And other regional tribes and bands.
I was not quite twelve years old then. I remember that we arrived at our destination at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon [in October, 1851] and camped under the oak tree that now stands in the yard immediately north of the Glenbrook farm house. In a very short time our camp was surrounded by Indians who seemed to come from every direction. This caused us no alarm. They came from curiosity--old Indians, squaws, papooses and all came to the number of a hundred or more. They were curious about everything--the children were objects of interest, many of them never having seen a white child. A cook stove was set up and a fire started in it, which excited their wonder and curiosity. One young buck came in contact with the hot stove pipe on his naked shoulder, which caused a leap and yell from the buck, but uproarious laughter on the part of the crowd. The Indians, although friendly and good natured, were crowding so closely about the camp that my mother and sisters were unable to prepare the evening meal, and this situation was becoming embarrassing. At that time we heard the word, "Miwaleta, Miwaleta," a hush fell upon the crowd, and an Indian appeared whose presence and appearance showed that he was one in authority. He was a man between sixty and seventy years old, about six feet tall, of heavy build, with full, round face, at least as I remember him, with none of the marked features of the moving picture Indian. The Indians seemed to regard him with reverence, more than fear. My father advanced to meet him, and by signs made him understand that he wanted the Indians to stand back out of the way, which they did, forming a circle around our camp where they seated themselves upon the ground or squatted upon their heels. My mother offered the chief a chair, which he declined, but seated himself upon his blanket on the ground. My father proceeded to tell him by signs that we had come to live there, that he would build a house. Neither of them could speak a word that the other could understand, but they seemed to arrive at a mutual understanding and liking that endured during the lifetime of Miwaleta.
During the sign language conference, an incident occurred which in a way will illustrate the character of Miwaleta, and greatly impressed my mother. A very handsome Indian boy about 11 years old detached himself from the crowd and came near the chief, stretching himself at full length on his stomach near the chief. (This boy, I afterwards learned, was a son of Miwaleta's son, who was dead). The old man's hand went out and rested on the boy's head. My mother said she knew from that that he was a good Indian. At the close of the sign interview, my father offered the chief food, which he accepted, giving a portion to the boy. The boy, who was named Sam, and myself were afterwards boon companions, and in a few months had learned the Chinook jargon, Sam learning a great many English words while I learned the native Indian, and through this medium, with Sam and myself as interpreters, a perfect understanding was had between the chief and my father, it being understood that any overt act of the Indians should be referred to the chief, but so far as our family was concerned, there never was any trouble of any consequence.
At the time of which I write, Miwaleta was the chief of five bands of Indians, all of whom comprised about two hundred souls, by far the strongest tribe of the Umpqua Valley. They spoke the same language as the Rogue River Indians, or Indians as far south as the Siskiyous. But the Rogue River Indians were the hereditary enemies of the Miwaletas, and they termed all the southern Indians "Shastas."
The bands were divided about as follows, and each band and chief has the name of the locality where they made their home: All the north side of the creek in Cow Creek Valley was Miwaleta's, and the Indians numbered about 75. The south side of the creek was Quintiousa; the head man took the same name, and was sometimes called Augunsah, the name of the country of the South Umpqua east of Canyonville; the Quintiousas were about fifty strong. The Targunsans were about twenty-five. Their head man was called ''Little Old Man." And in the Cow Creek country east of Glendale was a band of twenty-five or thirty whose head man was named "Warta-hoo." In addition to the above there was a band known as the Myrtle Creek Indians, about forty in number, but who their chief was I never knew. There were three of their number who were always making trouble: Curley, who was a large, powerful young Indian, Big Ike and Little Jim.
All the Indians north of Myrtle Creek spoke a different language, and were considered a different people, although they had more or less intercourse.
Over the Myrtle Creeks, Targunsaw, Warta-hoo and Quintiousa bands, Miwaleta was head chief, and although there was often trouble between these bands, they held together against the Shastas and Rogue River Indians.
Sam related to me some of the battles and the mighty deeds of his grandfather, Miwaleta, and at one time the chief showed my father his war dress when I was present. The dress was made of two large elk's skins dressed soft, but left as thick as possible, then laced down the sides so as to hang loose about the body and leave the legs and arms free; the thickest part of the skins were back and front and were impenetrable for arrows. This elkskin armor was ornamented with Indian paints forming figures and designs of which I do not remember the meaning. I do not remember seeing the chief wearing a headdress, but have seen the younger Indians wear headdresses that seemed more for ornament than protection. In war times they wore a single white feather from the tail of the bald or white-headed eagle that was snow white.
Miwaleta's war dress showed evidence that it had been of practical use, being pitted all over where arrow points had struck it, and the chief's arms, face and head showed many scars, which they claimed were made in the wars with the Shastas.
It has always been a question in my mind whether Miwaleta had a genuine friendship with the white man or was wise enough to know the hopelessness of opposition. That he always counseled peace and was able to restrain his people from going to war with the whites, we had ample evidence. In the fall of 1852 there were runners from the Rogue River tribes who came to induce the Cow Creek Indians to join them in a war against the whites, and a great council was held. At this council I witnessed a sample of Indian oratory. When I arrived at the scene the Rogue River Indians had evidently submitted their petition and Miwaleta was making a reply. The older Indians were seated in a large circle, squaws and Indian boys forming the outer circle. The chief was also seated and talked without gesture in a moderate but oratorical tone, the Rogue River Indians sitting in perfect silence, and the elders of Miwaleta's people occasionally giving grunts of assent or approval. I, in company with Indian boys of my age, listened to the chief for some time the day he commenced to talk. I was there on the day following; the chief was still talking, and I was informed by the boys that he continued to talk until he fell asleep. Just what the chief could find to say in such a long talk was explained to me by the Indian boys. It appears that the history and legends are committed to memory and handed down from father to son through their chiefs. In this case the chief was reciting to the delegates the history of their tribal wars and remonstrating with some of his own people who were inclined to listen to the Rogue Rivers and join them in a war on the whites. The counsel of Miwaleta prevailed, and when the Rogue River Indians went on the war path, Miwaleta's Indians encamped near our house and remained at peace.
There were many things happened to irritate the Indians and to threaten the peace. There was a class of white men in the country who acted upon the principle that the Indian had no rights that a white man should respect. In the fall of 1852 a young man, a mere boy, wantonly stabbed an Indian boy, who lingered a few weeks and died. The white boy was hastily gotten out of the country and the Indians conciliated. The settlers' hogs rooted up the camas, a bulb upon which the Indians depended largely for food. In settlement of any kind of trouble there would be a "powwow" in which Miwaleta, John Catching and my father would be the mediators. I remember a young Indian, a kind of a runabout among the Indians, broke into the cabin of a settler named Chapin at Round Prairie and stole a lot of clothing. Capt. R. A. Cowles came to Miwaleta's camp and reported the theft. The thief was apprehended with some of the clothing, his arms tied behind a tree, and was given a thorough whipping by the Indians.
