Palmer Strategizes Treaty-Making, 1853

In 1853 Joel Palmer, newly appointed Indian Superintendent of Oregon, was working to keep the peace between the tribes and settlers in Oregon. The plan was to remove the tribes and allow the settlers to take their lands so that the natural resources may be better used. Palmer was in full agreement of his role to help colonize the Indians and in his many letters philosophized extensively about the benefits of assimilating the tribes to civilization. But Palmer was also a humanist and wanted to tribes to be fairly dealt with by the white Americans. He saw them as people … Continue reading Palmer Strategizes Treaty-Making, 1853

Planning the Reserve on the Sea Coast

The following letters detail one side of the conversation with Joel Palmer, Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Oregon, and John Wool, commander of the Pacific Department. (I don’t yet have Palmer’s letters.) Wool’s assistant Townsend, when Wool was visiting Puget Sound, sent orders to help Palmer move the tribes from Southern Oregon, at the Table Rock Reservation, with troops from Fort Vancouver. There was a shortage of troops at this time because at the same time several companies were deploying into Washington State to encounter the Yakimas and Klickitats who were being hostile. The Yakimas and Klickitats had already forced … Continue reading Planning the Reserve on the Sea Coast

Coles Valley settlers want the Resources on the Umpqua Reservation, 1854

The following two letters are an example of how the settlers could not live with the tribal people having any resources. The settlers in 1854 had won, and they were about to gain the whole Umpqua Valley. There had been no war or any real conflicts from the Umpqua tribes. The tribes of the Umpqua Valley, numerous bands of the Yoncalla Kalapuya, the upper Umpqua, the Southern Molalla and the Cow Creek band were completely removed to reservations by summer of 1855. (except the Molalla who were not moved until December) The only real conflict was from the settlers who … Continue reading Coles Valley settlers want the Resources on the Umpqua Reservation, 1854

The Umpqua River Indians Prepare for Removal

William Martin, the Sub-Indian Agent of the Umpqua and Coos Bay was appointed to the position by Joel Palmer in June 1853. He worked to understand the tribes of the Umpqua better, to follow Palmer’s orders and describe the tribes as best as he could. He did this for more than six months without even knowing what his salary was to be. The Umpqua Valley was exceedingly complex with at least four different tribes from different languages living in the valley. There were the Upper Umpqua, a somewhat scattered group of people speaking athapaskan language, perhaps the most northern of … Continue reading The Umpqua River Indians Prepare for Removal

Preparing for Purchase, First Indian Agent in Coos Bay, 1853

When Joel Palmer was appointed to Superintendent of Indian Affairs in May 1853 he had a good working knowledge of the tribes but had never visited the southern Oregon coast. He began to scope out and plan how southwestern Oregon was to be managed as there were numerous tribes in that region. His first effort was to halt the Rogue River War which was raging in the area of the gold mines of southern Oregon. Palmer teamed up with General Joe Lane to bring the war to a swift end with a treaty of peace (9/8/1853) and a treaty of … Continue reading Preparing for Purchase, First Indian Agent in Coos Bay, 1853