The Clackamas were major fisher people in the Willamette and Columbia. The Willamette Falls is second only to Celilo in the lower Columbia for fishing for salmon. At the falls is also an extensive Lamprey eel run as well. The Clackamas also appear to have had permanent settlement at all of their fishing villages year round. Their version of the seasonal round would have their seasonal fishing villages and camps swell by dozens if not hundreds of additional peoples when the fish were running. Two notations about fishing villages in Drucker rate mention here. the first is the Wexsun village at St. John, which was a recognized fishing people who traveled up the Willamette to fish near Oswego, for sturgeon. The resource may have been the reason for the village in the first place. The Wexsun village is normally associated as the same as the the Wakanassisi by scholars. The other village is the Gauwu hai Pat,
The Clackamas Come to Grand Ronde Reservation Preparing to Leave The Clackamas are addressed in letters as living in small encampments near Oregon City. They likely had a small site at Wilamet village on the Clackamas, and a small reserve on the west side of the river at the falls. Victoria Howard’s family appear to have lived away from Oregon City as when they are removed, they first go to Oregon City. From there they would walk up the portage to Canemah and catch a steamer, or in this story a barge, to Dayton. They had to leave most of their large possessions, losing these things. Tribal peoples had no rights, and so did not have rights to keep possessions, nor could they sue for the value of their possessions. Horses and houses were valuable possessions, but Indian people were severely discriminated against by the Americans, who would immediately take the things they left behind and occupy their houses. When
The Clackamas (Tlakamas) lived along the Clackamas river and along the lower Willamette. Their villages and associated territorial claims extended from Willamette Falls to the Willamette Slough. Scholars still debate the full reach of the Clackamas territory. At Willamette Falls there were villages on both sides of the river below the falls, one village above the Falls at Canemah and one village down by where the Tualatin River enters the Willamette. There were additional villages near the Clackamas estuary, and at Milwaukee. There was a village on an island in the Willamette. Some of these village at the falls are addressed as Clowewalla as well. The reality is that Clackamas was not one tribal nation, but a number of powerful chiefs who held power over their individual districts. These chiefs were all interrelated by marriage and shared the same culture. The chiefs and other leaders chose to band together to make a powerful Clackamas nation. The strength of the nation
Native kinships are incredibly complex. They do not follow the nice neat patterns of kinship that Americans have adopted from their European ancestors. Native peoples did not marry inside their own tribes, but were influenced by societal norms to marry someone from outside of the tribe. People born of royalty were encouraged to or arranged to marry royalty in other tribes and in this manner leadership roles and genealogies were kept within certain families. It can safely be said that all of the tribes in a particular region are all interrelated with one another by Native laws of marriage. But where is there proof that native people intermarried with other tribes? The proof is in a number of key ethnographic documents, journals and letters which document kinship in the time before reservations. One such document is a letter written by Joel Palmer in 1855 that addresses how various chiefs of the Chinookan tribes, Clackamas, Cascades, and Clowwewalla people are related.
In November 1851 Dart finally is ready to return to Washington DC with the treaties to present them to Congress. Earlier in the year, when Dart arrived in Oregon, he first visited the Umatilla basin to try to work a deal with the Umatilla regional tribes for the removal of some 4,000 western Oregon Indians to the Umatilla. In the council, the Umatilla regional tribes refuse. Dart seemed undaunted and establishes an Indian Agency Office in Umatilla. He then returns to western Oregon and first visits the Clackamas Indians to settle their land claims. Dart makes no progress with the Clackamas treaty and decides to proceed with the Willamette Valley treaties first, mainly because he was originally ordered to settle the land in the valley first, to prepare for increasing settlement of white Americans. He then visits Tansey Point and Port Orford to negotiate and sign treaties with the Chinook, Tillamook, Coquille and Rogue River Indians. In November, just before