David Douglas and the Sugar Pine

In October of 1826, David Douglas descends down the valley surrounding the Multnomah river (Willamette River) travelling in part through the forests on the fringe of the valley. He collects seeds and insects and notes all manner of “new” species.  He sees the valley floor was burned, as it normally is in late September by the Kalapuyan peoples, and notes they are forced into the forests to hunt for food. On the 10th of October Douglas descends into the Umpqua valley and eagerly collects new species. He travels along Red Deer River  valley, a small river which “empties itself into the River Aguilar or Umpqua, forty three miles from the sea,” and along the river he finds  a “beautiful evergreen tree” he calls Laurus Regia now called  Umbellularia californica, named finally by Nuttall as the California bay laural tree (Douglas Journals 67).  Umbellularia californica Douglas then notes that his Laurus Regia is used by his hunters, Indians hired to hunt

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Meacham’s Final Appeal to Fairly Pay the Tribes Removed to the Coast Reservation.

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. The appendices of the book contain many of his best reports. The following section of a 1871 report is directly related to the Coast Treaty and the fact that it was never ratified. The tribes of the southern Oregon coast were removed beginning in 1856 to the Coast Reservation, and the Umpqua temporary reservation, as a way to eliminate conflicts

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Indian Catchers of Coastal Oregon 1850s

A truly remarkable fact of Oregon history presented itself while conducting some coastal research. In 1856 and for years after, the Indian agents employed and contracted with enterprising individuals to seek out and capture Indians still remaining in the lands or escaped from the reservations, and return them. The image recalled when hearing about this profession, is that of the Child Catcher in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In the movie, this truly evil character went around German towns hunting down children to imprison them, using candy for enticement. The Child Catcher is perhaps a direct reference to how the Germans in WWII had squads of Gestapo soldiers that were deployed with the sole purpose of seeking out Jews to capture and imprison them. As well, many non-Jews participated in identifying and informing on hidden Jews in their towns. In Southern Oregon, the new settlers in the various coastal towns would inform on the Indians living in the forests, mountains

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Canoeing the Yaquina, Coast Reservation, November 1856

The story of the Coast Reservation of Oregon is complicated. The Coast Reservation is created in 1855 by Presidential Executive Order and then for some months remains undeveloped by the Oregon Indian office. Joel Palmer, the Indian Superintendent for Oregon, planned to move all of the tribes of western Oregon to this reservation, because the 100 mile stretch of coastline and coastal mountains (100 miles long by 20 miles wide in most estimates) , were relatively unsettled, and were an intractable wilderness to the White settlers. The Coast Reservation extended from Siltcoos Lake at the south to about Cape Lookout at the north, and to the peak of the Coast Range at the east. On various maps the boundaries can change dramatically.   Palmer knew that he had to remove the tribes from living in their villages as they were in the way of White settlers, who would not put up with tribes living on the pristine prairie lands of

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The Gateway on the Central Oregon Coast, Fort Umpqua and the Umpqua Sub Indian Agency

  The southern and central Coast of Oregon is a relatively unknown area in Native American history. As the area is not well researched it is generally assumed to have been vacated during the Indian removals of 1856. However, federal records show us that this is not the case at all. That there were tribes and bands living on the central coast, even below the southern border of the Coast Reservation, and there was quite a lot of traffic of Native groups moving up and down the coast as they were either forced into the reservation and its encampments, or tried to escape the enforced poverty, starvation, and oppression of the reservation. In 1856, tribes from the Table Rock, Umpqua and other temporary reservations in the Willamette Valley and along the Columbia were removed to the Grand Ronde Indian reservation, and to habitable parts of the Coast Reservation. The Grand Ronde Reservation was conceived of, in the beginning, as being

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