A State of Open Warfare: the Chetko Massacre revisited

Rape, threats of violence, and Murder were the tools used by the Whitemen who came to the region encompassing northern California and southern Oregon in search of opportunity and gold. The coastal towns of the tribes, in the vicinity of the much more recent white settlements were particularly susceptible to violence owing to the concentration of a variety of white settlers and the continual push for greater opportunity for any who visited the region. The tribes were in the way of White settlements and many of the Whites sought to hunt them out and to exterminate them like wolves. Indian agents had a tough job, having to defend the tribes and their rights while not upsetting the settlers too much despite all of their lawless actions. Ironically. when unlawfully attacked by White militia, the tribes were seen as the people who needed to change, who needed to adapt to the lawful ways of the White American civilization. The following narratives

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The Most Persistent Attempt to Exterminate the Tribes, Beginning with the Yontocket Massacre 1853

As related in my previous essay about the Chetko Massacre, there was a massacre of the Tolowa in 1853. The Palmer account suggest the previous massacre was the work of the same 8 or 9 men who destroyed the two Chetko villages in March of 1853. Annette Reed, a Tolowa descendant (Tolowa Dee-ni Nation),  and Professor of Ethnic Studies at Sacramento State University, suggests that the way in which the history was written is suspicious. The pioneer account from the History of Del Norte County (Bledsoe), suggests that it was the Tolowa’s own fault that the massacre happened. In the Spring of 1853 a man called California Jack accompanied by several others, started from Crescent City on a prospecting tour intending to visit some place near Smith’s River. A short time afterwards an Indian was seen in town carrying a revolver with the name “California Jack”, engraved  upon it. Surmising that the prospectors had been murdered by Indians, a party

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Massacre at the Chetko Villages, 1853

The following is a direct transcription of a report from Joel Palmer of the Chetco Massacre of 1853. This is a well-known massacre on the southern Oregon Coast, and referenced in many of the ethnographies and Native histories of the area. In the account Palmer describes a grisly scene of a successful attack on two Chetko villages, burning the men in their houses, shooting many, and completely destroying both villages over a period of two days. Some people survive this account but life for them will never be the same. Palmer references an attack and massacre of the Tolowa villages at Smith River, California. These are well known massacres that obliterated hundreds of Tolowa Deeni people over many years, beginning in 1853. They are somewhat referenced in my Tolowa historic timeline. This fact once again points out the need to ignore the state lines when we do ethnohistoric research, because there were not distinct and separate massacres, like a California

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Two Treaties of General Joseph Lane and Chief Jo, Rogue River

This is an article meant to clear up some mistaken histories. In the past historians have mixed up the two treaties and the meetings between Joseph Lane and Chief Jo. At times historians have attributed the 1850 events as taking place in 1853. The history of Oregon Indians is not a neat and clean history with clean divisions. There are multiple overlapping events with the same individuals. There is also a diversity of tribes, some 60 in western Oregon alone. In S.W. Oregon there were several Chief Johns. Even the notion of the Rogue River tribes is confusing, as early on, that meant the Takelman tribes, while later that term meant the confederation of tribes (Athaqaskan, Shastan, Takelman and some Umpqua) that fought against American imperialism. In short there are many confusing events in this history. This essay is meant to distinguish between the two events. There is much more detail to the events than I show here. I suggest

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American Complicity in Genocide In Oregon

Over the years, I have made innumerable presentations about the history of the Oregon Tribes. My history is developed from my own research into the tribal histories and I have addressed many topics which have been important to understanding the history of the tribes, and why tribes live the way they live today.  I have delved into topics which have not been well covered by past or current scholarship. Much of the information is not taught or known about by many Oregonians. I have used this statement many times to catch the attention of people who admittedly never learned the history of the tribes of Oregon.  “The settlers tried to exterminate the Indians.” I have used the words extermination, and genocide, and even holocaust in numerous occasions across the state. I might have turned  a few people off by stating this as I think many do not want to address these deeper topics as it perhaps addresses their own family history in

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