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Nov. 29, 2021

The Yakama War

In October 1805, the Yakama encountered the Lewis and Clark Expedition near the confluence of the Yakima and Columbia rivers. By fifty years later, so many European and American trappers, traders, and eventually, settlers, had arrived in the area, putting demands on the land and resources, that federal government officials called a council meeting with the local tribal nations to negotiate a treaty by which the native people would move on to reservations in exchange for federal benefits. 

The tribal nations, including the Yakama, signed the treaty--reluctantly--in June 1855, but it had to be ratified by the US Senate before it would go into effect. In the meantime, miners and settlers were supposed to stay off of Yakama land.

However, with the discovery of gold, the miners started to trespass, stealing horses and assaulting women in the process. Yakama warriors killed minors in response. Soon, war broke out between the Yakama and the federal government, lasting until 1858. On March 8, 1859, the US Senate finally ratified the 1855 treaty.

Joining me to help us learn more about the Yakama War is Emily Washines, who is an enrolled Yakama Nation tribal member with Cree and Skokomish lineage. Emily is a scholar whose research topics ​ include the Yakama War, Native women, traditional knowledge, resource management, fishing rights, and food sovereignty. She runs the Native Friends Blog and hosts the War Cry Podcast.

Our theme song is Frogs Legs Rag, composed by James Scott and performed by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under Creative Commons. The episode image is courtesy of Emily Washines.


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Kelly Therese Pollock  0:00  
This is Unsung History, the podcast where we discuss people and events in American history that haven't always received a lot of attention. I'm your host, Kelly Therese Pollock. I'll start each episode with a brief introduction to the topic, and then talk to someone who knows a lot more than I do. Be sure to subscribe to Unsung History on your favorite podcasting app, so you never miss an episode. And please tell your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, maybe even strangers to listen too. Today's, episode is about the Yakama War. The Yakama lived along the Columbia, Yakima and Wenatchi rivers. in what is now Washington state. The Yakama were hunters, gatherers and salmon fishers before colonization. They encountered the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805, at the confluence of the Yakima and Columbia Rivers. The expedition was soon followed by greater and greater numbers of American and British trappers and traders, and then settlers, who put demands on the land and resources. In late May and early June, 1855, the then governor of the Washington territory, Isaac Stevens, and Oregon Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Joel Palmer, met with a number of tribal nations, including the Cayuse, Nez Perce, Umatilla, Wallawalla, and Yakama during the Wallawalla Council, to negotiate treaties and to open native lands to white settlement. The tribal nations did not request the council, and many of them did not want to negotiate with the US government. Those who attended did so to protect their people and their tribal interests. Stevens and Palmer warned that if the tribal nations did not agree to reservation boundaries, that the white settlers would "steal your horses and cattle."  The Yakama reluctantly agreed to a treaty ceding 11 million acres of land to the US government. In exchange, the Yakama would move on to a new reservation and receive federal benefits. They reserved the right to hunt and fish on the ceded land. The Yakama were supposed to be given time to relocate to the reservation, and Governor Stevens assured them that miners and settlers would not trespass on their lands until the treaty was ratified by the US Senate. However, after gold strikes in the region, miners started to trespass on tribal lands as they crossed them on route to the goldfields. The miners didn't just trespass. They stole horses from the Yakama and assaulted the women. In response, Yakima warriors killed miners in isolated incidents. As tensions rose, an agent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Andrew J. Bolon, rode out to investigate on September 20, 1855. Bolon was killed by a few of the Yakama he had been traveling with, led by Mosheel son of Yakama chief Shumaway. Many years later, an eyewitness claimed that Mosheel had said, "I want to kill him the same as he killed my poor people." Bolon's death panicked the settlers in the area and Major Granville O. Haller was ordered to take a company of American soldiers from Fort Dalles to the Yakima Valley. On October 5, 1855, the soldiers were attacked by a band of Yakama under Chief Kamiakin along the Toppenish Creek. Five American soldiers were killed and 17 wounded, and Haller in his company were forced to retreat. In response, Major Gabriel J. Rains and 700 troops marched on Chief Kamiakin and his 300 warriors on Nov. 8, 1855, at Union Gap on the bank of the Yakima River. The Yakama families fled as the warriors fought. By morning the Yakama were nearly surrounded, and they beat a quick retreat. The war lasted for several years, with the last phase in 1858.

