Nestucca Accounts of the Great Fire of 1845 and First Encounters with White Men

There are numerous oral histories from tribal people in Oregon about catastrophic events, fires, volcanic eruptions, floods, tsunamis. Many of these stories are fantastically imagined and are likely stories of long ago historic events. These stories feature giant animals and figures like Coyote who is consistently tricking humans in some manner, and the action of tricking helps humans learn the lessons of Coyote. Stories in Oregon of creation and earth changes many-times feature Beaver who is pursuing his role of creating ecosystems on river systems. Coyote and Beaver fighting together, in Wasco and Wishram oral histories, created the Columbia Gorge, … Continue reading Nestucca Accounts of the Great Fire of 1845 and First Encounters with White Men

Signs of Burning over the Columbia Bayou

The area of the south bank of the Columbia between the Sandy and Willamette Rivers is of particular interest to the tribes who once lived there, villages of families and bands of the Cascades Watlala. Historically, there is not too much known of the region beyond the records of the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1805-1806. In 1806, the expedition stopped at and recorded several villages of people, one quite large with 25 houses noted on their map. The journals of the expedition record that these villages were the winter villages of the Cascades Watlala peoples. they would arrive in … Continue reading Signs of Burning over the Columbia Bayou

After Halting Native Burning, Came Grasshoppers

Barely ten years following the stopping of tribes setting fires in the Willamette and Umpqua valleys, signs of the change visited the settlers. Settlers saw scourges of mice, lice, and grasshoppers in numbers they could not control. These insects and rodents would have been annually controlled by tribal traditional ecological stewardship practices of the Kalapuyans and other tribes. Recordation of the anthropogenic fires of the valley tribes begins with that of Jesse Applegate in his Boyhood Times book where he recalls native women setting fires on the grassy plains in the fall in the area of Salt Creek west of … Continue reading After Halting Native Burning, Came Grasshoppers

Kalapuyans: Seasonal Lifeways, TEK, Anthropocene

Kalapuyan History (summary) From original 25,000 Kalapuyan people (estimated) in 19 tribes and bands, they were reduced to about 800 by 1850 through diseases like malaria. The loss of population caused cultural collapse and the confederation of many different villages to a very few. This left the land open to settlement from other tribes and American settlers. Americans encountered a park-like setting, a vast flat clear prairie with a mild climate and plenty of water, perfect for agriculture. The collapse of Native culture caused the collapse of most maintenance of the environment. The Tribes were removed to the Reservations in … Continue reading Kalapuyans: Seasonal Lifeways, TEK, Anthropocene