George W. Riddle, History of Early Days in Oregon, Riddle Enterprise, 1920, pages 33-36. This anecdote, word for word, was part of an address Riddle gave before the Douglas County Historical Society January 22, 1912, printed in the Roseburg Review of March 1, 1912, page 2.
ATHAPASCANS NORTH OF ROGUE RIVER.
While generic names have been found for three groups of Athapascan gentes in Oregon, i.e., The Miciqwut-me-tunne or Upper Coquille, the Chasta Costa and the Chetco, I was unable to learn of any generic name for those gentes dwelling on the Pacific coast north and south of Rogue River, or for those inhabiting the Rogue River country. While, in answer to one of my questions, I was told that "Tu-qwe-ta-tunne" meant "All the people," it seemed plain that it was merely a collective term, destitute of any sociologic meaning. The same informant stated that villages included under this term had from time to time warred on other villages of the same group, there being scarcely any feeling of national pride or unity.
* * *Chasta Costa villages.--The Chasta Costa, or, as they call themselves, C-sta kqwu-sta, belong to the Athapascan stock. The meaning of the name is unknown, but Rogue River is called Ci-sta-qwut ni-li by the Naltunnetunne, and the Cow Creek Indians are called by the same people Ci-sta-qwut-nili-tcat-tunne, People far from Rogue River. I obtained the names of the villages from four Chasta Costa men, most of them being furnished by two old men, Cucl-tas-se and Ta-te-la-tun, and a few by "Government George" and "Chasta Costa John."
According to E-ne-a-ti, a Tutu, the Chasta Costa territory began at the junction of a stream called E-ne-ti with Rogue River. What stream is called Eneti is uncertain. The Illinois River is too far west, and Applegate Creek can hardly be intended, unless, as I suspect, Ta-tci-qwut-tunne should be on the north side of Rogue River with the other Chasta Costa people, for Hudedut, a Takelma village, was located at the mouth of Applegate Creek, on the south side of Rogue River. With but one or two exceptions, all the villages south of Rogue River, from Illinois River to "Deep Rock," were Takelma villages, as will be explained later.
* * *The "Upper Rogue River Indians" call themselves Ta-kel-ma, the meaning of which has not been learned. As they were first known to us as Takilma, the stock name is Takilman. The villages of this people extended along the south side of Rogue River from "Deep Rock" (fide Hugh) to the Valley of Illinois Creek, in what we now call Jackson, Josephine and Curry counties. "Deep Rock" has not been found so far on any map, but Rock Point, above Evans Creek, corresponds to its location. Rock Point is east of Woodville, in Jackson County. The chief authority for the Takilman names was "Mr. Hugh." Evans Bill (the chief) and John Punzie gave some information.
VILLAGES ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF ROGUE RIVER.
* * *The environment of the Takelma, taken in connection with their language and the names of their villages, deserves careful study, as it seems to point to a remarkable condition of affairs. It is probable that the Takelma were once the occupants of a territory larger than that just described, and that later on there was an invasion by the Athapascans, who established villages on all sides of them, and imposed Athapascan names on the Takelma villages, though they never succeeded in forcing the Takelma to abandon their own language.
J. Owen Dorsey, The Gentile System of the Siletz Tribes, Journal of American Folklore, July-September 1890, pages 232-235 Phonetic notation has been greatly simplified; refer to the link for accurate notation.
TAKILMAN FAMILY.Takilma, Gatschet in Mag. Am. Hist., 1882 (Lower Rogue River).
This name was proposed by Mr. Gatschet for a distinct language spoken on the coast of Oregon about the lower Rogue River. Mr. Dorsey obtained a vocabulary in 1884 which he has compared with Athapascan, Kusan, Yakonan and other languages spoken in the region without finding any marked resemblances. The family is hence admitted provisionally. The language appears to be spoken by but a single tribe, although there is a manuscript vocabulary in the Bureau of Ethnology exhibiting certain differences which may be dialectic.
GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION.The Takilma formerly dwelt in villages along upper Rogue River, Oregon, all the latter, with one exception, being on the south side, from Illinois River on the southwest to Deep Rock, which was nearer the head of the stream. They are now included among the "Rogue River Indians," and they reside to the number of twenty-seven on the Siletz Reservation, Tillamook County, Oregon, where Dorsey found them in 1884.
Seventh Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology 1885-86, Washington 1891, page 121
The Last of the Mohicans.
Old Jennie, the last representative of the famous Rogue River Indians, now living in this county and quite advanced in years, is making a burial robe, after the custom of the distinguished members of the tribe, in which to be laid away when the summons shall come, and she shall pass to the happy hunting grounds where the white man is not and firewater is unknown. The groundwork is of fine buckskin and is superbly decorated with the various kinds of money used by the tribe for generations past, and richly ornamented in a pleasing and skillful manner with jewels, pebbles, beads and other valuables used and admired by the tribe in the past. The robe, when completed, will weigh fully fifty pounds, and as a relic or reminder of the peculiar customs and practices of a nation of people now practically blotted from existence is most valuable and should be preserved. With this commendable purpose in view, Mrs. Rowena Nichols, the talented artist, who has been employed by the World's Fair committee to paint the Table Rocks, has procured a number of sketches of this interesting subject and will paint a life-size picture of old Jennie, wrapped in her gorgeous cerements, and thus happily preserve a sacred custom about to pass forever into oblivion. Old Jennie was born and raised at the foot of [the] Table Rocks, and during the wars was once captured by the whites, and later rescued by her people. She lives about a mile and a half from Jacksonville up Jackson Creek and to hear her tell, in that peculiar and impressive Indian style, the grievous outrages and nameless wrongs perpetrated upon her people, and their consequent annihilation from the face of the earth, would touch the stoutest heart with sympathy, and almost make one wish he could face again the brawny braves who fought and died for this fair heritage, and for which sad fate old Jennie's heart goes out in butter wails. This painting will be a valuable object lesson in indicating the fast-fleeting cycles of time and the rapid mutations of human customs and usages, and will serve as a most fitting companion piece to the Table Rocks, where Jennie was born and grew up, chiefly on war-whoops and camas, clad only in the free raw material of innocence and a copper complexion, happy in her native simplicity and blissfully ignorant of modern civilization and the gracious benefits of the McKinley tariff law.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 20, 1892, page 3
Last of Her Tribe.Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 19, 1893, page 3 Note that Applegate's "emissaries" story is told by no one else.
Old Jennie, the last of the famous tribe of Rogue Rivers, died here last Sunday morning after a protracted illness, aged about 65 years. Old Jennie, it will be remembered, anticipating her death, prepared with her own hands, in the most costly and elaborate manner, her burial robe, the material of which is of buckskin handsomely ornamented with many colored beads, sea shells, Indian money, beautiful transparent pebbles, etc., the whole weighing nearly 50 pounds. This death closes the last act in the sad drama of an historic tribe, than which no braver or more determined ever confronted and fell before the superior forces of civilization. Old Jennie was laid to rest in her burial robe Sunday evening.