In September, 1858, Colonel George Wright defeated the Native Americans at the Battle of Four Lakes near Spokane, Washington. On September 23, he imposed a peace treaty in a council of the local Native Americans at Latah Creek. Under the terms of the peace treaty, the tribal nations were forced onto the reservations. On May 8, 1859, the US Senate finally ratified the 1855 treaty, and it was proclaimed into law on April 18, 1859. Some of the tribal nations such as the Palouse, refused to acknowledge the treaty and would not enter the reservation. The Yakama reservation along the Yakima River covers an area of around 1.2 million acres. The Yakama people are enrolled in the federally recognized Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation and the Yakama Tribal Council includes representatives of 14 tribes. The Yakama Nation's more than 6000 members, and a flag that shows the borders of the reservation in white against a sky blue background. The sacred mountain, Mount Adams is depicted within the map, as is a Sacred Eagle, the Morningstar symbol of guidance and leadership, and arcing around Mount Adams are 14 gold stars, and 14 eagle feathers, honoring the bands of the Yakama Nation. In the mid 1990s, the Yakama Nation renamed itself, changing the spelling from Yakima to Yakama, to more closely reflect the pronunciation in their Native language. To help us understand more, I'm joined now by Emily Washines, who is an enrolled Yakama Nation tribal member with Cree and Skokomish lineage. Emily is a scholar whose research topics include the Yakama War, Native women, traditional knowledge, resource management, fishing rights, and food sovereignty. She runs the Native Friends blog and hosts the War Cry podcast. So hi, Emily, thank you so much for joining me today.

Emily Washines  7:28  
Yeah, it's good to be here.

Kelly Therese Pollock  7:30  
Yes. So I have a bunch of questions for you about the Yakama War, but I wanted to start by asking a little bit about your background. I believe you live on the Yakama reservation now. Is that where you grew up as well?

Emily Washines  7:44  
Yes, I grew up here. I lived a couple other places. And then I came back here after college and where I'm raising my family.

Kelly Therese Pollock  7:52  
Did you have you always been interested in the the history and the culture of the the Yakama? How did you get more into sort of studying this, this particular war, the Yakama War?

Emily Washines  8:04  
Primarily, a lot of the information I learned was through our oral history. And, you know, just different family members talking about it, especially around specific commemorative events such as our treaty signing, we commemorate that each year, and having these anecdotal conversations. That's where I would say it's it started is just hearing from our family members.

Kelly Therese Pollock  8:29  
You started with the these oral histories. What is the way that you're sort of following up to learn more? You know, I think this is a history that's been hidden, suppressed, what whatever it is, but it isn't very well known. And so what are you doing to try to learn more about it and help other people learn more about it?

Emily Washines  8:47  
Yeah, so my great, great grandfather was a treaty signer of the Yakama treaty with the United States. And so I feel like there's a responsibility for me to always know the history, including the history of my own ancestors' actions and maybe some of the decisions. And as I grew up, I would start to read a little bit more about that. But I did find there was a really big disconnect between what was written in the historical record by non Natives compared to what I had grown up hearing for decades. And the turning point for me into having a validation of that was the oral history that ended up getting written by Alec Saluskin. And so that was a account of a battle of the Yakama War of 1855.

Kelly Therese Pollock  9:38  
You mentioned that there were some discrepancies between what you had heard and then you know, what, what you read in the historical record. So what are some of those things that that the different accounts are sort of getting different in the story?

Emily Washines  9:52  
I primarily that how the why the Yakama War started, so I guess 90% of historians out there would disagree with what Yakama say, and what I say about why the Yakama War started. A lot of erasure of our Native women in historical record or lightening of violence against Native women. So I think that being a Native woman, being a Yakama, seeing an erasure in historical record that hit very personally to me, especially as somebody that can see patterns in history and how things might repeat. We hear about and a lot about Native erasure today.

Kelly Therese Pollock  10:38  
So what is what is your reason for why the Yakama War started that you think that historians might disagree with?

