Klamath Termination: Water, Timber and Sovereign Rights



Klamath indians, Wocus gatherers and canoes
Klamath Indians, Wocus gatherers and canoes

The reasons for the elimination of federal management of Indians were many. A primary reason was the tribal reservations contained the last undeveloped western lands, which had some of the last untouched natural resources in the United States. Many reservations contained significant stands of timber and clean water resources, as well as significant underground mineral deposits.

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The Grand Enterprise of Six Tribes in 1845

In 1845, before the waves of settlers had come to the Oregon Territory, a confederation of six Oregon tribes worked together to begin to expand their resources and wealth. The “Kayuse, Wallawalla, Spokans, Nes Perces, Ponderays and Snakes” sought to create vast cattle ranches in their territories. Dr. Elijah White (Indian agent) reported the happenings of their grand enterprise to buy cattle in California from the Spaniards and drive them back to Oregon.

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