The Cayuse Indians were located in the Columbia Basin and were nomadic, sometimes moving on a daily basis. They lived in tipis, which many nomadic tribes used for portability. The Cayuse were skilled horsemen, and used horses in hunting. They also used them for their trip over the Rocky Mountains each year to hunt a supply of buffalo to bring back for their families. The men hunted game and fished salmon. The women gathered and picked berries and dug and processed roots. The women also processed the animal skins to make materials for shelter and clothing. The men considered bravery to be an important quality, with brave warriors being held in high esteem. The strongest would be made chief.
Salmon from the Columbia River was a main source of food for the Cayuse, along with trout and eels. They hunted elk, deer, rabbits and fowl. Women gathered Camas roots, Bitter roots, wild celery and Huckleberry and choke cherry, processing them for cooked and dried foods for their survival. They also gathered bark, leaves, flowers, and roots for making medicine.