Emily Washines  10:46  
Yeah, I want to give a little bit of context. In 1855, June of 1855, Yakamas had signed the treaty with the United States. By the fall time there was gold that was found in Upper Washington. The treaty was not yet ratified by Congress, which is a necessary bureaucratic step that we still saw delays in 1800s. Some miners that were passing through from Snoqualmie Pass to through Yakima and up to Colville had committed violence against Native women and girls. So they raped and murdered the wife and the daughters of Mosheel, including a child in a cradle board. And Mosheel, the husband, went with two or three friends and killed the miners. They didn't want them to continue these acts of violence. Historically, the United they had checkpoints for minors, so they would be able to tell when they would come to one leave one place and show up at the other. When the minors didn't show up, that alerted a lot of the agents at that time to kind of check out and see what was going on. And when the Yakamas had reported this act of violence, it was a big shrug. And they said if unless you turn over this widowed man who just lost his wife and children to this horrible act of violence; unless you turn him over now to the federal government, we will start a war. And I'm going to go back to the Dalles in Oregon. And I'm going to go back down to the Dalles and tell him to come up here and come after you. And so we consider that a threat, so we killed that agent to get more time to assemble more people basically, people from other tribes. And, and, and then, you know, Major Haller had come up from the Dalles shortly after that. The point in history that there's a disconnect is a lot of the historians begin and say the start of the war was with the killing of the miners, or they'll say there was some disgruntling, or disgruntled Native women, it makes us sound like we got our moccasins stepped on or something or like they didn't tip their hat at us. It doesn't sound like there's the taking of life, which is a really big issue.

Kelly Therese Pollock  13:12  
Yeah, so to sort of put this in context, this is later than a lot of the conflicts we see. And the treaty signing and the land grabs and things further east, because that, you know, sort of the US is finally getting this far west. And Washington is not yet a state yet at this point. Right. It's a territory. Let's talk about the treaty. You mentioned that, that your relative was a signer of the treaty. So what was the the point of this treaty that that then took so long to be ratified? What What would the agreement have been?

Emily Washines  13:49  
Yes, so we signed the treaty in 1855, and it was ratified by Congress in 1859. And in between that point, we had a three year war. At that point, we had had contact, we had even tribal members from other bands, Klickitat Band, numerous bands confederated under the Yakama Nation, 14 different tribes and bands. And they worked for the Hudson Bay Company. We had some interim not in my family specific but in other families, tribal families, we saw intermarriage with some of the Hudson Bay Company folks, which when we talk about the landscape of the time, it was really interesting to see how these white people that were from the Hudson Bay Company, were making sure that we had our story heard,that there was different, even priests that were translating and transcribing and sending letters. And so I think even when looking at the history of war, it's very complicated, right? There's not one like the simple straightforward, us versus them. And what what I think hasn't happened is this dialogue and these little stories that bring the humanity into it. I think at that point, we had known that other tribes had had contact with other with non Natives. Now, we had seen you know, what was happening in California, when there was gold found up there. And I think that we, from when I was a very young girl, one of my earliest memories was sitting at our ceremonial table with so many cousins and aunts, tables-ful. And they would say, "I need you to listen, I need you to hear me and what I'm saying." And they said, "The reason that we signed the treaty is to protect the resources for those not yet born." And of course, I always reflect back on this because even as a child, because I would watch like the Brady Bunch or different shows like that, and I wouldn't see them talking about these historical notes. I wouldn't see them telling this four-year-old, you're responsible for carrying this message, your relative signed this, your great grandfather, and now you need to make sure to uphold that word and the reasoning for this and to communicate that.

Kelly Therese Pollock  16:08  
So is this something then that you tell your kids as well?

Emily Washines  16:12  
Yes, my children will often sit at my laptop station and mimic in my mouth, everything that I say, which is, you don't know that they're catching on as much, but I'm proud about how much they know and learned about our treaty rights.

Kelly Therese Pollock  16:29  
Yeah. And you also know the language. So it's the Yakama language, but I think there's another term for it, as well.

Emily Washines  16:37  
Yeah, we refer to it as Ichishiin, and linguists refer to it as Sahaptin, but the direct translation of that means "stranger in their land." So linguistically, that's the their official term. But in Yakama culture, we kind of like side-eye that. For obvious reasons, we don't want to call our language "a stranger in our land."

Kelly Therese Pollock  17:01  
Yeah. And so is this, has this language continued? You know, is it the sort of more or less the same language as it was during the Yakama War, for instance?

Emily Washines  17:11  
Yeah, we have different dialects of that language, because there's so many different tribes and bands, but we continue to utilize that same words, the words and songs specifically which have, we don't record our songs. And so that's all passed down through the oral tradition. We don't record our ceremonial Washat songs. Different songs, like powwow, or social gathering songs we'll record.

Kelly Therese Pollock  17:36  
And you, you made a video about the Yakama War, in which part of it is in the Native language. Can you talk some about the inspiration behind making that video and sort of how you decided to put it together?

