Tribal Forced Removal “Trails of Tears”

Oregon has a long history of forced removal the the tribes to reservations. The first removals were the Rogue and Umpqua tribes to the Table Rock and Umpqua reservations between 1853- 1855.  Then secondary removals forced the tribes to the permanent reservations of Grand Ronde, Coast, Warm Springs, and Umatilla in 1856. Additional removals of tribal people to Nez Perce, Klamath, and Malheur happened in the 1860s and 1870s. Additional conflicts and changed in national Indian policy removed tribes from Nez Perce, Malheur, and the Coast reservations in the 1870’s and 1880’s. All of these removals caused massive changes to the tribes as none of the promises of the treaties were realized. Even in the 1950’s, tribes were terminated and/or lost lands at Grand Ronde, Siletz and Klamath, and resources like Celilo Falls as a final phase of removal and an end to the promised permanent reservations of western Oregon.

The story of the removals is dramatic, and rival any similar stories of tribal removal across the United States. For each tribe their removal was a time of sadness as people gave up all their lands, sold everything that they may survive the constant onslaught from the Americans. All promises made of a better life for tribal people on the reservations went unrealized. In fact the opposite occurred for many tribal families, and many today suffer from this differential history of the lack of resources, of racist treatment by the white Americans, and from some 160 years of repression by the federal government. These stories of removal are called “Oregon’s Trails of Tears” as each tribe has a unique and important story.

The following are a few essays in the blog of tribal removals:

War on the Umpqua Tribes and Removal to the Umpqua Reserves

We Are Willing to Remove Anywhere, Where We Can Obtain Peace: Removal of the Rogue River Tribes To the Grand Ronde Reservation

Weakening the Confidence of the Tribes, Planning their Removal 1854-1856

Cascade Watlala Removal in April 1856

Umpqua Journal of Removal To the Grand Ronde Encampment, 1856




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