Deer meat and fish were important foods for the Modoc. They did not have much salmon, but caught smaller fish in the lakes. Ducks and other waterfowl were snared in large nets, held at the sides by several men and then dropped over the birds. Shirts and leggings made from deerskins were worn by Modoc men.
The Modocs were fishing people. Modoc men used nets and fish traps to catch many different types of fish in the rivers and lakes. They also hunted deer and small game. Modoc women gathered berries, nuts, and other plants.
The Modoc tribe of Indians gathered annually at Clear Lake to catch and dry fish, mainly a species of large edible mullet, locally known as Lost River suckers.
The clothes worn by the men of the Modoc tribe wore shirts, kilts and leggings made of buckskin. The wealthy Modoc wore robes made of deer, elk or bobcat, whilst the commoner’s cloaks were made from rabbit or bird skins. Moccasins were made from either tule or buckskin.
The Modoc chose to live peacefully with the farming and ranching newcomers, often working for them and trading for livestock and other necessities. The flow of non-Indians into their ancestral homelands had an enormous effect on the culture of the Modoc people.
Paleoindian houses were simple, temporary structures called “brush shelters.” This type of house made sense for people who led a nomadic lifestyle. In the big drawing, part of the wall is removed so you can see inside the house. Most Paleoindian houses were small, circular structures.
The Modoc religion was based on the belief in guardian spirits, who were sought for guidance and help. The Klamath tribe to the north were allies of the Modoc people. There was also a tradition of young Modoc and Klamath coming together in marriage.
The Klamath or Maklaks language is spoken in two dialects, that of the Klamath Lake Indians, or ^-ukshikni, and that of the Modocs.
The Modoc and Klamath were organized into relatively autonomous villages, each with its own leaders, shamans, and medicine men. During winter, when snowdrifts could reach six feet (two metres) or more, most village families lived in semisubterranean earth-covered lodges, usually one family to a lodge.
The tribe was divided into three groups: the Gumbatwas or “people of the west,” the Kokiwas or “people of the far country,” and the Paskanwas or “river people.” The Modoc traded with the Shasta and Achomawi. Their major enemies were the Klamath and the Paiute, with whom they were forced to live.
The Modoc people once lived on both sides of what is now the California-Oregon border, in villages on and near Tule, Lower Klamath, and Clear Lakes.
The Native American Navajo tribe is one of the largest tribes of American Indians. They lived in the Southwest in areas that are today Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. The name “Navajo” comes from the Spanish who called them the Apaches of Navajo. They called themselves “Dine” or “the People”.
The Modoc Nation is a federally recognized tribe of Modoc people, located in Ottawa County in the northeast corner of Oklahoma.
Some at that point were allowed to return to the Klamath Reservation in Oregon. Most Modoc (and their descendants) stayed in what became the state of Oklahoma. They achieved separate federal recognition and were granted some land in Oklahoma. There are two federally recognized Modoc tribes: in Oregon and Oklahoma.