Collection Description

Culture Name


Culture Description

The Klamath are Native Americans living in southwestern Oregon. Traditionally, the Klamath were fishers, gatherers, and hunters. On the reservation, the Klamath added stock raising and logging to their economic pursuits. Off the reservation, day labor, particularly farm work, became more important. Unlike many other groups, the Klamath did not suffer from European-introduced epidemic diseases or from hostilities with Euro-American settlers. In 1864 the Klamath entered into a treaty with the Federal government, ceding most of their aboriginal land in return for the more than one million acre Klamath Reservation.


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North America --Plains and Plateau


United States

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Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in this eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

There are eleven sources included in the Klamath file. They focus on tribal origins, traditional culture, social change, and mythology. The earliest is by Gatschet (1890, no. 7) based on field work carried out in 1877 and includes information on geography, settlements, folklore, language, and mythology. Spier (1930, no. 1) produced a "memory ethnography" based on informant recollections of ca. 1860 tribal life. He also compared Klamath cultural traits with those of neighboring groups in order to establish Klamath origins and affiliations. Stern wrote about the history, culture, and politics of the Klamath reservation (Stern 1962, no. 10; 1965, no. 3) and a study of Klamath myths and their narration (Stern 1956, no. 11). Barker (1963, no. 9) also recorded Klamath mythology and life histories. Other articles in the file include studies of Klamath childhood and socialization (Pearsall 1950, no. 4), material culture (Barrett 1910, no. 5), personality and acculturation (Clifton and Levine 1963, no. 6), comparative religion (Spencer 1952, no. 8), and songs and their interpretation (Weaver 1983, no. 12). For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

This culture summary was based on the article, "Klamath," by M. Marlene Martin, from the Encyclopedia of World Cultures, Vol. 1. 1991. Timothy O'Leary and David Levinson, eds. Boston, Mass.: G. K. Hall & Co. Population figures, recent history, and certain information was updated by Ian Skoggard, 1996. The synopsis and indexing notes were written by Ian Skoggard, 1996.

Bureau of Indian Affairs -- 657

executive committees of the General Council -- 646

General Council -- 646

lobbying efforts in Congress -- 664

narrators of myths -- 538, 5310

Superintendent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs -- 657

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