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Kitsap or Ktsap (died April 18, 1860[1]) was a war chief of the Suquamish Native American tribe. One source says that he was the most powerful chief on Puget Sound from 1790 to 1845. Kitsap County, Washington[2] and the Kitsap Peninsula are named for him.

He was an ancestor of Johnny Kitsap, 1908, also known as Chief Kitsap.[3]

Having been prominent before white settlement of Puget Sound began, oral history is the only basis for most of what can be said about Kitsap, and many reports offer conflicting information. He may have been one of the Indians who was welcomed aboard HMS Discovery by Captain George Vancouver during his exploration of Puget Sound. Some sources indicate that it was Kitsap who had Old Man House, Puget Sound's largest longhouse, built on Agate Pass, though other sources debate this.

Aside from being one of the best-known war chiefs of the Suquamish, at one point Kitsap was acknowledged as the head of the largest intertribal coalition which the Puget Sound had ever seen. Around 1825, The Puget Sound Indians, not normally organized above the level of individual bands, formed a confederation under Kitsap to strike against the Cowichan Tribes of southeast Vancouver Island, who often raided the Puget Sound. However, Kitsap's flotilla was no match for the larger canoes of the Cowichans; after suffering heavy losses in the sea battle, the Puget Sound Indians were forced to retreat. Kitsap was one of the few survivors of this ill-fated expedition.[1]

Sources suggest that Kitsap was the brother of Schweabe, the father of Chief Seattle.

Another Kitsap, a leader of the Muckleshoot tribe, was prominent in the Indian War of 1855–1856. Like his comrade in arms, Chief Leschi, Kitsap was arrested for the part he played in the hostilities, but he was acquitted. Known to boast of his healing skills and his supposed invincibility (he claimed that no man could kill him), Kitsap of the Muckleshoot was killed shortly after returning to his tribe in 1860. Three of his tribesmen had fallen ill, and died after he administered them a red liquid as medicine; their relations killed Kitsap to avenge what they saw as willful murder.


  1. ^ a b "The Indian Chief Kitsap". The Washington Historical Quarterly (University of Washington) 25 (4): 297–301. October 1934. Retrieved 2011-03-05. 
  2. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 176. 
  3. ^ McClure's magazine - McClure's magazine, Volume 3, 1908. p. 337. Retrieved 2010-03-30. 

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36 news items

Indian Country Today Media Network

Indian Country Today Media Network
Tue, 24 Feb 2015 07:00:00 -0800

When would a family of bears canoe with an orca escort? When the bear is the mascot of the Chief Kitsap Academy and orcas have ingratiated themselves into important events to the Suquamish Tribe. A pod swam close to the barge occupied by Jade ...
North Kitsap Herald
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:48:45 -0700

State Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, author of the bill that allows Tribes to operate their own schools, visited Chief Kitsap Academy prior to the start of the 2014-15 school year. 'This is a proud day,' McCoy said during his visit. 'You are the first ...

Kitsap Sun

Kitsap Sun
Fri, 06 Feb 2015 16:49:06 -0800

Chief Kitsap Academy students work with Native American artist Toma Villa on a floor-to-ceiling mural in the school's gym. Chief Kitsap Academy students work with artist Toma Villa, center, on a mural in the school gym Thursday. Rachel Anne Seymour ...
North Kitsap Herald
Wed, 13 Mar 2013 11:30:54 -0700

Four students from Suquamish's Chief Kitsap Academy had the opportunity to raise awareness of ocean acidification March 11-14 at the fourth annual Student Summit on the Ocean and Coasts, hosted by the Coastal America Partnership. The summit is being ...
North Kitsap Herald
Fri, 30 Jan 2015 09:58:31 -0800

According to the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, only four of 10 of North Kitsap School District schools and programs met Adequate Yearly Progress goals in reading and math proficiency in 2014 — one of those was Chief Kitsap ...
North Kitsap Herald
Fri, 07 Sep 2012 07:03:45 -0700

SUQUAMISH — Chief Kitsap Academy opened its doors for the first time Wednesday, and Superintendent Joe Davalos already had high expectations for the new school. “I expect to have a whole bunch of people who are going to want to come here in one ...

North Kitsap Herald

North Kitsap Herald
Fri, 22 May 2015 08:40:23 -0700

The building is located next to the Chief Kitsap Academy and displays photographs and paintings representing Suquamish culture. The upstairs is home to several administrators as well as a few offices rented to the school. There is also a conference room.

Kitsap Sun

Kitsap Sun
Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:47:25 -0800

Dobbs had a private lunch with the Native American boys of Kingston Middle School (the girls earlier in the year had a lunch with vocal artist Star Nayea), and Dobbs later did an assembly for Chief Kitsap Academy. Cindy Thompson, the middle school's ...

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