----Gen. E. L. Applegate related the following episode in Jennie's career to the Tidings the other day, from which paper we clip it: In the Indian war of 1853, when the white settlers had gathered for safety at the fortification at Wagner Creek and at Jacksonville while the U.S. troops and volunteers were camped in front of Table Rock, awaiting the assistance which was coming from the north and watching the hostile Indians who were gathered in large numbers north of Rogue River, the danger of a successful and bloody raid of the Indians upon the soldiers (greatly their inferior in numbers) was greatly lessened and the possibility of the treaty soon afterward effected by Gen. Lane was greatly aided by the efforts of about a dozen Indian women who had made their home for some time in Jacksonville among the white people. These women were given comfortable quarters at the encampment of the soldiers, were supplied with saddle ponies and went every day from the camp of the soldiers to that of the Indians and labored to dissuade the natives from their contemplated general assault upon the whites. They argued that the cause of the Indians could not triumph except for a little time at most, as the whites were bound to keep coming in increasing numbers and would soon crush them out with their superior force if the Indians attempted a war of extermination. They magnified the strength of the troops and told of the reinforcements arriving and to come, and finally, General Applegate says, paved the way for the treaty which gave peace and security to the settlers. Of the dozen Indian women who rendered this great service to the settlers one was "old Jennie," who has just closed with her life the last chapter of the history of her people in this their native land. It is due to her memory that her services to them, as well as to the white people with whom she preferred to live, should be recalled and acknowledged at this time. And it is also due to the people of Jacksonville to state that these Indian women, who continued to live there after the trouble was ended, were treated with general respect and consideration, and as they dropped from the ranks of the living, one by one, their services were remembered as they were given funeral tributes and civilized burial in the quiet grounds of the dead.
Waldo, Ore., June 9, 1902.Editor Courier, Grants Pass, Ore.
Dear Sir: We have given the name "Takilma" to our little new town on the west bank of the East Illinois River, having a desire for appropriate names and believing in the perpetration of those names belonging to the Indian tribes. We have not yet much of a town, but we believe it will eventually become a place of some little importance. I have asked many people what was the name of the Indian tribe that formerly lived in the neighborhood of the Illinois and Rogue rivers, but no one that I ever asked was able to answer the question. The best that could be done was to call them the "Rogue River Indians"; consequently I have been in correspondence with the Bureau of Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington. Having been asked what the name "Takilma" meant and why it was selected and believing that it will be better to let the people know through the public press, I append herewith the last letter received from the Bureau of American Ethnology, which may be considered an authentic and correct answer to the questions as to why we have named our prospective town thusly. The contents of the letter will also, I think, prove interesting to the people of Josephine County, and will set at rest the misnomer "Rogue River Indians."
Very truly yours,
T. Waln-Morgan Draper.
Washington, D.C., May 29, 1902.Dear Sir: Replying to your letter of the 22nd, I will say that the word "Takilma" is the name of the single tribe composing the Indian linguistic family of that name. The majority of the linguistic families are composed of more than one tribe, but this case is an exception.
Takilma Indians formerly lived in that section of country lying between the Illinois and Rogue rivers. In 1884, only twenty-seven of the tribe were known to exist; this remnant lived at that time on the Siletz Reservation, Tillamook County, Oregon, where they were found by one of the ethnologists of this Bureau.
Thinking that you may be interested in the subject I take pleasure in sending you a copy of a reprint from the 7th annual report of this Bureau, giving a list of the linguistic families of America.
Very respectfully,Rogue River Courier, Grants Pass, June 19, 1902, page 1
F. M. Barnett.
NOTES ON THE TAKELMA INDIANS OFFew regions in this country are so slightly known, both ethnologically and linguistically, as the section of Washington and Oregon lying east of the strip of coast land, and in this large area the position occupied by the Takelma Indians, generally rather loosely referred to as Rogue or Upper Rogue River Indians, has hitherto remained quite undefined. The scattered and, I fear, all too scanty notes that were obtained in the summer of 1906, incidentally to working out the language of these practically extinct Indians under the direction of the Bureau of American Ethnology, are offered as a contribution toward defining this position. It may be stated at the outset that many things point to the Takelma as having really formed an integral part of the distinct Californian area, in late years made better known by the work of Drs.. Dixon, Goddard and Kroeber.
By EDWARD SAPIR
HABITAT--LINGUISTIC POSITION--The determination of the exact location of the Takelma is a matter of some difficulty. In all probability the revised linguistic map recently issued in Bulletin 30 of the Bureau of American Ethnology is incorrect in that it gives the stock too little space to the north and east. To the north the Takelma certainly occupied the northern bank of Rogue River eastward of some point between Illinois River and Galice Creek, while they also inhabited part of the country on the upper course of Cow Creek, a tributary of the Umpqua. The middle valley, then, of Rogue River, the country on the southern bank perhaps as far west as Illinois River, its main tributary, the upper course of Cow Creek, and the interior of Oregon southward nearly to the Californian boundary, was the home of the Takelma proper, or, as they called themselves, Dagelman, "those living alongside the river," i.e., Rogue River.
There was, moreover, still another tribe of the same linguistic stock that dwelt farther to the east, occupying the poorer land of the Upper Rogue, east, say, of Table Rock toward the Cascades and in the neighborhood of the present town of Jacksonville. These were known as Latgawa, "those living in the uplands," but were also loosely referred to as Widx, i.e., "enemies," a name specifically applied to the Shasta, with whom the Takelma were often in hostile relations. These eastern Takelma seem to have been on the whole less advanced than their downriver kinsmen. They are said to have been shorter in stature than these, to have used log rafts instead of canoes, and, because of greater economic distress, to have used for food crows, ants' eggs, and other such delicacies, much to the disgust of the Takelma proper, who however do not seem to have been particularly averse to the eating of lice and grasshoppers themselves. The Upland Takelma were much more warlike than their western neighbors, and were accustomed to make raids on the latter in order to procure supplies of food and other valuables. The slaves they captured they often sold to the Klamath of the Lakes, directly to the east. The few words obtained of their language show it to have been very nearly the same as that of the Takelma proper, but with distinct phonetic and lexicographic dialectic differences.
* * *NEIGHBORING TRIBES--PLACE NAMES.--The neighbors of the Takelman stock were largely Athabascan. Below them on the banks of Rogue River were the Chasta Costa, Galice Creek and Applegate Creek (or "Beaver River," as it was termed by the Takelma); southern tributaries of Rogue River were occupied by isolated Athabascan tribes speaking dialects distinct from those of other Oregonian Athabascans; north of the Takelma, on lower Cow Creek, were the Akwa or Umpqua, another Athabascan tribe, called Yagala by the Takelma. To the south and east dwelt Shasta and Klamath tribes. So circumscribed were their boundaries and so sedentary their general habits that the Takelma proper hardly ever heard of coast tribes such as the Coos or of the Kalapuya of the Willamette Valley.
