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Klamath(klăm`əth), 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 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.
..... Click the link for more information. ) and are related to the ModocModoc
, Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Sahaptin-Chinook branch of the Penutian linguistic stock (see Native American languages). They formerly lived in SW Oregon and N California, particularly around Modoc Lake (also known as Lower Klamath Lake) and Tule
..... Click the link for more information. people. The material for the first description of the Klamath was collected by Peter Skene Ogden, who visited them in 1829 and opened trade relations. They subsisted by hunting, fishing, and collecting roots and wokas, or water-lily seeds. The Klamath were peaceful toward American settlers but not toward the Native Americans of N California. They raided those tribes periodically and carried off women and children, keeping their captives as slaves or selling them to other Native Americans. By the treaty of 1864 with the United States, the practice of slavery was abolished and their land NE of Upper Klamath Lake in Oregon was set aside as the Klamath Reservation. Today they are mostly farmers. In 1990 there were 3,100 Klamath in the United States.
See L. Spier, Klamath Ethnography (1930); T. Stern, The Klamath Tribe (1965, repr. 1988).