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The Pacific Slope Indians

 Native American Nations | A Century of Dishonor                    

 

The Indians on the Pacific slope are divided as follows: in Washington Territory, about 14,000; in Oregon, 12,000; in California, 22,000.

Washington Territory
The tribes residing in Washington Territory are the Nisqually, Puyallup, and other confederate tribes; the D'Wamish and other allied bands; the Makahs, the S'Klallams, the Qui-nai-elts and Qui-leh-ute, the Yakamas, the Chehalis, and other allied tribes, and the Colville, Spokanes, Coeur d'Alene, Okanagans, and others.
Nisqually, Puyallup, and others. These Indians, numbering about 1200, have three reservations, containing, as per treaty of 1854, 26,776 acres, situated on the Nisqually and Puyallup Rivers, and on an island in Puget Sound. Some of these Indians are engaged in farming, and raise considerable wheat, also potatoes and other vegetables. Many are employed by the farmers in their vicinity; while others still are idle and shiftless, spending their time wandering from place to place. One school is in operation on the Puyallup Reservation, with au attendance of eleven scholars.

D'Wamish and others.
The D'Wamish and other allied tribes number 3600, and have five reservations, containing in all 41,716 acres, set apart by treaty made with them in 1855, and located at as many points on Puget Sound. Many of these Indians, particularly those residing on the Lummi Reservation, are industrious farmers, raising all the produce necessary for their support, and owning a large number of cattle, horses, hogs, etc. while others are either employed by the neighboring white farmers or engaged in lumbering on their own account. They are generally Christianized, most of them members of the Catholic Church. One school, with fifty-seven scholars, is in operation on the Tulalip Reservation, where all the Government buildings are located. This school has had a remarkable degree of success, as reported by the agent and by disinterested visitors.

Makah
These Indians number 604, and have a reservation of 12,800 acres, set apart by treaty made with them in 1855, and located at the extreme north-west corner of the Territory. They are a bold, hardy race, not inclined to till the soil for a support, but depending principally upon fishing and the taking of fur-seal for their livelihood. One school is in operation among them, with an attendance of sixteen scholars.

S' Klallam
These Indians, numbering 919, have a reservation of 4000 acres, set apart by treaty made with them in 1855, and ' located on what is known as " Hood's Canal." Some of them are engaged, in a small way, in fuming; and others are employed in logging for the neighboring saw-mills. Their condition generally is such that their advancement in civilization must necessarily be slow. A school has been established on the reservation, and is attended by twenty-two scholars.

Qui-nai-elts, Qui-leh-ute, Hoh, and Quits
These Indians number 520, and have a reservation of 25,600 acres, in the extreme eastern part of the Territory, and almost wholly isolated from white settlements, set apart under a treaty made with them July 1st, 1855. But one of the four tribes mentioned, the Qui-nai-elts, live upon the reservation: the others reside at different points along the coast, northward from the reservation. These declare that they never agreed to sell their country, and that they never knowingly signed any treaty disposing of their right to it. The bottom land on the reservation is heavily timbered, and a great deal of labor is required to clear it; but, when cleared, it produces good crops. Many of the Indians, though in the main fish-eaters (the Qui-nai-elt River furnishing them with salmon in great abundance), are cultivating small patches, and raise sufficient vegetables for their own use. One school is in operation on the reservation, with an attendance of fifteen scholars.

Yakama
The Yakamas number 3000, and have a reservation in the southern part of the Territory, containing 783,360 acres, set apart for them by treaty of June 9th, 1855. These Indians belong to numerous bands, confederated under the title of Yakamas. Many of them, under the able management of their present agent, have become noticeably advanced in civilization, and are good farmers or skilled mechanics. The manual -labor school at the Yakama Agency has been a complete success, and of incalculable benefit in imparting to the children a practical knowledge of farming and of the different mechanical .arts. Their principal wealth is in horses, of which they own 12,000. The fact that the reservation for these Indians is located east of the Cascade Mountains, away from all contact with the whites, has doubtless tended, in a great measure, to make this what it is-the model agency on the Pacific slope: though to this result the energy and devotion of Agent Wilbur have greatly contributed. Churches have been built on the reservation, which are well attended, the. services being conducted by native preachers. There are at present two schools, with an attendance of forty-four scholars.

Chehalis and others, Remnants of Tribes, and Parties to no Treaty with the Government.
These Indians number about 600, and have a reservation of 4322 acres in the eastern part of the territory, set apart for them by Executive order of July 8th, 1864. A considerable portion of the laud in this reservation is excellent for agricultural purposes; and quite extensive crops are being raised by the Indians of the Chehalis tribe. None of the other tribes for whom the reservation was intended reside upon it, declining to do so for the reason that they do not recognize it as their own, and fear to prejudice their claims to other lands by so doing.