J. O. Dorsey [below] gives a list of seventeen Takelma place names, the majority of which, as he himself points out, are Athabascan, strange to say, and not Takelma. I very much doubt, however, whether this fact has at all the significance that Dorsey ascribes to it; i.e., "that there was an invasion by the Athapascans, who established villages on all sides of them, and imposed Athapascan names on the Takelma villages." In view of the fact that the place names procured by myself are without exception pure Takelma words, I strongly suspect that the present ascendancy of the Chasta Costa language in Siletz Reservation made it natural for Dorsey's informant to clothe the names in Athabascan form rather than to give the genuine native names. Of the few native Takelma names that he gives, I am able to translate only one: Salwaxa, which probably means "at the foot of the creek," and which must have been applied to a village at the mouth of Illinois River or one of its tributaries; it could hardly have been a "gentile " term, as implied by Dorsey. But one of the names--Dalsalsan--that I obtained showed on examination to be clearly identical with one given by Dorsey. This name, given as the Takelma designation of Illinois River, is identical with Dorsey's Tul-sul-sun, a "village, which cannot be located."
The geographical names procured are subjoined below; it is unfortunate that the distance of the Rogue River country from the present home of its former occupants and the ignorance of the informant of all the corresponding current English place names made it impossible to identify the location of most of the villages. In regard to the character of the majority of the Takelma place names it is to be noted that they are significant, consisting generally of a phrase descriptive of some natural feature of the place. The first syllable is generally a local element. . . . The second element of the word is often some noun or noun with following adjective indicative of a geographical feature, plant, animal, or the like. Many of the names also are characterized by a final -k, a suffix that cannot be identified with any other formative element in the language, but seems restricted in its use to the formation of place names. Nouns indicating "person or people from so and so" are formed from place names by a suffixed -a or -an, the characteristic -k being always dropped. Thus . . . Dagelman means "one who comes from Dagelam," or Rogue River, i.e., "Takelma Indian."
East of the Takelma tribes were the following: (1) Daktsamala, or Daktsawana, the latter of which may be translated "those above lakes (or deep bodies of water)" (tsaa, "lake," "deep water"), the reference being clearly to the Klamath lakes in the highland above the easternmost Takelma; the people meant are the Klamath Indians. The easternmost village of the Takelma beyond Table Rock was (2) Latgau, or Latgauk, "upper country," inhabited by the Latgawa, already spoken of as possessed of a distinct dialect of the Takelma. Another name for the village of Latgauk was Lawaya, "knife in belly," referring doubtless to the warlike character of the inhabitants. This warlike disposition of the uplanders is explained by the fact that at Latgauk was waged the first war, that carried on at the instigation of Coyote by the former mythical people against unoffending Jackrabbit. On Rogue River and still east of Table Rock was (3) Hatil. From the manuscript Takelma notes of Mr. H. H. St. Clair, 2nd, is taken (4) Ditani, "Table Rock." This is probably to be read Didani and may be translated "rock above" (dan,
"rock"). Dorsey gives "Deep Rock" as the easternmost point of the Takelma and adds that it "has not been found so far on any map." But "Deep Rock" may very well be an Indian pronunciation of the English "Table Rock" (teb would, in the mouth of a Takelma, easily enough be transformed into dip, the latter pronunciation being much more in accordance with native phonetics). Below Table Rock was (5) Gelyalk, "abreast of pines" (yal, "pine"). (6) Dilomi was situated near falls of the river and was said to be an unusually large village. (7) Gwenpunk. (8) Hayalbalsda, "in its long (i.e., tall) pines" (yal, "pine," bals, "long"). (9) Daktgamek, "above which are elk" (tgam, "elk"). (10) Didalam, "over the rocks," on the site of the present town of Grants Pass, the county seat of Josephine County. (11) Sbink, "beaver place" (sbin, "beaver"), the present Applegate Creek. (12) Dipoltsilda, "on its red banks," was the name of the present Jump Off Joe Creek, an eastern tributary of Rogue River. A Takelma village in the neighborhood of this creek, and thus on the north side of Rogue River, was (13) Daktsasin, the native village of my informant, Mrs. Frances Johnson. Persons from this locality were termed Daldaniya, implying as another name for the village Daldani, "rock (is) away from stream." The reference here is, in all probability, to a well-known dan mologol or "Rock Old Woman," a potent supernatural being associated with a round flat-topped rock in the mountains near the village and possessed of great "medicine." (14) Gwendat, "eastwards" (?), not inhabited by Takelma Indians. (15) Hagwal, the present Cow Creek. (16) Yukyakwa was on Leaf Creek, and was known to the Rogue River tribes as the site of a salt lick or marsh. It was an especially favored spot for the hunting of deer. (17) Somoluk (evidently containing the word som, "mountain"). (18) Hatonk. (19) Dalsalsan, Illinois River. (20) Dagelam, "along the river" (gelam, "river"), i.e., Rogue River. (21 ) Lamhik, now Klamath River. (22) Hatgwaxi, a place name in the country of the Umpquas.
The hostile attitude which the Takelman tribes adopted on the settlement of the country by the whites was probably the chief cause of their rapid decrease in numbers, and by 1884, at which time they had already been transferred to the Siletz Reservation in northwestern Oregon, they counted no more than twenty-seven. At the time of writing they have entirely disappeared as a unity and are represented by a very few survivors whose chief means of communication is either the Chinook jargon, broken English, or some Athabascan dialect. The Takelma language itself is spoken with freedom by only three or four of the older women now living in Siletz. From the most intelligent of these all of my information was obtained. Besides these there are two other women residing at the Grand Ronde Reservation who are reported to speak the upland dialect already referred to. We have in the history of the Takelma, speaking dialects of a distinct linguistic stock, an excellent example of the appalling rapidity with which many still very imperfectly known tribes of North America are disappearing and of the urgent need of ethnologic and linguistic study of these remnants before they are irrevocably lost.
LANGUAGE.--I shall not here attempt to discuss the language itself, as that will elsewhere be made the subject of a special study. Suffice it to say that its characteristics are such as to mark it off most decidedly from those of the neighboring stocks. Perhaps its most striking features are syllabic pitch-accent and nominal as well as pronominal incorporation of the object and instrument, though it must be admitted that the noun object is not at first sight as evidently incorporated as in the Iroquois. In its general phonetic makeup it offers a great contrast to the harsh system of the neighboring Athabascan and Coos tribes, and reminds one much more strongly of the comparatively harmonious phonetics of northern California. One in itself perhaps not very important linguistic item is of considerable interest as shedding light on the general affiliations of the Takelma. In their noteworthy study on the Native Languages of California Drs. Dixon and Kroeber have called attention to the recurrence of a similar word for "dog" in about ten Californian linguistic stocks, otherwise quite unrelated.
