In 1858, the Spokanes surrendered to U.S. Army Colonel George Wright after hostilities caused by treaties signed in 1855 by other tribes, but not by the Spokanes. They continued to live as before, as whites founded the city of Spokane Falls and settled the Spokane River country. In 1881, the U.S. government established a reservation for the tribe, but many of the tribe refused to agree to move there. They selected parcels of land and tried to live among the whites. Some Spokanes found success as ranchers and farmers. The whites ignored Native claims and took plots of land as it suited them. Since the Indians had little understanding of homesteading law, it was easy to vacate their titles over technicalities. In 1887, the Spokanes agreed to cede all title to the land on which the city of Spokane Falls was built and the surrounding country.
In 1946, Congress created the Indian Lands Commission to hear grievances from tribes over unfair treaties. In December 1966, the government made a cash settlement for the lands relinquished in 1887.