Emily Washines  17:52  
Yeah, I actually was the victim of a crime. And for insurance purposes, I had to go through and get all this paperwork. And I came across this historical account of the Yakama War in my like, distressed shuffling of papers. And I just really connected strongly to it. I've read this historical account every year since I was 16, at school when I was given it. And this time, after I had been the victim of a crime and had somebody that was targeting me, it just hit different. And I really started to fold into this whole process. And it really fold into a parallel of what I was experiencing, because in some way, it gave me strength. It spoke about resiliency. And then just different parts of it really stuck out, for example, the fact that Yakama women fought in the war, and the fact that the war started because Native women had violence against them. And I just I really wanted to visually tell this story. And so I did apply for a grant with the Evergreen State College there. They had grants for different artists. And I thought I will put this whole thing away if I don't get this grant, or I'll just move forward with it. I just it was kind of an all in or nothing. I just, I don't really gamble that much. But that whole scene where you see that people put in the chips, it was like all my history books, all my notes are slid forward at that moment. And I wanted to see if this was something that we should talk about in the Northwest. And it was so fragile with it at that point that if I didn't get that validation right away, I was gonna like, slide away and just privately process it and privately talk about it with my family like we've done for decades.

Kelly Therese Pollock  19:40  
And can you talk about the beautiful beadwork that's in the video?

Emily Washines  19:44  
Yeah, I originally wanted actors and I had different gruffy archaeologists willing to be in my film. But I thought that might be really historically triggering for a lot of our tribal members to see that.There's still a lot of people that are emotional about it. And I really wanted to use this visual medium of beadwork to help depict that story. My mother beaded, did a lot of the beadwork that I used in the film, Stella Washines. And I don't know why she beaded some of these pieces. But when I was able to go through her different suitcase with it, it was a really great moment to just revisit again, that history that's passed down between family members.

Kelly Therese Pollock  20:31  
Yeah, and I, I love that kind of history that's not you know, something you'd find written and archived, but instead comes from material objects. I think that's so powerful. And it's really, it's powerful in the film. I think it probably, I understand the point about not being triggering, but I also think it's, it's really special to see it that way in the video. So I will put a link to that, of course, in the show notes so people can find it. I wanted to ask you, you've been you've done some work to connect to the descendants of the US troops who fought in the Yakama War. Can you talk some about how that came about and why you're you're working on that?

Emily Washines  21:12  
Whenever you review history and you're a Native, you'll find that if they're written by non Natives, you'll frequently see words like bloodthirsty and hostile. And I kept seeing that, and I'm a pretty optimistic person. I try to keep an open mind about people and events. But it just put me in a bad mood, put me in a very defensive mood, like, I'm not hostile, I'm not blood thirsty. These are my relatives they're talking about and so to be kind of framed in that way, I took issue with it. But then I also wondered what I just got curious. Basically, I was curious about this, what the other side might think, did they think I was bloodthirsty and hostile? What stories might be, might have been passed down from the other side? And the more I thought about it, I just wanted to meet one of them. I mean, I would ask people in jury duty, I would ask people in the cereal aisle. You ever heard about the Yakama War? Hey, did you do do you know, any descendants that might have faught in the war against my relatives? And I'll tell you, there's a very big difference between being in your research mode asking these questions and in like, a cereal aisle as a brown person asking about their relatives, and I had some really frank discussions, people had a lot of doubts, if I would ever find the descendants on the other side. And I always remember them saying like, "Emily, even if you find them, what makes you think they're gonna want to talk to you?" But they did. Yeah. Yeah. So I went to Fort Walla Walla Museum and asked them, and a little while later, I got a call from the descendant, Steve Plucker ,whose  great great grandfather was in the army, fought against my relatives in the Yakama War. And I remember very clearly, I was heading to a gymnastics class with my kids. And it just our conversation seemed to really flow. I ended up beta test reading his book that was coming out about the Yakama War. And it eventually progressed to this point where I asked him to stand by my side, as I told our version, our side of the history. And so when I first met him, it was actually I was presenting my film at Fort Wall Walla Museum, and he stood by my side. And I love these aspects of like, human connection, and just us being able to talk to each other that just seems to shatter these stereotypical us versus them dynamics. Like he may not agree with every single historical point that I share, or that our people did. We weren't obviously aligned in 1855, about what we were doing and where we were at. But yet he's able to stand by my side as I tell this history and not get like really cut me off or try to be disrespectful about that at all. He's just allowing me the space and proving that he's there to support me bringing this story and historical record forward. 

