Draining Lake Labish

In 1981, I took a job weeding onion fields out Hazelgreen Road on the outskirts of Salem, Oregon, as one of my first jobs. In the summer after high school got out, I began cycling out Cordon Road, on my Raleigh Reliant, from my house near Sunnyview Drive, at 7 in the morning. From my doorstep, I would arrive at the onion fields in about 45 minutes of hard riding through the cool morning fog. The onions, likely Wallawallas, were large and grew in long rows in near-black soils. The weeds too grew large as the soils were rich in … Continue reading Draining Lake Labish

Champinefu Temporary Reservation at Corvallis

In about March 1855 there was formed a temporary reservation, or encampment, for the Champinefu Kalapuyans at Corvallis. This was one of over a dozen such temporary reservations, sometimes called encampments for the Kalapuyans, Molallans, and Chinookans created at this time to hold about 1000 native peoples who were party to the Willamette Valley Treaty. The Champinefu, also called Mary River Kalapuyans, were held in the care of Dr. Thomas J. Wright (1799-1875), a Benton County physician (some records list his birth date as 1808, including his headstone, but this does not match his census records). Dr. Wright (many times … Continue reading Champinefu Temporary Reservation at Corvallis

An Early Account of Native People Near Falls City

Each archive I enter I find new information about the native peoples of that county. Generally, the stories are of early encounters with a few native people, experiences seeing native people around town, and other adventures. A few stories, really journal accounts, suggest aspects of tribal culture. This is one of those accounts. I collected this account some 10 years ago when visiting the Polk County Museum in Rickreall. I had seen the museum from the street numerous times at its location next to a fairground. Rickreall is kind of a valley crossroads with a population of mainly farmers. Highway … Continue reading An Early Account of Native People Near Falls City

Agent of Rebirth, Kalapuyan Culture in Linn County

The Kalapuyans, for their part, accepted the settlement of the whites at first, as they saw the great wealth in new things brought to them, metals, fabrics, weapons, and beads for jewelry were much sought after. But as always, there was settlement which brought came diseases, competition for food and land, and competing cultural worldviews. Tribal people would see the Whitemen, “Bostons,”  first as wealthy neighbors, where they could count on them in times of need, while the white settlers saw the tribes mostly as a nuisance, and would not share their property, food, or goodwill with the Indians. The … Continue reading Agent of Rebirth, Kalapuyan Culture in Linn County

Modeste Demers Ethnographic Descriptions of the Tribes, 1839

Modeste Demers was assigned with the Oregon Territory, in 1837, at the same time as Francois Norbert Blanchet and they traveled together overland to their assignment in canoes and on horseback, in Hudson’s Bay trading party.  Along the way, Demers and Blanchet take time to have short missions with the tribes and baptize more than 100 people. Demers set up his initial residence in Fort Vancouver and spent three months learning Chinuk Wawa (Jargon), which was the language the missionaries used to instruct nearly every tribe they encountered in the region. In the following early report of the tribes encountered … Continue reading Modeste Demers Ethnographic Descriptions of the Tribes, 1839