The Spokan or Spokane people are a Native American Plateau tribe who inhabited the eastern portion of the Washington state and parts of northern Idaho. The current Spokane Indian Reservation is located in eastern Washington, centered in Wellpinit. The reservation is located almost entirely in Stevens County, but also includes two small parcels of land (totaling about 1.52 acres) in Lincoln County, including part of the Spokane River. In total, the reservation is about 615 square kilometers or 237 square miles.
The city of Spokane, Washington takes the tribe’s name, which means “children of the Sun” or “Sun People”. Spokan or Spokane is a name the Native people gave themselves and one of their native legends says it came from the noise a snake made when a person beat on a hollow tree where the snake was hiding.The Spokane language belongs to the Interior Salishan language family. The precontact population of the Spokane people is estimated to be about 1,400 to 2,500 people. The populations of the tribe began to diminish after contact with settlers and traders due to diseases the Spokane people had never been exposed to previously; thus in 1829 a Hudson Bay trader guessed there were about 700 Spokane people in the area. Populations have been steadily increasing and tribal membership in 1985 was around 1,961 and in 2000 the US census reported the resident population of the reservation to be around 2,000 people