Kelly Therese Pollock  24:23  
 It's beautiful. I like that. I think it would be good if, if we could have more experiences like that: people who have historically been on other sides of conflicts. So I wanted to ask too, obviously, all of the sort of history you work on is is public history. But you specifically had this Native Friends website, where you share culture and language in this history. Can you talk some about your website and your desire to share your culture?

Emily Washines  24:57  
Yeah, I think when, some of my relatives have been photographed by Edward Curtis. And when you go on Pinterest, you will see frequently a lot of Edward Curtis images. And when you look for things like, "Hey, what's this Native American Yakama think about, I don't know, a current event that's happening or what's a fashion that they're wearing today?" there seems to be a really big gap in those photographs of that information, of that insight. And it just seems like something that my site, Native Friends, can help bring a little bit more information to, where I talked about how we returned a plan after a 70 year absence, without seeds, or without planting. We just did that from listening to our elders and the biologist, fixing the land. I talked about missing and murdered Indigenous women, and also fishing rights. And I really like being able to have something in my hands, and being able to write and visually display and give information for audiences. As an educator, I understand that importance of having visuals like video or photos. And I also understand the benefit of having like a voice or a direct quote from people, not just having to go buy that book that references somebody from 1855, like reference a living tribal member that's here today.

Kelly Therese Pollock  26:30  
Yeah, that seems to have been a theme of the episodes I've done this month is, you know, "we're still here," which is so important. I was remarking with my husband this morning, you know, we both grew up in, you know, in the Midwest in the 80s. And I think that the message that we were told was the you know, sort of Native Americans were part of the past and not here and present and with us, and I'm so glad that finally, I'm able to at least teach my children, "No, they're still here. They're important. Let's listen to them." So I love the website. I think it's great that that you're doing it. I love the videos on like counting in, in your language. I think that's really it's it's fun and it helps brings it bring it alive.

Emily Washines  27:17  
Thank you. My kids love to be on film and do different things. They find little tiny films on my iPad always. Here's some slime.

Kelly Therese Pollock  27:28  
Love it. So then the other thing I wanted to ask about, you also host a podcast called War Cry podcast where you talk about missing and murdered Indigenous women. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about that podcast on that project?

Emily Washines  27:43  
Yeah, I published a peer reviewed case study with Evergreen Native Cases last year, called War Cry. And when I was talking to other community members about missing and murdered Indigenous women, the crisis broadly, the crisis in the northwest, as well as here in Yakima, there just seemed to be different conversational elements from the points that I made in my case study that we really wanted to have and share. Almost be as if we were in a diner, and people were like at the next table, like, what would they hear us talk about? So we wanted to have it very conversational. And we also wanted to have these points about historical connections and how much historical connections really are important points to make in addressing this crisis. So we launched on Treaty Days, in June, 2020, June 9, 2020. And we're in our second season now. And we talk and discuss about either different, different interviews with family members, or specific events that we feel are connected to this larger movement, including violent acts, assimilation, such as boarding school, unmarked graves, and the lists that are published here in Washington state for our missing people. We, we, up until a year ago, we didn't have the names of our missing people that were Native. That was withheld from us, which seems so confusing about why you would have family members and loved ones that went and filed a missing persons report and gave this information in hopes of somebody being found, but they're locked away in these like law enforcement systems. You can only be in law enforcement to access certain these federal systems. And you know within the past year, we have now had access to those names and information and so on the podcast we'll do things like share that the list has been updated, highlight cases that are local.

Kelly Therese Pollock  29:57  
What does that crisis look like right now?

