The experiences of the Grave Creek Indians of southwestern Oregon mirror those of the other tribes in the region. They however hardly survived the 1850s as most of their people were exterminated by settler and militia before they could be saved by federal Indian policies of removal. Hardly anything is known of the Grave Creeks, because few of these people lived to talk to anyone of their culture. Their area was south of the Cow Creek Umpqua basin and north of the Rogue River. They were related to and likely spoke the Takelma language like their neighbors. They wee never … Continue reading Near Extinction of the Grave Creek Band
One of the most egregious of acts against the Rogue River tribes in southern Oregon was making them pay for the destruction of the property of the American squatters out of their treaty payments, after years of illegal and poor treatment at the hands of the settlers. The Americans began traveling through and prospecting in southern Oregon in the late 1840s following the California Gold rush. During the rush and the Oregon gold rush two years later, many thousands of miners invaded the territory and began having conflicts with the tribes. The Rogue River people gained a reputation for being … Continue reading Forced to Pay for the Rogue River 1853 War
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
The first Rogue River War was a series of skirmishes and battles between mainly gold miners and the tribes. The miners had no regard for the tribes and tended to treat them badly. Some miners, the worst of the bunch, would murder native men on sight and take native women to rape them. It’s very hard to find the ultimate beginning of the conflicts, but it likely resides in the treatment of the tribes, and the histories from the 1840s of white encroachment into the region seeking gold riches. Other white men established settlements on the coast in both California … Continue reading Causes of the 1853 Rogue River War
Albert B. Meacham was an Indian agent in the 1860’s and 70’s and oversaw some changes in the reservations. He attempted to give the tribes some voice in this situation, worked to get the tribes to adopt western medicine, and began warning the tribes that their treaty funding was about to end. In short, he seemed to care about the tribes and his reports suggest that he deeply cared about what the tribes had gone through for some 16 years. He even wrote a book of his experiences, Wigwam and Warpath, which addresses nearly all of the tribes in Oregon. … Continue reading Meacham’s Final Appeal to Fairly Pay the Tribes Removed to the Coast Reservation.