Reconstructing the Willamette Valley Camas Swales

In recent work I have begun to document the various wetlands of the Willamette Valley from before settler changes took effect. Our best, and most complete set of records of this early period are the General Land Office (GLO) Maps housed now online at the Bureau of Land Management’s Land Status and Cadastral Survey Records website. The earliest surveys were in 1851 up near the Columbia and most begin in 1855 or 1856 in most areas of Oregon. The maps are a series of quadrangle maps that are coded east or west depending on where the land lies in reference … Continue reading Reconstructing the Willamette Valley Camas Swales

Palmer Strategizes Treaty-Making, 1853

In 1853 Joel Palmer, newly appointed Indian Superintendent of Oregon, was working to keep the peace between the tribes and settlers in Oregon. The plan was to remove the tribes and allow the settlers to take their lands so that the natural resources may be better used. Palmer was in full agreement of his role to help colonize the Indians and in his many letters philosophized extensively about the benefits of assimilating the tribes to civilization. But Palmer was also a humanist and wanted to tribes to be fairly dealt with by the white Americans. He saw them as people … Continue reading Palmer Strategizes Treaty-Making, 1853

Teasel Adventure

The European Teasel was brought to Oregon in the 19th century. It is a hugely invasive plant that has a habit of taking over large areas of the prairie. The reason it was brought here was to provide teasels for the carding of wool. The dried teasels would be mounted in a large machines and raw wool would be ran over them to straighten out the fibers and soften up the wool. the wool would later be turned into wool blankets, like those originally produced at the Mission Mill in Salem, and Pendleton Woolen mills.  There may be other uses … Continue reading Teasel Adventure

Late Removals to the Grand Ronde Reservation from Umpqua Valley and Rogue River

As noted in several essays on this blog, removing tribes from their lands and to the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation was not a perfect process. Most of the tribal people were removed in 1856. Still, several families, bands, and individuals remained on their lands, most wary of the removal process and expecting an early death at the hands of the settlers once gathered. Indian agents and subagents continued to work in southern Oregon managing the remaining removals, especially those located on the coast, where removals continued into the 1870s, some quite forceful and even brutal. This forced removal was imposed … Continue reading Late Removals to the Grand Ronde Reservation from Umpqua Valley and Rogue River

California Native History Contexts

In recent months I have been delving into records of the California Superintendency. I have studied several California tribes in the past, namely the Tolowa and Shasta tribes, and my master’s paper was about the Tolowa Fish Camp at Indian beach. I have not taken the time previously for much more reading about California Natives because I know its a big state with a complex history. I have had my hand full with the 60 tribes of western Oregon. But going through federal microfilm for the California Superintendency, from the beginnings of United States Indian affairs is quite instructive. The … Continue reading California Native History Contexts