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Multnomah Indians

First Noted by Expedition
November 1805

The Multnomah, a Chinookan band, lived on the upper end of Sauvie Island, which sits at the mouth of the Williamette (Multnomah to the Corps) River in present-day Oregon. They lived off the plentiful fish, wappato roots, and berries found on the island.

The Corps first encountered the island in early November 1805, making note of some of the houses they could see from the river. They estimated that 800 Indians were living in five villages. On their return journey in April 1806, the Corps spent time on Sauvie Island hunting and curing meat. They had heard of the scarcity of food ahead of them and hoped to acquire enough supplies to get them to the Nez Perce.

By 1834 smallpox and malaria had decimated the Multnomah. Almost extinct by 1910, the few remaining band members were moved to the Grand Ronde Reservation in Oregon.

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