Remarkably Good Health … except for the deaths; Siletz Health report 1863

Reservation Health Reports previous to the 1870’s are fairly rare. there are about two reports a year for each reservation. The annual reports also have some health information, but its generally very brief. The best indicator for the first two decades of the reservations are the census reports. there as a dramatic decline in population for about 15 years. In other essays on this blog I have noted that its likely that some tribes, those from southern Oregon, were insulated from some diseases, being remotely located in the mountains, and only when they removed to the reservations, and began regularly interacting in close proximity with whites and other tribes that they began getting ill and dying of common diseases.  tribes for the Columbia and Willamette valley would get many diseases early in settlement because they were the first encountered and first areas settled. Tribes on the coast had much more maritime visitation and interaction and so they too caught illnesses

read more Remarkably Good Health … except for the deaths; Siletz Health report 1863

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

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

History in the Vouchers: Joel Palmer’s Expense Journal

I have spent much time on Palmer’s and other early settler’s and explorer’s letters that I have gained a good understanding of the history of the tribes.  Some periods have missing details and so much of what I do (and most historians) is fill in the blanks with suppositions about what was probably taking place. I have also avoided some records as been too cumbersome. I have avoided most of the expense reports, as relatively boring documents without much detail. The letters tend to address the culture and changes happening to the tribes while the expense reports and budgets can be very circumspect with details of the tribes in the region. However, when I examined Palmer’s expense journal I found some historic details and perhaps even new information that must become part of the history of the tribes. First there is a breakdown by each agent for what they were expending each quarter. This can be very confusing if one

read more History in the Vouchers: Joel Palmer’s Expense Journal

Joe Lane’s Report of the Rogue River battle at Evans Creek, 1853

In 1853, the Oregon Territorial militia commanded by General Joseph Lane was fighting a series of battles in the Rogue River valley, the main battle at Evans Creek. They were fighting the bands of Chief Jo (Apserkahar) and the bands of Chiefs Sam  (Toquahear), and Jim (Anachaarah) and other head men for the Rogue River. During the battles, many men on both sides were killed and wounded. After a day of fighting both sides were exhausted and Chief Jo called for a cease fire and parlay with General Lane, because of his respect for the man. Word was passed that Chief Jo was sick of war and wanted peace.  General Lane responded and walked into Chief Jo’s camp unarmed, finding out that there are over 200 Indian warriors, well more than his men. Negotiations took place a following day, September 8th 1853, in the shadow of Lower Table Rock. The following is a written report from Joe Lane copied from

read more Joe Lane’s Report of the Rogue River battle at Evans Creek, 1853

Pee-You Kalapuyans of the Southern Willamette Valley

In the 1850’s, settlers came to Oregon and renamed many valleys, features, and places. Many of them brought names from the eastern states, place-names like Portland, Springfield, and Albany. At least one of the Oregon tribes was also renamed by early settlers. The Mohawk Valley was named by Jacob Spores in about 1849, after an eastern U.S. Algonquian tribe the Mohawk people and their valley in upstate New York. Spores was one of the earliest settlers, and lived at the outlet of the valley, on the McKenzie River. The Kalapuyan Tribe from that valley was clearly named after the new valley name by settlers and treaty negotiators. It was quite common for tribes to be named after the placenames given the valleys by settlers (for example Rogue River Indians- after the Rogue River Valley, or in this example it could go the other way). This has lead to some confusion as some local histories have assumed that Mohawk Indians, perhaps

read more Pee-You Kalapuyans of the Southern Willamette Valley