First Bureau of Indian Affairs school on reservation established in Simnasho but moved to Warm Springs

 - Before Warm Springs became the reservation headquarters, Simnasho was the site for the school, post office.

Simnasho is an unincorporated community on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Wasco County, Oregon. It is located near the intersection of Simnasho Road, Wapinitia Road and Simnasho-Hot Springs Road. It was the seat of the reservation government until the turn of the 19th Century when the headquarters was moved to the community of Warm Springs.

In 1874, the first Bureau of Indian Affairs school on the reservation was established in Simnasho. However, the school was later moved to Warm Springs and became a boarding school. Simnasho had a school on an intermittent basis for several years. It also had two churches.

A post office was established at the site in August 1886 and named Sinemasho. It was discontinued the following year. Simnasho post office was established at the same site in 1894 with Nellie Speer serving as first postmaster. Simnasho is derived from a Sahaptin language term sinimassa, which means thorn bush. The post office continued with a short intermission until 1954, when mail was moved to Wapinitia a few miles north.

Simnasho has been the site for a number of ceremonial activities on the reservation. It appears that Simnasho has not been included in official census records and there is no listing of its population, but it remains a small, isolated village. If you are looking for an interesting drive head north from Warm Springs to Kahneeta Hot Springs, then north on Reservation Road to Simnasho and Wapinitia then connecting with Highway 216.

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!