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Kamiah, Idaho
Main Street in May 2012
Main Street in May 2012
Location of Kamiah in Lewis County and Idaho County, Idaho.
Location of Kamiah in Lewis County and Idaho County, Idaho.
Country United States
State Idaho
Counties Lewis (& Idaho)
Area
 • Total 1.18 sq mi (3.07 km2)
 • Land 1.10 sq mi (2.84 km2)
 • Water 0.09 sq mi (0.22 km2)
Elevation
1,240 ft (380 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 1,295
 • Estimate 
(2019)
1,244
 • Density 1,132.97/sq mi (437.49/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
83536
Area code(s) 208 Exchange: 935
FIPS code 16-42400
GNIS feature ID 0396726
Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 324
1920 653 101.5%
1930 487 −25.4%
1940 568 16.6%
1950 812 43.0%
1960 1,245 53.3%
1970 1,307 5.0%
1980 1,478 13.1%
1990 1,157 −21.7%
2000 1,160 0.3%
2010 1,295 11.6%
2019 (est.) 1,244 −3.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

Kamiah ( KAM-ee-eye) is a city in Lewis and Idaho counties in the U.S. state of Idaho. The largest city in Lewis County, it extends only a small distance into Idaho County, south of Lawyer Creek. The population was 1,295 at the 2010 census, up from 1,160 in 2000. The city lies in the narrow valley of the Clearwater River; downstream are Orofino and Lewiston, at the confluence with the Snake River.

History

The Kamiah area has been inhabited by the Nez Perce for centuries. The name "Kamiah" is Nez Perce for "many rope litters," as Nez Perce manufactured "Kamia" ropes in the area to fish steelhead. Also according to Nez Perce tradition, the Appaloosa horse was first bred in the area.

On their return trip east, the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped in the Kamiah area for several weeks during the spring of 1806, waiting for snows to melt.

Kamiah is the character name of the Nez Perce/Blackfoot woman in Across the Wide Missouri, a 1951 'mountain men' film set in the 1830s. Similar in fame to Sacagawea of the Lewis & Clark expedition, Kamiah led her associated mountain men's troop over the Bitterroot Range to her homeland (Three Forks, Montana for Sacagawea).

Hohots Ilppilp was the leader around Kamiah from at least the time of Lewis and Clark until the 1840s. When the first leader for all the Nez Perce was appointed, it was Hohots Ilppilp's grandson Ellis who lived in this area and maintained large herds of sheep, cattle and over a thousand horses.

Kamiah is within the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. Similar to the opening of lands in Oklahoma, the U.S. government opened the reservation for white settlement 127 years ago in November 1895. The proclamation had been signed less than two weeks earlier by President Cleveland.

Geography

Kamiah is located at 46°13′37″N 116°1′40″W / 46.22694°N 116.02778°W / 46.22694; -116.02778 (46.226811, -116.027728), at an elevation of 1,240 feet (378 m) above sea level.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.17 square miles (3.03 km2), of which 1.08 square miles (2.80 km2) is land and 0.09 square miles (0.23 km2) is water.

Climate

According to the Köppen climate classification system, Kamiah has a hot-summer continental climate (Köppen Dfa).

Climate data for Kamiah (1913-2012)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 59
(15)
66
(18.9)
81
(27.2)
88
(31.1)
98
(36.7)
104
(40)
107
(41.7)
110
(43.3)
103
(39.4)
89
(31.7)
72
(22.2)
58
(14.4)
110
(43.3)
Average high °F (°C) 39
(3.9)
47.7
(8.72)
55.3
(12.94)
64.1
(17.83)
72.9
(22.72)
79.3
(26.28)
93.2
(34)
91.6
(33.11)
81.2
(27.33)
62.5
(16.94)
45.6
(7.56)
36.1
(2.28)
64
(17.8)
Average low °F (°C) 26.4
(-3.11)
27.7
(-2.39)
31.4
(-0.33)
35.9
(2.17)
41.4
(5.22)
48.9
(9.39)
53.6
(12)
51.3
(10.72)
45.1
(7.28)
37
(2.8)
31.2
(-0.44)
24.7
(-4.06)
37.9
(3.28)
Record low °F (°C) -5
(-20.6)
2
(-16.7)
10
(-12.2)
22
(-5.6)
27
(-2.8)
32
(0)
38
(3.3)
36
(2.2)
26
(-3.3)
12
(-11.1)
4
(-15.6)
-3
(-19.4)
-5
(-20.6)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.1
(53)
1.64
(41.7)
2.17
(55.1)
2.45
(62.2)
2.49
(63.2)
2.36
(59.9)
0.82
(20.8)
0.9
(23)
1.33
(33.8)
1.94
(49.3)
2.41
(61.2)
2.04
(51.8)
22.63
(574.8)
Snowfall inches (cm) 6.1
(15.5)
1.9
(4.8)
0.9
(2.3)
0.1
(0.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.9
(2.3)
5.4
(13.7)
15.3
(38.9)
Avg. precipitation days 12 10 12 12 11 10 4 5 6 9 13 12 116
Source: WRCC

Demographics

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,295 people, 596 households, and 325 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,199.1 inhabitants per square mile (463.0/km2). There were 642 housing units at an average density of 594.4 per square mile (229.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 82.2% White, 0.4% African American, 8.9% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 3.7% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.5% of the population.

There were 596 households, of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.1% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 45.5% were non-families. 39.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 22.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.91.

The median age in the city was 45.7 years. 23.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 19.7% were from 25 to 44; 26.7% were from 45 to 64; and 24% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.3% male and 51.7% female.

Economy

The city's largest employer was the Three Rivers Timber sawmill, which employed 108 before its closure in late 2008. After nearly two years, the mill was sold and restarted in August 2010 as Blue North Forest Products.

Notable people

  • Chief Lawyer, Nez Perce leader, is buried at Nikesa Cemetery in East Kamiah
  • Ken Hobart, former CFL quarterback, graduated from Kamiah High School in 1979
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