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 … Continue reading Massacre at the Chetko Villages, 1853

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 and Chief Jos. Even the notion of the Rogue River tribes is … Continue reading Two Treaties of General Joseph Lane and Chief Jo, Rogue River

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 … Continue reading American Complicity in Genocide In Oregon

Tolowa Dee-ni Fish Camp and Chronology

Updated 4/16/2020

Loren Bommelyn wrote to tell me that there were some corrections needed to the Chronology. I welcomed this because this is the Tolowa’s history and not mine. He provided a detailed and Linguistically corrected series of edits to numerous of the events and corrected a few things about the essay. Loren also responds to comments by Shawn Hostler who had disagreed with my documented assertion that the dance house land was called the Henry Flat. Find Loren’s comments below the original chronology.

Tolowa Coast Village
Tolowa Coast Village Drawing, artist and date unknown

In about 1997, I met Loren Bommelyn as he began a Masters degree in Linguistics at the University of Oregon. For his second and last year I was his roommate on in a University of Oregon Moss Street graduate house. Loren and his family were very giving of their time and I grew to appreciate their positivism while I was engaged in my Masters studies (the Masters and PhD studies would eventually lead to me becoming the Cultural Resources Manager at my tribe, the Grand Ronde Tribe). Loren had almost single-handedly built the Nelechundun Dancehouse at Smith River, and preserved their language, brought back dancing and singing in the traditional language and songs. Loren wrote the Tolowa Dictionary and devised a new language preservation technique, which is now called the Master-Apprentice system and was implemented at the University of California, Berkeley, which teams elder language speakers with apprentices who become fluent in the program.

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