Modoc

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Modoc

(mō`dŏk), Native North Americans whose language belongs 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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). They formerly lived in SW Oregon and N California, particularly around Modoc Lake (also known as Lower Klamath Lake) and Tule Lake. Modoc culture was similar to the culture of the KlamathKlamath
, Native North Americans who in the 19th cent. lived in SW Oregon. They speak a language of the Sahaptin-Chinook branch of the Penutian linguistic stock (see Native American languages) and are related to the Modoc people.
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, but the Modoc did not rely as heavily on the wokas, or water-lily seeds, for food. There was considerable trouble between the Modoc and the early white settlers, with atrocities being committed on both sides. The Modoc were finally constrained to live (1864) on the Klamath Reservation in Oregon, but most of the tribe was dissatisfied. In 1870, Chief Kintpuash, or Captain JackCaptain Jack
(d. 1873), subchief of the Modoc and leader of the hostile group in the Modoc War (1872–73). Jack, whose Modoc name was Kintpuash , had agreed (1864) to leave his ancestral home and live on a reservation with the Klamath.
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, led a group back to California and refused to return to the reservation. The attempt to bring them back brought on the Modoc WarModoc War,
1872–73, series of battles between the Modoc and the U.S. army fought as a result of the attempt to force a group of the Modoc to return to the Klamath Reservation in S Oregon. Beginning in Nov., 1872, U.S.
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 (1872–73). After the Modoc War, the Modoc people were divided; some were sent to Oklahoma (where a few remain) and some to the Klamath Reservation in Oregon. The Modoc in Oregon share lands with the Klamath and Snake. In 1990 there were some 500 Modoc in the United States.

Bibliography

See V. F. Ray, Primitive Pragmatists: The Modoc Indians of Northern California (1963), R. H. Dillea, Burnt-Out-Fires (1973).