* * *FOOD--FISHING--HUNTING.--The staple food of the Takelma is probably to be considered the acorn, of which there were recognized several varieties, the "black acorn" being considered the chief. The first acorns appeared in the early spring, at which time they were gathered and prepared by the women, who, however, were not permitted to partake of them until the men had performed a formulaic ceremony and themselves eaten; only then, and after the vessels had been washed anew, could the women also take part in the first eating. The method of preparation was essentially the same as that employed by the Hupa and the Maidu. A hole about an inch in depth was cut into the ground so as to hold firmly the flat rock on which the acorns were pounded. After these were shelled they were mashed fine by means of a stone implement, used for the purpose, of two to three feet in length, or else by the shorter telma, of about a foot and a half in length. The acorns were prevented from spilling off the flat rock by a funnel-shaped basket, or hopper, wider at the top and entirely open at the bottom, known as a bon. In the degas, a shallow circular basket-pan, the meal was sifted and was then placed on carefully washed sand, seething water being applied to extract the elements which impart the bitter taste to the acorn. The acorn dough thus obtained was boiled in a basket-bucket constructed of hazel shoots and split roots, the usual Pacific coast method of applying hot stones into the basket being employed. The final result was a sort of mush that here, as farther south in California, formed the most typical article of food.
A second important vegetable food was the camas root (dip). The root was dug by means of the tgapxiut, or "horned xiu-stick," it being the sharp-pointed, peeled-off stick of a hardwood bush known as xiu and neatly fitting at the upper end into a deer's horn to serve as the handle. The roots were prepared for use as follows: A pit was dug into the earth and filled with alder bushes which, when fired, served to heat the stones above. On top of these hot stones were placed the roots themselves, a layer of alder bark intervening between the two. The whole was covered with earth and left to roast. The succeeding day, if the roots were not yet well cooked, a fire was again built, and so on until the roots were thoroughly roasted, in which condition they were called hix. They were often mashed into a dough, and, made into the form of a big pan, kept for winter use. Strings of camas roots were often made by the children and used as playthings.
A favorite food was the manzanita berry. These were pounded into a flour, mixed with sugar pine nuts, and put away for future use; they were consumed with water. A peculiar implement used for the eating of manzanita was the bushy tail of a squirrel tied with sinew for the space of about a finger's length to a stick about six inches long. A number of varieties of seeds were in considerable use as food. Among these was the lamx, the seed apparently of a species of sunflower. When the plants were dry the seeds were beaten out by a stick used for the purpose into a funnel-shaped deerskin pouch with the mouth wider than the bottom. When the lamx was young and tender, the stalk also was eaten. In a similar way were collected the seeds of the yellow-flowered "tarweed," the stalks of which plant were first burnt down to remove the pitchy substance they contained. These seeds were parched and ground before consumption. Neither with these nor with lamx seed was water used. Other roots and seeds and vegetable foods, such as the madrona and pine nuts, were also used.
The only plant cultivated before the coming of the whites was tobacco, which was planted by the men on land from which the brush had been burnt away. Smoking was indulged in to a considerable extent and had a semi-religious character, the whiff of smoke being in a way symbolic of good fortune and long life. The pipes were made of either wood or stone and were always straight throughout, some reaching a length of nearly a foot. The custom prevailed, of course, of passing one pipe around to all the members of an assembled group.
Of animal foods the most important, naturally, were the various species of river fish, such as trout, salmon trout, steelhead salmon, silverside salmon, Chinook salmon and others; also crawfish and freshwater mussels were used as food. Fishing was done partly with lines made of a kind of grass, the fibers being rolled together by hand, while the hook was obtained by tying two pieces of bone with sinew--in which case mudcat and crawfish served as bait; partly, also, fish were caught in long nets and clubbed when hauled in the canoe; finally fish were obtained by spearing with the mal, a salmon spear consisting of a pole provided at the end with a sharp-pointed piece of bone fitted into two other pieces of the same material. After the skin of the salmon was removed, the head and tail were cut off, the guts taken out, and the body split through at the backbone. The several pieces, together with the liver, were then roasted on spits consisting merely of split hazel branches stuck into the ground. Baskets of roasted salmon were packed for winter use.
Deer were often hunted by groups of men with the help of dogs. A deer fence was constructed with a small gate opening, above which was strung a bunch of shoulder blades. To these bones was attached a rope, at the other end of which, away from the wind, a few men watched for the coming of the deer. These had been driven ever since before daybreak in the direction of the deer fence by the dogs, and by men shouting "Wa wa wa!" After a certain number of deer had been thus forced into the enclosure, the shoulder blades were violently rattled by the men in wait, which so frightened the animals that they ran into the finely spun semicircular traps of keda grass set for them. Entangled in these, they were easily clubbed to death. Such deer fences were usually built in the neighborhood of creeks or salt licks, and sometimes as many as one hundred and fifty of these rope traps were set. Not infrequently mountain forests were set afire to facilitate the driving of the deer. A choice portion of the deer meat was considered the fat, which was often eaten raw and played with by the children. Similarly to the method adopted for storing away cooked camas, hard dough-like cakes of fat were put away for use in the winter.
Outside of such larger game as elk and deer the Indians were fond of grasshoppers, generally picked from a burnt-down field and cooked for food, and of the white larvae of the yellowjacket, the yellowjackets themselves being smoked out of their holes. Salt, obtained from a salt marsh at Leaf Creek, was used in the boiling of meat and cooking of salmon, but dried salmon was never salted.
IMPLEMENTS AND UTENSILS--GAMES.--Several of the implements and utensils employed have already been referred to and been seen to consist largely of baskets. Still other basket forms were a large open-work burden-basket constructed of hazel or willow, a small basket-plate to eat out of, a round open bucket-like basket, a large storage basket; the kanakas, used for drinking purposes and of the size of a cup, a big basket made of rushes; and the basket-cradle. The ordinary twined basket was built up on a bottom of four short hazel twigs perpendicular to four crosspieces, and the twining was done with some root or grass on a warp generally of hazel or willow. The only dyes used in the designs were black and red, the former obtained by keeping the woof strands in black clay, and the latter by dyeing in alder bark. Designs in white were brought out by means of twining with a straw-like grass known as get. Spoons were made of both wood and elk horn; the sumxi, or small paddle as it were, was a wooden stirrer used to prevent the overcooking of the food.
For the purpose of flaking flints into arrowheads was used the witsamak, a stick of about a foot in length and tipped with bone. The same instrument was employed also as the twirler in the fire-drill. The bottom board or hearth of the drill apparatus was about two feet long and had drilled into it a hole which was filled with finely shredded cedar bast for tinder. Both the hearth and the twirler were carried about, together with tinder and arrows, in a quiver of sewed fawn or wildcat skins. Arrowshafts were polished with a rough-surfaced plant that served as file, in all probability identifiable with the "scouring rush." Needles were made of hardwood or bone sharpened to a point and provided with an eye, through which twisted sinew was passed as thread.
