Cayuse

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Cayuse

(kīyo͞os`), Native North Americans who formerly occupied parts of NE Oregon and SE Washington. They were closely associated with the Nez PercéNez Percé
[Fr.,=pierced nose], Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Sahaptin-Chinook branch of the Penutian linguistic stock (see Native American languages).
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 and spoke a language belonging to the Sahaptin-Chinook branch of the Penutian linguistic stock (see Native American LanguagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
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). A mission was established (1836) among them by Marcus WhitmanWhitman, Marcus,
1802–47, American pioneer and missionary in the Oregon country, b. Federal Hollow (later Rushville), N.Y. In 1836 he left a country medical practice to go West as a missionary for the joint Presbyterian-Congregationalist board.
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 at Waiilatpu. In 1847 the Cayuse, blaming the missionaries for an outbreak of smallpox, attacked the mission and killed the Whitmans and their helpers. The settlers then declared war and defeated the Cayuse. In 1855 they were placed on the Umatilla Reservation in Oregon, which they continue to share with the Wallawalla and Umatilla peoples; by 1990 they were among the smallest groups of Native Americans, numbering 126. A small horse bred by them gave the name cayuse to all Native American horses (see mustangmustang
[Sp. mesteño=a stray], small feral horse of the W United States. Mustangs are descended from escaped Native American horses, which in turn were descended from horses of North African blood, brought to the New World by the Spanish c.1500.
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).

Bibliography

See R. H. Ruby and J. A. Brown, The Cayuse Indians (1972).