All these Indians have horses and cattle in abundance. They are industrious; and, being good field-hands, those of them who do not farm on their own account find ready employment from the surrounding farmers, their services always commanding the highest wages. Having no treaty relations with the Government, no direct appropriations are made for their benefit. They, however, receive some assistance from the general incidental fund of the Territory. The Indians herein referred to as not living upon the reservation are of the Cowlitz, Chinook, Shoalwater Bay, and Humboldt tribes. They profess to desire a home at the mouth of the Humboldt and Coinoose rivers, where they originated.

Colville and other Tribes
These Indians, numbering 3349, occupy the north-eastern portion of the territory. They have no treaty relations with the Government, and, until the present year, have had no reservation set apart for them. They are now, however, to be established, under an order of the President of July 2d, 1872, in the general section of the Territory where they now are, upon a tract which is bounded on the south and east by the Columbia River, on the west by the Okinakane River, and on the north by British Columbia. The tribes for whom this reservation is designed are known as Colville, Okinakane, San Poel, Lake Spokane, Cceur d'Alene, Calispell, and Methow. Some of these Indians, however, have settled upon valuable tracts of land, and have made extensive improvements, while others, to a considerable number, have begun farming in a small way at various points within the district from which it is proposed to remove their respective tribes. It is doubtful whether these individuals will voluntarily remove to the reservation referred to, which is some distance west of their present location. It is proposed, there fore, to allow such as are engaged in farming to remain where they are, if they so desire. Owing to the influx of whites into the country thus claimed or occupied by these Indians, many of them have been crowded out; and some of them have had their own unquestionable improvements forcibly wrested from them. This for a time during the past summer caused considerable trouble, and serious difficulties were apprehended; but thus far peace has been preserved by a liberal distribution among them of agricultural implements, seeds, blankets, etc. No funds are appropriated specially for these Indians, such supplies and presents as are given them being furnished from the general incidental fund of the Territory.

Oregon
The tribes residing in Oregon are the Umatilla, Cayuse, Walla-Walla, Wascoe, Molel, Chasta Scotan, Coosa, Alsea, Klamath, Modoc, and Wal-pah-pee Snakes, besides numerous other small bands. They are all native to the country. On account of the great number of small tribes and bands in this State-the number of tribes and bands parties to the same treaty being in some cases as high as ten or fifteen-these Indians will be treated of, and the remarks concerning them will be made, under the heads of the agencies at which they are respectively located.

Umatilla Agency
The tribes located at this agency are the Umatilla, Cayuse, and a portion of the Walla-Wallas, and number 837. They have a reservation of 512,000 acres, situated in the north-eastern part of the State, set apart for them by treaty of June 9th, 1S55. This reservation is very fertile, and, as usual in such cases, has attracted the cupidity of the whites. A proposition was made last year, under the authority of Congress, to have the Indians take land in severalty, or sell and remove to some other reservation. The Indians, however, in the exercise of their treaty rights, refused to accede to this proposition. These Indians are successfully engaged in agricultural operations, are nearly self-supporting, and may be considered, comparatively speaking, wealthy. It is gratifying to state that the introduction of whiskey by whites upon this reservation, and its sale to the Indians, has, during the last year, received a decided check through the vigilance of Agent Cornoyer in causing the arrest and trial of four citizens for a violation of the law in this respect. All the parties charged were convicted, and are now in prison. This is especially worthy of note, from the fact that it is always exceedingly difficult to obtain convictions for such dealing with Indians in any section of the country. There is one school in operation on the reservation, with an attendance of twenty-seven scholars.

Warm Spring Agency
The Indians at this agency, known as the "Confederated Tribes and Bands of Indians in Middle Oregon," comprise seven bands of the Walla-Walla and Wasco tribes, numbering 626. They have a reservation of 1,024,000 acres, located in the central part of the State, set apart for them by the treaty of June 25th, 1855. Though there is but little really good land in this reservation, many of the Indians, by reason of their industry, have succeeded measurably in their farming operations, and may be considered as self-sustaining. In morals they have greatly improved; so that polygamy, the buying and selling of wives, gambling, and drunkenness have ceased to be common among them, as in the past. There are some, however, who are disposed to wander off the reservation and lead a vagabond life. But little advancement has been made in education among these
Indians. One school is in operation at the agency, with an attendance of fifty-one scholars.

Grand Ronde Agency
The Indians at this agency comprise the Molalla, Clackama, Calapooia, Molel, Umpqua, Rogue River, and other bands, seventeen in all, with a total population of 870. The reservation upon which these bands are located is in the northwestern part of the State. It contains 69,120 acres, and was set apart for their occupation by treaty of January 22d, 1855, with the Molalla, Clackamas, etc., and by Executive order of June 30th, 1857. Some portions of this reservation are well adapted to grain-raising, though much of it is rough and heavily timbered. An allotment of land in severalty has been directed to be made, much to the gratification and encouragement of the tribes. These Indians are inclined to industry, and show commendable zeal in cultivating their farms, growing crops which compare favorably with those of their white neighbors. Their customs and habits of life also exhibit a marked improvement. One school is in operation, with an attendance of fifty scholars.

