Near Extinction of the Grave Creek Band

The experiences of the Grave Creek Indians of southwestern Oregon mirror those of the other tribes in the region. They however hardly survived the 1850s as most of their people were exterminated by settler and militia before they could be saved by federal Indian policies of removal. Hardly anything is known of the Grave Creeks, because few of these people lived to talk to anyone of their culture. Their area was south of the Cow Creek Umpqua basin and north of the Rogue River. They were related to and likely spoke the Takelma language like their neighbors. They wee never … Continue reading Near Extinction of the Grave Creek Band

Forced to Pay for the Rogue River 1853 War

One of the most egregious of acts against the Rogue River tribes in southern Oregon was making them pay for the destruction of the property of the American squatters out of their treaty payments, after years of illegal and poor treatment at the hands of the settlers. The Americans began traveling through and prospecting in southern Oregon in the late 1840s following the California Gold rush. During the rush and the Oregon gold rush two years later, many thousands of miners invaded the territory and began having conflicts with the tribes. The Rogue River people gained a reputation for being … Continue reading Forced to Pay for the Rogue River 1853 War

Removal of Four Tribes from the Umpqua Reservation 1855-1856

Between the time of the formation of the Umpqua Reservation in the Umpqua basin (1854) and the removal of the four tribes to Grand Ronde Reservation, in late January 1856, Joel Palmer the Indian Superintendent had to make fast and detailed plans. The war of the Rogue River Confederacy was raging in the Siskiyous and the Indian agents for Oregon and California were working with the US Army and the militias of both states to remove the neighboring tribes to temporary reservations to keep them from joining the fight. Tolowa Natives of northern California were imprisoned at Battery Point for … Continue reading Removal of Four Tribes from the Umpqua Reservation 1855-1856

The Second Plague: Indian Reservations

Much has been written about the impact of pandemics on indigenous populations. Columbus and his exploratory contemporaries brought slavery (some tribes had slavery already) and conquest to the new worlds, and that conquest was greatly aided by the fact that the conquistadores passed on numerous illnesses, diseases and viruses, to these new worlds. These illnesses attacked virgin populations of indigenous peoples who for the first time had to contend with new strains of influenza, smallpox, malaria, measles, and other illnesses that carried away millions of people to their graves. The estimated worldwide deaths by epidemics are in the 90 million … Continue reading The Second Plague: Indian Reservations

Causes of the 1853 Rogue River War

The first Rogue River War was a series of skirmishes and battles between mainly gold miners and the tribes. The miners had no regard for the tribes and tended to treat them badly. Some miners, the worst of the bunch, would murder native men on sight and take native women to rape them. It’s very hard to find the ultimate beginning of the conflicts, but it likely resides in the treatment of the tribes, and the histories from the 1840s of white encroachment into the region seeking gold riches. Other white men established settlements on the coast in both California … Continue reading Causes of the 1853 Rogue River War