Emily Washines  30:00  
You know, I am really focusing on different aspects of, of that crisis. I think anytime a Native woman goes missing, you want to assume that everybody's on board with finding her, that she's going to have the same process and resources that others do. But what is coming out, clearly is that she doesn't, that there's often victim blaming, that there's often delays in process, delays in reporting, basically, people saying like, she's not a priority, you know, and telling family members that. And so it's a really hard thing to see. And to work with family members, it's it's very triggering to be in, in that type of situation, where you're seeing a Native woman is not valued. And I always try to take different examples and say, "Let's say you're watching the American Pie movie, and there is kind of a party sense about that whole thing. But let's say all of them went missing, and what resources or things would come about if they went missing? And what will be said about them?" "Oh, they were just having a good time. They you know,  they were just being kids, obviously, they made a mistake." But when it's a Native woman that does those types of things, it's, "What was she doing? What was she wearing? Who was she around?" It's horrible to kind of think about it in that way and in that light, but that's the comparison that I give to people just to try to frame it so that they understand like, we do not have the same access to resources, we do not have the same response when we go missing. And it's even when we take steps to protect ourselves, we're often prosecuted by the federal government meaning self defense. We had a case of Madison George in it was in the federal court in Spokane. She's a Colville tribal member in northern Washington state, and she said she was raped, and the person that had raped her, stalked her and found her and she shot him. And the federal government prosecuted her recently, and she did a plea deal and they sentenced her. And when the federal government was recommending sentencing, they went above and beyond their own sentencing guidelines. They like tripled it. And the judge had to tell them, "Listen, we have these different federal acts that were passed by Congress, mandating your guidance for how to address violence against Native women, that you're not even following. That's the Power Act, the Not Invisible Act and Savanna's Act. So you can even have these congressional momentums happen, these people that have rallied around these bills, think that it would mean movement, and at the same time have  the federal government prosecuted Native woman for protecting herself. If she had not protected herself, a lot of legal scholars say she would have been another statistic. So the crisis, there's a lot of different points that you know, need help. Those are just a couple examples.

Kelly Therese Pollock  33:19  
So in addition to listening to the War Cry podcast, which everyone should do, what are other ways that people can, can help can raise awareness, or get action on this?

Emily Washines  33:30  
The MMIW USA, web, social media has a lot of the updated information on their website about missing people cases and alerts. We don't have necessarily a federal alert system that works in that same manner. So if you want to know about cases that are there, or share it, that's a good place to go. There's I would say, you know, look at your local areas for what the tribal members and tribes are asking nearby. I think that's an important place to kind of center it is what are they asking or what what are their needs? I know for Yakama, we also have a local list that's maintained by the Yakama Herald Republic called The Vanished, and they're one of three newspapers in the nation that I'm aware of that publicly list missing and murdered Indigenous women. So supporting local journalism, as well is a really big aspect of that. Why does this tiny non tribal local newspaper publicly list that? Why don't others? But their editors will know that they need to do it if people keep going to it and clicking on it.

Kelly Therese Pollock  34:48  
So is there anything else that you wanted to make sure we talked about today?

Emily Washines  34:53  
I think when you're trying to find more information about Native Americans, it's really good to read literature or books, either nonfiction or fiction about it and hear directly from Natives. I think that could be a really good source of information. And of course, for visual learners, you can always check out my website or other film or videos that are out there to help, you know, give insight about who we are.

Kelly Therese Pollock  35:21  
And I, as I said, we'll put links to those things in the show notes. So I hope people will check them out. And then lastly, we're encouraging people throughout the month of November and of course, continuing after the month of November to make donations to Native causes. Are there any particular organizations that you would recommend that people donate to?

Emily Washines  35:44  
I would say that MMIW USA.

Kelly Therese Pollock  35:47  
Okay, terrific. Well, Emily, thank you so much for speaking with me for sharing your knowledge with me, but also for just sharing your knowledge on Native Friends and your podcasts and other places. So thank you. This was really great. 

Emily Washines  36:03  
It was great to be here.

Teddy  36:05  
Thanks for listening to Unsung History. You can find the sources used for this episode at To the best of our knowledge, all audio and images used by Unsung History are in the public domain or are used with permission. You can find us on Twitter, or Instagram @Unsung__History. Or on Facebook at Unsung History Podcast. To contact us with questions or episode suggestions, please email If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate and review and tell your friends.


Emily WashinesProfile Photo

Emily Washines

Emily Washines, MPA and scholar is an enrolled Yakama Nation tribal member with Cree and Skokomish lineage. Her blog, Native Friends, focuses on history and culture. Building understanding and support for Native Americans is evident in her films, writing, speaking, and exhibits. Her research topics include the Yakama War, Native women, traditional knowledge, resource management, fishing rights, and food sovereignty. Emily speaks Ichiskiin (Yakama language) and other Native languages. Yakima Herald-Republic lists her as Top 39 under 39. She received a Single Impact Event Award for her 2018 presentation from the Association of King County Historical Organizations. She is a board member of the Museum of Culture and Environment, Artist Trust, and Columbia Riverkeeper. She is adjunct faculty at Yakima Valley College.

Emily researches and speaks on the historical aspects of missing and murdered Native women on the Yakama reservation, with particular emphasis on women and girls who were raped and murdered in the years leading up to the Yakama War of 1855-58. She searches for descendants of the Yakama War to stand by her side. Emily lives on the Yakama reservation with her husband and three children.