Under the head of implements may also be mentioned the shinny-stick and shinny-ball. The women's substitute for the game of shinny was played, generally three on a side, with an object consisting of two little pieces of wood of about four inches in length, tied together at a distance of six inches apart with a strip of buckskin. This xilkwi, as it was called, corresponded to the ball in the men's shinny game and was tossed about by a long pole. The goals were merely branches stuck into the ground on each side. Serious quarrels seem to have sometimes ensued from both parties claiming the victory; Mrs. Johnson told of a case within her remembrance in which one of the players, a medicine woman, claimed the victory for her side despite the protests of one of her opponents, and, angered at the obstinacy of the latter, "shot" her with her supernatural power, whereupon the death of the poor woman actually followed some time thereafter.
HABITATIONS.--The typical Takelma house of split sugar pine boards was not square, but longer than wide, the floor, which was nothing more than the earth stamped smooth, being from a foot and a half to two feet below the surface of the ground. At the four corners of the rectangular depression were set upright posts, to which, on top, were lashed with hazel fiber four connecting crossbeams. The house wall was a neatly fitting series of boards, placed vertically, reaching from the top crossbeams to the floor. Above the top framework was raised a ridgepole supported (though this point remains somewhat obscure) on two uprights forked at the upper extremity. The "house boards" were then filled in from the top beam to the sides of the house. The door was not round, as was often the case farther to the north, but rectangular, and composed of two or three pieces of lumber put together. As the doorway was raised about three feet from the earth's surface, it was necessary to build up against the "house wall" an approach of earth to admit of entrance. Having crawled into the doorway, into which the door fitted by some sort of slide device, one reached the floor of the house by descending the ladder, consisting of a pole provided with notches for steps and extending from the doorway to the fireplace. This was in the center of the room, and the smokehole, which was here not identical, as in certain California underground sweathouses, with the door, was provided for by an opening in the roof at a distance of from six to seven feet from the floor. The beds consisted simply of mats of cattail rushes spread out on the ground about the fireplace, though it would seem that unmarried girls slept on raised wooden boards or platforms. Such was the winter house. In summer the Indians dwelt in a brush shelter built about a central fire. The poorer people, it should also be noted, had to content themselves with a house constructed of pine bark instead of lumber.
The sweathouse of the Takelma was also a quadrangular only partly underground structure and covered over with earth. In one side was the door, while in another was an aperture to allow of the admittance of hot stones that had been heated on a brush fire outside the sweathouse. This firehole and the door were often kept closed so as to hold in the steam produced by pouring water on the hot stones. There was generally room enough in one of these sweathouses for six men, who often spent the whole night therein and then plunged into the cold river water in the morning. Since women were not permitted to enter the sweathouse, they were wont to sweat themselves in a small temporary stick structure covered over with blankets, the hot stones being steamed inside. It was not high enough to allow one to stand in it, and afforded room for only two or three women. After it had served its purpose it was taken to pieces and the blankets carried into the house. There was generally but one sweathouse to a village, and this was owned by one of the wealthier men or so-called chiefs, who could not easily refuse admittance to any adult. The fire was built by his servants, not at all necessarily slaves, but poor people who worked for him, dug camas for him in the proper season, and so on, and who were supported by him.
CLOTHING--PERSONAL ADORNMENT--SHELLS.--In dress the Takelma were probably almost identical with their neighbors, the Shasta. The men wore shirts, deer skins as blankets, blankets of fawn skins being used for children, and buckskin leggings or trousers and moccasins, also belts worn over the leggings and tied in front, and sometimes made of elkskin. The women, at least among the wealthier class, wore buckskin shirts reaching to the knees, fringed with tassels made of a white grass. The hats of the men were made of bear or deer hide, the ears being often left on. The hats of the women, however, were round basket-hats twined of a white grass. My informant claimed that the Takelma did not themselves make these hats but got them from the Shasta by the purchase of wives. For purposes of ornamentation redheaded woodpecker's scalps were sewed on with sinew to strips of buckskin about four inches wide. These were worn about the head across the forehead and tied in back of the head, with strips hanging down behind. Another favorite ornament was the skin of an otter cut into strips. Depending from holes in these were often attached strings of dentalium shells. The strips were attached by women to the middle of the hair and allowed to hang down loose, the hair being parted straight in the middle and made to hang in two bunches. The ordinary method pursued by women in arranging the hair was to tie the two bunches to the sides of the head, but never to braid them. Medicine men also thus folded and tied their hair in two parts, otter skins and feathers hanging down as ornaments. These latter were chiefly the tail feathers of the eagle, redheaded woodpecker, and yellowhammer, and were never used except in the medicine dance; by ordinary people (yapa gamaxdi, "raw, uncooked people") they were not used at all except in the war dance. Still another ornamental device was the working of porcupine quills into buckskin as tassels.
As regards mutilations designed for personal adornment, strings of shells were worn through holes in the ears and nose, but lip ornaments were never used. Three paints were employed for facial decoration--black, red, and white paint. The last of these was reserved for use in war, while red was the everyday color used by men and women alike. Perhaps the most striking ornamental device used by the Takelma was tattooing with needle and charcoal. Boys did not tattoo, but for girls it was considered proper to have three downward stripes tattooed on the chin--one in the middle and one on each side--as well as to tattoo the arms; in fact, girls who were not tattooed were apt to be derided as "boys." The tattooing of the men was rarely facial, but was generally confined to a series of marks on the left arm, reaching from the elbow to the shoulder. These were used, in a manner that reminds one of the Hupa custom, to measure strings of shells from the tip of the left hand. Each string had ten shells of exactly the same length, the strings of greater value having larger shells and thus reaching up to a higher tattoo mark. A string reaching clear up to the shoulder was accounted of the value of one hundred dollars, while one that reached midway between the elbow and the shoulder had a value of half that sum. It is interesting to note, in regard to the dentalium shells themselves, that they came by trade from the north, from a land, as the Indians believed, where dwelt sharp-mouthed people that sucked out the meat, and then cooked and ate it. Other shells besides dentalia were of course used for ornamental and semi-monetary purposes, such as the gos, a large highly valued rainbow-colored shell, and the ohop, half-black shells of bean-like shape employed in the ornamentation of women's shirts. A species of "Indian money" was the tsitgwix string, generally measuring from armtip to armtip and composed of round flat bone-like disks; these were often put about the necks and arms of the dead to be buried with them.
NUMERAL SYSTEM.--In connection with the shell money of the Indians may be given the Takelma numeral system. On the surface it seems to be, and to all intents and purposes is, a decimal system, but on analysis of the words themselves betrays a simpler basis.
* * *Four is evidently nothing but "two two"; five can be plausibly analyzed as "being in front"; six, seven, eight, and nine are respectively equivalent to "one finger in," "two fingers in," "three fingers in," and "four fingers in" (provided -g represents an alternative, possibly older term for "four"); ten is "two hands" (cf. iux-dek, "my hand," and -dil, comitative suffix, "two together"); the numbers between the tens are the phrases "ten one on top of " (= ten above one), "ten two on top of," and so on; twenty is quite transparently "one person" (yapa, "person" + -mis, stem element for "one"), i.e., "two hands and two feet"; the higher tens are "three times ten," "four times ten," and so on; the first element of tei-mis, "hundred," is obscure, unless it is to be identified with ti- "male," in which case "one male person" as equivalent to "hundred" would in all probability have reference to the highest tattoo mark worn by men on the left arm, for a string of ten dentalia reaching up to it was worth a hundred single dentalium shells contained in a string of lowest value.
