13,000 years ago the last of the Missoula floods swept across Eastern Washington and down the Columbia River Gorge. Glaciologists estimate that the glaciers in the Methow Valley were up to a mile deep. The First People of the Methow Valley have stories about the great flood and its impacts.
For hundreds of generations, the Methow Valley has been the home of the Methow People. When the first white settlers arrived in the Methow Valley in the late 1800s, most of the Methow People (mətx̌ʷu) were forcibly relocated from the Moses-Columbia Reservation, formed in 1879. In 1884, the Moses-Columbia Reservation was dissolved and most of the Methow People were moved to the area east and south of present-day Omak, becoming one of the twelve tribes of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.
Others in this diaspora refused to enter the reservations and simply stayed or dispersed in the region. Even today, many Methow Tribal families maintain a consistent presence in this valley. We are grateful for the Methow People’s (mətx̌ʷu) careful stewarding of this land and hope to learn from their example.
Learn more about the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and the Methow People here.