World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


The Molala (also Molale, Molalla, Molele) were a people of the Plateau culture area in central Oregon, United States. They are one of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon, with 141 of the 882 members in the 1950s claiming Molala descent.


  • Language 1
  • History 2
  • Footnotes 3
  • Further reading 4
  • External links 5


The Molalla language was a member of the Plateau Penutian family. It was previously considered a language isolate. Molalla is now extinct.


The ancestral lands of the Molala people were located south of the Columbia River, with various areas occupied for seasonal resource exploitation. During the winter members of the nation resided in the vicinity of modern Tygh Valley.[1] During the spring Molalas moved to a site along the Deschutes River near what is now Antelope.[1] Stockpiles of fish would be gathered there, including the Sockeye salmon and Columbia River redband trout. Throughout the summer and autumn outside modern Wapinitia Molalas would dig for the tubers of camas and wapato, along with collecting regional berries.[1]

During the early 1800s,[1] the Molala nation was forcibly evicted across the Cascade mountains by the Tygh band of the Sahaptin-speaking Tenino people to the East.[2] Relocating to portions of the Willamette Valley, the Molala had to contend with groups of Cayuse warriors that occasionally attacked their settlements for slaves. During the last known Cayuse raid, likely in the late 1820s,[3] a Molala nobleman was killed. A Clackamas man was used an intermediary between local Molala soldiers and the Cayuse raiders to arrange for a second battle.[3] The fighting was likely held at Minto Pass,[4] lasted for two days, the Molalas considering it a victory.[3]

In 1848 Molala war chief Crooked Finger headed 150 warriors (Molala, Klamath, Umpqua, Rogue, Atsugewi, Achomawi, Modoc) against the white men in the Willamette Valley, but they were ambushed near the Butte Creek, and their village on the Abiqua Creek shore was attacked; Crooked Finger and his warriors took part in the Cayuse war, as allies of their kinsmen.


  1. ^ a b c d Verne F. Ray, George Peter Murdock, Beatrice Blyth, Omer C. Stewart, Jack Harris, E. Adamson Hoebel and D. B. Shimkin Tribal Distribution in Eastern Oregon and Adjacent Regions. American Anthropologist 40, No. 3 (1938), pp. 384-415.
  2. ^ G.P. Murdoch, "The Tenino Indians," Ethnology, vol. 19 (1980), pp. 129-149; reprinted in Donald M. Hines, The Forgotten Tribes: Oral Tales of the Teninos and Adjacent Mid-Columbia River Nations (1991). Issaquah, WA: Great Eagle Publishing, 1997; pg. 24.
  3. ^ a b c MacKey, Harold. New Light on the Molala Indians. Oregon Historical Quarterly 73, No. 1 (1972), pp. 63-65.
  4. ^ Minto, John. Minto Pass: Its History, and an Indian Tradition. The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society 4, No. 3 (1903), pp. 241-250.

Further reading

  • John B. Horner, "Oregon: Her History, Her Great Men, Her Literature." Portland, OR: J.K. Gill Co., 1919.
  • Marianne Mithun,The Languages of Native North America. Cambridge England: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • Nicholas J. Pharris, Nicholas J., Winuunsi Tm Talapaas: A Grammar of the Molalla Language. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan, 2006.

External links

  • Molala History
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.