Palouse tribe built dugout canoes
made from the hollowed-out logs of large trees. The
men hollowed logs with controlled fire that
softened the timber so they could carve and
shape their canoes to have a flat bottom with
straight sides. The dugout
canoes were important to the
way of life of the Palouse as semi-nomadic
fishers and hunters and was
a perfect means of transportation for travel along
fast streams and shallow waters of the Columbia
and Snake Rivers.
What food did the Palouse tribe eat?
The food of the Palouse tribe included salmon
and trout and a variety of meats from the
animals and birds they hunted. They supplemented
their protein diet with seeds, roots, nuts and fruits.
What weapons did the Palouse use?
The weapons used were spears,
clubs, knives and bows and arrows. The Cayuse
also used shields for defensive purposes.
What clothes did the Palouse wear?
The clothes worn by the men the men and women of
the tribe were similar to the clothing of the
Nez Perce -
please refer to this article for details.