Had a very nice time in Tacoma this past weekend. There were few sessions, the conference was only about a days worth of sessions. But two of the sessions had significant papers on Oregon history. They were all very good. Overall, there were no other native people at the conference that I saw. I became the de facto native scholar there, and was called on in that role. An interesting situation as I have arrived so late to this role. This is a problem that there are not yet enough native scholars that we have enough people in the fields to begin impacting the scholarship. How will tribal versions of the histories be ever heard if this does not occur? I will not accept that status and will continue to work toward greater visibility for tribal histories. If this does not occur, our histories will continue to be trivialized and we will continue to see history taught that does not reflect the reality of our experiences. Those histories are ‘retarded’ in the strict definition of the word. For a significant period of the early settlement and colonization of the region, the tribes had at least half of the experiences, the other half, the side which is rarely represented, that of the colonized, the repressed, the remainders, the survivors of genocide. We are the descendants of that rarefied body of people.
Found so much information on the map since last. I now have some great digital images of the map that were given to me by OSU Library. They have copies there and at The Oregon Historical Society Library. The new digital image has revealed another reservation that we could not see on our poor images before. the Yamhill Reservation, situation north of Grand Ronde, in another small valley, perhaps Gopher valley. Also reading closely through the narrative on the map I noticed finally Gibbs and Starling consulted with a Leonard White for the river survey between Salem and Canemah in Salem. I began researching Leonard White and found a lot. he was a riverboat captain, we was very adventuresome and would tackle rivers than had not been floated before by sternwheelers. he was the first to make it by sternwheeler to Eugene and many points up the Willamette above Salem. He also advertised in 1851 of having made it to Salem and that he would be making regular routes from the falls to Salem and above. so Gibbs and Starling probably traveled with him or saw the ad in the newspaper and consulted White for his river navigation charts. This is what they based that section of the map upon. I have since written an entry to the OE for Captain White.
A few months ago I was filmed in the Cascades by the Growing Native crew. I was helped by the folks at the Sweet Home Ranger District office, who helped with navigation and coordination for the filming. Tony Farque their archaeologist was filmed with me as well as tribal members Greg Archuleta and Julie Brown. We were there to dig camas and talk about its significance and importance to the tribes. We were lucky in choosing our film locations as the camas in the valley are done flowering by the end of May, and so we dug at Camas meadow for the bulbs at the right time. Then we went into the Cascades to Gordon Meadows and were able to find some field of flowering camas. The location is at 4000 ft and so camas flowers there later. So the two locations are amazingly close together such that people can dig camas in the mid summer in the valley locations, then about a month later go up into the mountains and dig camas again. We were able then to see two different phases in the Camas cycle on the same day, amazing! The teaser for the film is at http://www.nativetelecom.org/growing_native_northwest. I am not sure yet when the full film will air on PBS or be available to purchase.
Today spend a bit of time looking for the reference to the Gibbs- Starling map of 1851. I have a copy in digital form but its full of photocopy marks and this obscures some of the information. I found the reference and its at the Smithsonian, Cartography division at College Park. We have to go there anyway and were planning on a visit in October. But Mackey has several nice images in the Kalapuyans and OSU appears to have a clean copy in their map library. I will be going to OSU and WUU tomorrow.
But this speaks to problems in the research on Oregon history. If these resources are not readily available in Oregon, how do historians do their work? we can limp along with poor sources or get a good copy with all of the details we need.