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Chelan is a city in Chelan County, Washington, United States. The population was 3,890 at the 2010 census. The population was 4,060 at 2015 Estimate from Office of Financial Management. It lies on the southeast tip of Lake Chelan, where the lake flows into the Chelan River.Chelan is part of the Wenatchee−East Wenatchee Metropolitan Statistical Area.HistoryThe Chelan area was home to Salish speaking Native Americans known as the Chelan tribe prior to white settlement in the late 1800s. But before the settlers arrived, a new beast, the horse, came and with it just as quickly were smallpox, measles and other deadly infectious diseases. These diseases wiped out an estimated 90% of the Indians before David Thompson, the very first explorer in the area, arrived on the Columbia in 1811. The horse and the culture of the horse so prevalent with Indians of the Plains also took over by the time explorers and settlers arrived, so it is difficult to know what the original inhabitants' lives were truly like and who the Indians were before these monumental changes to their way of life. A people of the horse, though, they quickly became, adopting Plains Indian dress, beadwork, and more, and with white settlers came far more changes.The Indians in the area were organized as small family groups who made decisions, not having a single chief who decided everything. But after white people came there was also a struggle for power: to maintain control of the lands that once were theirs, they needed one person to be able to speak for them. Though not a Chelan Indian himself, Chief Moses (a Shahaptin, not Salish speaker from the Columbia Basin and Okanagan) almost had a large section of land set aside for a reservation. However, with the low number of Indians and the ever-increasing number of miners looking for riches in the mountains, he found that defending his newly acquired territory was impossible and lost it all.Our United States trip planner allows you to plan your trip to Chelan and a wealth of other destinations big and small.
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