* * *SOCIAL ORGANIZATION.--The social organization of the Takelma was almost the simplest conceivable. Each village (wili gwala, "houses many"), and the villages were generally very insignificant, was entirely independent or practically so. Anyone who was comparatively wealthy could be called a "chief"; there does not seem to have been a recognized head chief, though in time of war some one man probably was so considered. Not to speak of a totemic clan organization, which is conspicuously absent in this Oregonian area, we do not here find even the belief in individual protectors or guardian spirits gained by fasting and dreaming during the performance of the puberty rites, that plays so important a part among the Chinookan tribes of the Columbia; among the Takelma only the medicine man possessed the power to gain such guardians. It seems then that the local village community is the only purely sociological grouping to be recognized among these Indians, excluding the nearly self-evident ones of rich and poor, freemen and slaves (obtained by capture or barter), and the family. It was not permitted to marry within the family, this rule operating so far as to prevent marriage between cousins, and it was forbidden for a man to marry the sister of his brother's wife. If a man died, his brother was compelled to marry the widow, no matter how many wives he already had (some men had as many as five). There was no well-defined rule against marriage within the village, but as it must very often have happened that practically all the residents of a village were related, it was customary to look beyond the village for a mate, and in many cases even to marry into some neighboring tribe of alien speech, like the Shasta or the Galice Creek Athabascans.
* * *Little could be discovered regarding naming, but the few names that were obtained (such as Datanelatgwat, "Squirrel-Tongued"; Gwisgwashan, cf. gwisgwas "chipmunk"; and Dialda, "On His Forehead") suggest that they were generally descriptive terms, as among the Maidu, and not like the obscure and apparently meaningless names current among the Chinook and the Wasco. Property seems to have been distributed among all the dead person's nearer relatives in both the collateral and succeeding generations. The practice of demanding blood money and remuneration even for comparatively slight personal injuries was well developed. Instead of retaliating, when a blow was received, it was not infrequently preferred to keep cool and say: "Give me money (dentalia), for you have struck me!"--a demand that was legally justified.
In cases of more serious feuds the injured party often had recourse to the services of a so-called "go-between" who, after much persuasion and many threats of vengeance, prevailed upon the offender to pay an indemnity, the aggrieved party, to cement the new friendship, returning a nominal present. The proceedings, in which the whole community were interested spectators, was marked by a good deal of formality, the go-between, whose person was deemed inviolate, reporting the exact words of each party in the first person to the other and being addressed accordingly, while the interested parties themselves often said hardly a word, each being represented by an "answerer." Needless to say, the "go-between" was paid for his services out of the indemnity received. He ran rather than walked between the two parties, and was generally accompanied by his wife and another. The following account of the proceedings is literally translated from the native text:
"(Let us suppose) people who are related to each other by their children's marriage [see number 22 of table of relationships] slay one another, then they must 'pay to one another each other's bones,' dead men's bones they pay. Dentalia it is that used to be termed 'dead men's bones.' And then they make speeches to one another and a go-between is hired. Now a certain one acts as go-between. 'Give me blood money, since you have slain me [i.e., my folks]!' people said to each other. Now he whose folks had been slain, that one hires the go-between. 'Give me of that kind [pointing to strings of dentalia]; give me 100 worth!' the slayer is told. But he is not willing. 'I will not give you anything; I shall even kill some more of your folks!' says the slayer. Then the go-between returns to the other party and recounts what he has been told. '"I'll give you no blood money!" he said to you,' says he. Then the go-between (adds): '"Not in that fashion (speak)!" that is what I said to him.' (Offended party:) 'Do not tell me that, since you have slain my folks just for nothing, though I did nothing to you. For no reason you have slain one of mine. My girl is dwelling yonder' [i.e., person whose folks were killed had given his daughter in marriage to one of other side]. Thus people spoke to one another in times long past. Then he returns to the other party. 'Just you give me blood money!' he says to you. I say: 'Too far will it go! People will yet be slain,' says the go-between. Then, recounting what he has been entrusted to say, the go-between tells him thus: 'These people whose relative has been slain have become grieved at heart.' That did people of long ago say to one another when they killed each other. And then once more the go-between returns to the other party. On this side he whose relative has been slain cries: 'Keep on going across! Many things he must give me,' says the injured party. So he returns to the other party. '"Just you give me many things!" he says to you,' says the go-between. 'Give him many things!' says the go-between. He says to the slayer: 'It goes too far. Yet shall people be slain; they will get even with you. Many people will be killed. So for that reason give him something!' says the go-between. Then he [the slayer] says: 'Yes! I shall give him something. Very well!' says the slayer. 'You shall not get even with me, I shall give you something; friends we are,' says the slayer. 'Some little thing do you also give me in return!' Now the go-between returns again and whoops, his heart has become glad. Now it is known that it is intended to give him something. Many people (are gathered together). Now he [the go-between] whoops. 'I give you blood money,' he says to you. 'Do you too give me a little bit!' he says to you. Then he relates to them what he has heard. A certain one [the 'answerer'] answers him: 'That's what he says.' Then they give each other blood money. Now on either side they proceed to each other and give each other (presents). The slayer gives most of all, while he (who has been injured) gives just a little bit. Thus in times long past people (acted) when they slew one another. And also the women on both sides gave each other many things. And the go-between also is given something, is given dentalia. On this side he whose relative has been slain does that; he it is who gives him dentalia. The slayer does not give him anything."
WAR AND WAR IMPLEMENTS.--On the whole the Takelma seem to have been a rather warlike tribe, and perhaps their rapid extinction is due in part, at least, to the hostile relations in which they stood to the white settlers. The principal weapon of offensive warfare was of course the bow and arrow; the former was made of a single piece of wood, reached a width of about an inch and a half in the center, and was polished, like the arrow, with the rough weed, probably the "scouring rush." The tapering ends of the bow were notched to allow of the putting in of sinew, which was laid horizontally in several layers on the back of the bow over a glue consisting of steelhead salmon skin rubbed over it. Over the sinews black, red and white paints were laid in various geometric designs. The bowstring also was made of deer sinew. It is peculiar that among the Oregon coast Athabascans the bow was held vertically, while among the Takelma it was always held horizontally, the warrior holding an extra arrow in his mouth in readiness for the next shot. It was considered advisable, in order to render them more effective, to steep the flint arrowheads in rattlesnake blood. For defensive purposes were used elkhide hats, painted with decorative designs, and armor. The latter was composed of sticks of wood covered with two undressed hides of elk or buck sewn together and decorated, after the removal of the hair, with painted designs. The armor was without sleeves and reached only from the neck and below the arms down to the hips.
