In 1855-56 Oregon Indian Superintendent Joel Palmer established a number of temporary reservations to hold Indians in Oregon. Many tribes had negotiated treaties and were awaiting the ratification of the treaties in Congress. The majority of treaties were ratified by April of 1855. With unrest on the Columbia in the final battles of the Yakima Indian War and with new unrest in southern Oregon in the Rogue River region, Palmer acted to remove the peaceful tribes, many of whom did not have treaties. He moved them to preserve them from settler wrath, and to prepare for their movement to the permanent reserve at Grand Ronde. Some of these peaceful tribes were on the Columbia and they had signed treaties in 1851 which were never ratified. They had been severely reduced in population by a wave of epidemics in the 1830’s and 1840’s which caused at least a 90% decline in population. As such, they were a remnant of their former
Southwest Oregon Research Projects & The Archival Collection In 1995, I attended an event that would impact me for many years. The event was a potlatch held by the Coquille tribe and the University of Oregon. There was given away copies of some 50,000 pages of information collected from the Smithsonian Institution to the Tribes of Oregon. It was amazing to see all of these national figures in anthropology and the university and local tribes attend and receive their gifts. I did not known much about the project then, nor did I view the collection. It wasn’t until 1997 when I became involved as a researcher in the second SWORP project, that I became intensely interested in the collection, the information it contained, and its potential to help the tribes in Oregon. The Southwest Oregon Research Project or SWORP began as a Project to help the Coquille Tribe collect the paper proof of their existence. They, along with some
Reverend Robert Summers, the Episcopalian Minister of McMinnville (1873-1881) had a varied history in Oregon. Robert went from being a settler, to becoming an Episcopalian minister, while he collected Indian artifacts from various reservations in the region while his wife Lucia engaged in botanical collecting. In 1853 the young Robert Summers, who was born in Kentucky, took up a land claim in Eola Hills, northern Polk County, west of Salem. Summers was a distant relative of the Applegate family. The Applegates famously settled in Oregon in 1844, at Salt Creek, and was one of the first families in the area, becoming important politicians, surveyors and Indian Agents in the state. Its likely that Summers had heard of the opportunities in Oregon through these family connections and came to Oregon to seek his own fortune. But in 1855 Summers sold his claim and moved back to the United States (GLO maps were researched and no apparent drawing exists of the claim).
A letter addressed to J. W. Huntington, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon in 1862. The letter was from John Campbell who had worked for John McLaughlin and was making an appeal to grant the Clackamas Tribe rights to return to their traditional village and fish for salmon. He writes, “An Indian named George of the Clackamas is here and is very anxious to be permitted to come here during the fishing season and bring his family” “The Clackamas village is on Mr. Cason’s land, immediately opposite Mr. Wm. Buck’s Saw Mills. I understand from Mr. Buck that Mr. Cason and himself had no objection at all to the Indians remaining there, and they must assuredly have been as much interested in their removal as others who lived at a greater distance from them.” After a bit of research I found the Cason Donation Land Claim in the town of Gladstone, and the 1852 GLO survey map shows clearly
In the story of the American West, the notion of depredations is significant. Depredations in the West refers to the conflicts when Native peoples attacked American settlements and caused damage, or stole the settler’s belongings. These actions resulted in depredations claims by the settlers, ranchers or miners within the next few years, to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for recovery of the monetary value of the depredations. Depredations claims usually had some sort of testimony from the settler, miner or rancher, of the things they lost in the attack or raid. The claims may be a few dollars to thousands of dollars. In the Oregon Territory of 1857 these claims began growing from the Rogue River Indian wars, and agents in Oregon had to ask for federal money to pay these claims. Various financial documents suggest the value of these liabilities rose to double above the allocated funds for each year. I think the agents had some responsibility to do an