History & Culture

Mission sketch by Paul Kane 1847
Whitman Mission by Paul Kane 1847
The history of the Whitman Mission in the early 1800's marks a turning point for Native Americans living on the Columbia Plateau. Through partnering with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the National Park Service seeks to present the continuing story of the Cayuse Nation and the impact of this early interaction with foreign immigrants.

While the 1847 attack on the Whitmans horrified Americans and impacted the lives of the peoples of the Columbia Plateau for decades afterwards, many question remain unanswered. They are examined here in depth. Was killing the Whitmans justified legal retribution, an act of revenge, or some combination of both? The circumstances that surround this tragic event resonate with modern issues of cultural interaction and differing perspectives.

Last updated: July 10, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

328 Whitman Mission Road
Walla Walla, WA 99362


(509) 522-6360

Contact Us