Siletz Agency
The Indians at this agency are the Chasta Scotan and fragments of fourteen other bands, called, generally, coast tribes, numbering altogether about 2500. These Indians, including those at the Alsea Sub-agency, have a reservation of 1,100,800 acres set apart for them by treaty of August 11th, 1855; which treaty, however, has never been ratified, although the reservation is occupied by the Indians. They were for a long time much averse to labor for a support; but recently they have shown more disposition to follow agriculture, although traditionally accustomed to rely chiefly upon fish for food. Many already have their farms well fenced and stocked, with good, comfortable dwellings and out-houses erected thereon: There is no reason why they should not, in time, become a thoroughly prosperous people. The failure to make allotments of land in severalty, for which surveys were commenced in 1871, has been a source of much uneasiness to the Indians, and has tended to weaken their confidence in the good intentions of the Government. One school is in operation on the reservation, with an attendance of twenty scholars. None of the tribes or bands at this agency have any treaty relations with the United States, unless it may be a few members of the Rogue River band, referred to under the head of the Grand Ronde Agency.

Alsea Sub-agency
The Indians at this sub-agency are the Alsea, Coosa, Sinselan, and a band of Umpqua, numbering in all 800, located within the limits of the reservation referred to under the head of the Siletz Agency. The remarks made about the Indians at the Siletz Agency will generally apply to the Indians of this sub-agency. The Coosa, Sinselan, and Umpqua are making considerable advancement in agriculture, and, had they advantages of instruction, would rapidly acquire a proficiency in the simpler mechanical branches of industry. The Alsea are not so tractable, and exhibit but little desire for improvement. All the assistance they receive from the Government is supplied out of the limited amount appropriated for the general incidental expenses of the service in Oregon.

Klamath Agency
The Indians belonging to this agency are the Klamath and Modoc, and the Yahooskin and Wal-pah-pee bands of Snakes, numbering altogether about 4000, of whom only 1018 are reported at the agency. They have a reservation containing 768,000 acres, set apart for them by the treaty of October 14th, 1864, and by Executive order of March 14th, 1871, situated in the extreme southern portion of the State. This reservation is not well adapted to agriculture. The climate is cold and uncertain; and the crops are consequently liable to be destroyed by frosts. It is, however, a good grazing country. Although this reservation is, comparatively speaking, a new one, the Indians located upon it are making commendable progress, both in farming operations and in lumbering. A part of the Modoc, who belong by treaty to this agency, and who were at one time located upon the reservation, have, on account of their troubles with the Klamath due principally to the overbearing disposition of the latter-left the agency, and refuse to return to it. They desire to locate upon a small reservation by themselves. Under the circumstances they should be permitted to do this, or else be allowed to select a tract on the Malheur Reservation. There is no school at present in operation for these Indians.
Malheur Reservation.-This reservation, set apart by Executive order of September 12th, 1872, is situated in the south-eastern part of the State. Upon this it is the intention of the Department eventually to locate all the roving and straggling bands, in Eastern and South-eastern Oregon, which can be induced to settle there. As no funds are at the disposal of the Department with which to make the necessary improvements, and to provide temporary subsistence for Indians removed, the work has not yet been fairly commenced. The Indians who should be collected upon this reservation are now a constant source of annoyance to the white settlers. They hang about the settlements and military posts, begging and stealing; and, unless some prompt measures be taken to bring them under the care and control of an agent of the Government, serious trouble may result at any time. Congress should make the necessary appropriation during the coming session to maintain an agent for these Indians, to erect the agency buildings, and to provide subsistence for such as may be collected and may remain upon the reservation.

Indians not upon Reservations
There are a number of Indians, probably not less than 3000, "renegades," and others of roving habits, who have no treaty relations with the Government, and are not in charge of any agent. The tribal names of some of these are the Clatsop, Nestucal, Tillamook, Nehalim, Snake, and Nez Percé. The "renegades," such in fact, and so called, roam on the Columbia River, and are of considerable annoyance to the agents at Warm Springs and Umatilla: others, the Snakes, 200 in number, are upon the edge of the Grand Ronde Reservation. These live by hunting and fishing, and profess to desire to have lands allotted to them, and a school provided for their children. The Nez Percé, belonging in Idaho, to the estimated number of 200, are found in Wallowa Valley, in the eastern part of the State. They claim that they were not parties to the treaty with the Nez Percé tribe years ago; that the valley in which they live has always belonged to them; and they strenuously oppose its settlement by the whites.


This site includes some historical materials that may imply negative stereotypes reflecting the culture or language of a particular period or place. These items are presented as part of the historical record and should not be interpreted to mean that the WebMasters in any way endorse the stereotypes implied.

A Century of Dishonor, By Helen Hunt Jackson, New York, Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square, 1885

A Century of Dishonor

 

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