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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Known for
Spouse(s)One of the five wives of Chief Kamiakin

Colestah (born around 1800, died 1865), was one of the five wives of Chief Kamiakin (1800–1877) of the Yakama Native American tribe. She is described as being a medicine woman (twati),[1][2] a psychic,[3] and a "warrior woman".[1][4]

Early life

Colestah was the youngest daughter of Chief Tenax (Klickitat). Her older sisters were Kem-ee-yowah, Why-luts-pum and Hos-ke-la-pum. She bore two children with Kamiakin: Tomeo and Tomomolow (Tomolio).[2]

Battle of Four Lakes

On September 5, 1858 she accompanied Kamiakin to the Battle of Four Lakes (or Battle of Spokane Plains)[5] against Colonel George Wright,[4] armed with a stone war club, vowing to fight by his side. According to the historian of criminal justice, Kurt R. Nelson, she dressed formally for the battle in "her finest" buckskin dress, with her hair braided tightly.[1][6] When Kamiakin was seriously wounded by a branch dislodged by a howitzer shell, Colestah carried him back to the family camp located at the Spokane River and used her skills as an "Indian doctor"[1] in traditional tribal medicine to nurse him back to health.[7]

Colestah and Kamiakin moved to the Palouse River camp, between today's St. John and Endicott in 1860, where his family followed its "seasonal rounds of root-digging, berry-gathering and salmon fishing." Colestah had a new son, Tomolow, with Kamiakin in 1864, but then she became sick, and died in 1865.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d Nelson, Kurt R. (2011). Treaties and Treachery: The Northwest Indians' Resistance to Conquest. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. p. 240. ISBN 9780870045004. Retrieved 18 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b Schuerman, Richard D.; Finley, Michael O.; Andrews (introduction), Albert Redstar (2008). Finding Chief Kamiakin: The Life and Legacy of a Northwest Patriot (PDF). Washington State University/The McGregor Company. Retrieved 18 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Trafzer, Clifford E.; Scheuerman, Richard D. (1986). Renegade Tribe: The Palouse Indians and the Invasion of the Inland Pacific Northwest. Washington State University Press. p. 87. ISBN 9780874220278. Retrieved 25 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b Ackerman, Lillian A. (2003). A necessary balance : gender and power among Indians of the Columbia Plateau. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 21. ISBN 0806134852. Retrieved 18 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Kershner, Jim. "Chief Kamiakin (ca. 1800-1877)". History Link. Retrieved 18 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Schlicke, Carl P. (1988). General George Wright, Guardian of the Pacific Coast. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 171–172. ISBN 0806121491.
  7. ^ Salmonson, Jessica Amanda (1991). The Encyclopedia of Amazons. Paragon House. p. 63. ISBN 1-55778-420-5.
  8. ^ Stratton, David Hodges (2005). Spokane & the Inland Empire: An Interior Pacific Northwest Anthology. Washington State University Press. p. 84. ISBN 9780874222777. Retrieved 25 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
This page was last edited on 22 November 2020, at 17:30
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