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Native American Tribal Nations Mini-Lesson: Modoc Nation

Today we are going to learn about the Modoc Nation in Oregon and Oklahoma.

No that wasn't a typo. The Modoc nation's original tribal lands were in what is now known as Klamath Oregon and extended down into Northern California.

The Modoc existed just south of the Klamath people, but after settler forced them to surrender their lands they were pushed up into Klamath territory.

There were some in the Modoc nation who refused to take the move to Klamath lightly.

A man by the name of Kintpuash (Captain Jack), led a resistance with 53 other warriors at the ridge along their lands. They were able to effectively keep 3,000 invading US Soldiers at bay and defeated them in battle many times.

Their victory wouldn't last, however. “Captain Jack” and the others at the resistance camp were arrested and sent all the way to Oklahoma and put into prison. The Modoc out on the Oklahoma reservation are all descendants of those amazing warriors!

Some Modoc people were not ever a part of the conflict, however, and learned to coexist with the Klamath people. The Modoc still teach and pass along their traditions.

One of their traditional ways of hunting is still taught today and uses a tool called an Atlatl. An Atlatl is a spear that uses a lever action with the human wrist to propel the spear forward.

The spear could travel great distances and because of the lever action was quicker and thrown with greater force than if it were thrown by hand alone.

The sacred lands of the Modoc are now known as Lava Beds National Monument. The park exhibits basket weavings by both the Klamath and Modoc Nations, a cultural practice the Oklahoma Modoc Tribe was not able to continue without their reeds.


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