We are Treated like Slaves and are Starving: Siletz Chiefs send their Remarks to the President 1862

  In the 1860’s the western Oregon reservations were still struggling with feeding all the Indians despite promises by Indian agents, and the treaties, that when they removed, there would be plenty of food. This was a persistent problem that was not solved until at least the 1870’s. As mentioned in other essays, Grand Ronde likely had a little bit better situation, as they had secured treaty payments from 7 ratified treaties. While at the Siletz Reservation, the tribes removed there did not have claims to all of these treaties, as suggested in annual allocations of funding. Regarding one large part of the population at Siletz, the Rogue River people who perhaps could have claimed the southern Oregon treaties, many, went to war against the U.S. settlers (for good reasons, which were ignored) and as such they were disallowed from treaty payments (I have not found the exact statement that is is so, but annual appropriations suggest this.). Regardless whether

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Meacham’s Final Appeal to Fairly Pay the Tribes Removed to the Coast Reservation.

Albert B. Meacham was an Indian agent in the 1860’s and 70’s and oversaw some changes in the reservations. He attempted to give the tribes some voice in this situation, worked to get the tribes to adopt western medicine, and began warning the tribes that their treaty funding was about to end. In short, he seemed to care about the tribes and his reports suggest that he deeply cared about what the tribes had gone through for some 16 years.  He even wrote a book of his experiences, Wigwam and Warpath, which addresses nearly all of the tribes in Oregon. The appendices of the book contain many of his best reports. The following section of a 1871 report is directly related to the Coast Treaty and the fact that it was never ratified. The tribes of the southern Oregon coast were removed beginning in 1856 to the Coast Reservation, and the Umpqua temporary reservation, as a way to eliminate conflicts

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Estuaries Saved the Coastal Tribes: Joel Palmer’s Plan in 1855

I have previously written about how the coastal tribes were relocated to several river estuaries within the Coast Reservation (Siuslaw, Yachats, Alsea, Nashesne, Siletz and Umpqua). There the tribes, mostly from the southern Oregon coast, were not given much in the way of help from the federal government, there was very little money, and their Coast treaty was never ratified.  Despite the formal promises within the Treaties and the additional informal promises of Indian agents, there were few benefits to the tribes from removal to reservations.  They were made to live in these locations on sub-agencies and feed and house themselves from 1856 until at least 1878. This story of the tribes forced to remain on the sub agencies but living in relative self-subsistence conditions was not thought of by Geary or Nesmith when they were Indian superintendents, but was planned by Joel Palmer before he was fired as Indian Superintendent in 1856.  Palmer wrote a letter about this plan

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Conditions of the Alsea Indians and the Salmon River Encampment 1876-1878

As addressed in previous essays, in about 1875, most Indian annuities for the Western Oregon tribes ended because the 20 year payments were exhausted. This is true for the Siletz Reservation, for the handful of tribal people who could claim a ratified treaty, and for the Grand Ronde Reservation, where nearly all of the people fell under a treaty. The Molala treaty had not been ratified until 1859 so they have payments until 1879, while all of the Coastal Tribes did not have a ratified treaty and so they had no annuities. Because of this, the southern portion of the Coast reservation (1855-1875) named the Alsea Reservation, had contained a number of tribes from the southern and central coast that did not fall under any ratified treaty. Their Coast Treaty was never ratified despite many promises from Indian Agents. These tribes settled at the Yachats, Yaquina, and Alsea estuaries had continued to subsist and care for themselves. The Alsea reservation

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The Significance of Salmon River Encampment in 1875

In 1875, the United States Congress passed an act, March 3, 1875, to reduce the Coast Reservation. This act, terminated the Alsea Reservation, that section on the south, and opened that section to white settlement. The previous act in 1865 (President Andrew Johnson signing the Executive Order of December 21, 1865) had eliminated a section in the north and a section in the center, in part because of the Yaquina Bay oyster rush. This last southern section held the encampments at Alsea and Yachats. The tribes here were the Alsea, Lower Umpqua, Siuslaw and Coos Bay peoples. Federal records had many of these peoples on the Umpqua reservation, on the coast just south of the Coast Reservation, for 6 or 7 years until they were all removed to the Alsea Sub-Agency in about 1861. In 1865, when the Coast reservation was divided in half by opening lands for settlement, the Alsea sub-Agency was then called the Alsea Reservation. The 1875

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