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(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.


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

References in periodicals archive ?
The Unsettled Country': Modocs and the Racial Terrain of the California Gold Rush.
Within the intimacies of incarceration and war, Yamashita imagines that Japanese Americans are made native to the land through their exile because it can be made to parallel the dispossession of American Indians; within the course of the novel, Japanese Americans become the spiritual heirs of the Modoc Indians to whom Tule Lake belongs.
The ascendency of US empire continues to use the discourses of Indianness to fuel its drive for resources at the expense of life: both the recent hailing of Geronimo to denominate Osama bin Laden and the use of the 1873 Modoc Indian War Prisoners decision in John Yoo's memos, which authorized the military to detain and torture those labeled "enemy combatants," come to mind.
The Army's mission was to force the Modocs to return to the reservation.
On Good Friday, 11 April 1873, the four commissioners went to meet Captain Jack and the Modocs.
Local civilian authorities wanted to prosecute the Modocs for murder, but U.
In 1852, the Modocs began attacking wagon trains along the north shore of Tule Lake, killing as many as 65 people.
But relations among the tribal groups were not historically calm, and Captain Jack led a group of Modocs who first stayed off the reservation, then unwillingly moved onto it and then left again, in 1870, a year after the U.
By then, settlers in the Lost River Basin, the Modoc's traditional home, pressured the government to make the Modocs return to the reservation, and the scene was set.
2 million-acre reservation for the Modoc bands that lived in the region.
Army was ordered in 1872 to return the Modocs to the reservation.
Within a few months, members of the Modoc tribe began to return to their ancestral lands, and more and more joined them over the next several years.