The chief symbol of being on the warpath, outside of the characteristic white paint, was the tying of the hair tightly in back of the head; the phrase "he tied his hair tight" is synonymous in the myths with "he prepared for war." It was customary for women to participate in the war dance, and they often accompanied the men in the fight, watching the slaves and cooking for the warriors. It is remarkable that in the war dance (in which the brandishing of arrows seems to have been the chief element), as also in the menstrual and medicine dances, the drum was absolutely unknown, time being kept by stamping with the right foot. This is another of those points of detail which differentiated the Takelma from their Athabascan neighbors. The only musical instrument known to them, indeed, seems to have been a rude flute or fife made out of a dry reed of the wild parsnip. It was used for love ditties.
PUBERTY AND MARRIAGE.--Of the dances just mentioned, perhaps the most important socially was the menstrual dance. At the time of the first courses, which ordinarily occurred at the age of thirteen, the girl's father invited his neighbors to a great feast for the space of five days, or rather nights (five was the mythical and ceremonial number of the Takelma). During this period the girl was not permitted to eat anything till midday, when an old woman came to her and directed her to run five times around two trees. After this she was allowed to eat, but forced to abstain from food again from about 4 o'clock in the afternoon to noon of the next day. As regards personal appearance, she had her bangs of hair cut off and painted herself with one red and four black stripes on each cheek. During these five days she was subject, of course, to a number of taboos. She was not permitted, for instance, to look at the sky or to gaze freely about her, and to ensure this a string of the bluejay's tail feathers tied on close together was put about the forehead of the girl and tied to the hair in back, an arrangement that effectually screened from her view everything about her. During this time also she was obliged to sleep with her head in a bon, a funnel-shaped basket such as was used in the pounding of acorns, the declared purpose being to prevent her from dreaming of the dead, a bad omen. During each of the five nights the menstrual round-dance and songs were performed. A circle was formed of alternating men and women with interlocked hands, while in the center stood the young girl (or rather young woman now), arrayed in all her finery of hair, nose, neck, ear and waist ornaments. The outer circle danced and sang around her, all following the song of the leader.
Before marriage girls were not allowed to move about freely and were very carefully guarded by their parents. On the whole, marriages seem to have been determined upon by the parents of the parties concerned, often at a ridiculously early age, the personal likes or dislikes of these latter being apparently but little regarded. The Indians, not unlike a certain kind of white philosophers, claimed that a couple that did not love each other when first married learned, in course of time, to love each other best of all, and vice versa. A girl was always purchased for the boy with dentalia or the like by his father or other male relative, after which the bride proceeded with her folks to the bridegroom's house, the whole party dragging along a supply of exchange presents in the shape of baskets, women's hats, camas, dried salmon and other such household articles. No dances or singing formed part of the marriage ceremony. The person or persons who escorted the bride to her future husband's house were specifically referred to as tamyanwas (cf. tamayanwia, "people escort bride with presents for future husband"). The social status of the children depended very largely, of course, on the price paid for the mother, so that poor people's children were looked down upon as not much better than dogs. So young was sometimes the newly married girl, that instances are related of how she dared not, out of fear, speak to her husband, but sought every opportunity to escape from the house. It was customary for a newly married woman to rise very early and, before eating her breakfast, gather firewood for all of her husband's folks.
The indebtedness of the husband to his father-in-law did not entirely cease with the initial purchase of the wife. Not infrequently the son-in-law, living perhaps in a far distant village, would load his canoe with presents of dried salmon or the like for his wife's parents, and visit them for a period in company with his wife. The word used to indicate this customary visit may be literally rendered "son-in-law arrives." After the birth of the first baby an additional price was paid to the girl's father in the shape of a deerskin sack filled with Indian money. This payment was considered as equivalent to the buying of the child and was metaphorically referred to as "making its pillow." For a month after childbirth the mother was forbidden the use of meat. At the expiration of this period the child was taken to the river and waved five times over the water as a sort of "baptismal" rite.
MORTUARY CUSTOMS.--When a man died, he was decorated with dentalia and other Indian finery, wrapped in a deerskin blanket, and buried in the ground. Acorns were buried with him, and a great number of baskets were strewn over the grave which, it is almost needless to say, no one dared touch. The practice of killing slaves at the grave, a custom that obtained, at least on the death of a great chief, among the Wasco, was here unknown, nor was the custom of canoe burial in use. Widows bedaubed themselves with pitch and cut their hair close as signs of mourning, but widowers did not find it necessary to be so demonstrative. A man killed in war away from home could not be buried in the regular way; in such a case it was customary to burn off the flesh of the corpse, gather up the bones, take them home, and bury them there with the usual valuables."
The writer about four years ago was curious to learn the name given to the [Rogue] river by the native Indian inhabitants, and after some inquiries made the discovery that it was lost, and the further discovery that men who fought in the Rogue River Indian War did not know the name of the tribe they were fighting against. A notice published in the Observer asking for information on the subject from old settlers and war veterans brought no results.
"Oregon's People Love Beauties of the Rogue River," Christian Science Monitor, Boston, January 2, 1909, page 6
THE ROGUE RIVER TRIBES AND THE FIGHT FOR GOLD
By ELWOOD ALFRED TOWNER
Attorney for Oregon Indians
Myrtle Point, Oregon
The writer has written several articles relative to the Indian religion, customs, education and teachings, and covered the red man in his native surroundings and environment, and at this time I wish to explain for the benefit of those who are more or less biased in their opinions and connections, the geographical boundaries of the various tribes in our district, and also to cover the several causes of dissension and proximate reasons of the Tututni or Rogue River war in the early days.
The two most important causes of the above war in the early fifties was the greed and lust for "gold" by the early miners and most of the white pioneers and also the flagrant disregard of the moral code upon the part of a few ruthless and degenerate whites who saw fit to debauch the Indian women and girls, and this class of perverted and contorted racial mixtures have caused more crime and grief wherever they lived up to and including our present period and for time immemorial '"that the mind of man runneth not to the contrary."
Criminologists agree the county over that this class as a whole are greatly inferior both physically and mentally to the average people, and tests conducted amongst the inmates of our prisons and other institutions affirm the above contention and views. [Towner, alias "Red Cloud," was an admirer of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, with all the beliefs that implies.]
It is common knowledge in our country here and also in the Black Hills country in South Dakota that the Indians in the early days possessed trinkets manufactured from "gold," and this my friends is why a campaign of bloodshed, lust, greed and crime was carried on by our early white "heroes" to divest, rob and steal the lands occupied by the Indian people. [No known account reports the Rogue Rivers making "trinkets" of gold.] It was not the pace of progressive civilization that removed the red men from their hunting and fishing grounds and homes, but the white instincts of greed and jealousy and filthy "Shylock" desires and a worship of the almighty dollar and precious yellow metal that seems at present the average American "god." Gold, crime and greed it would seem all go in hand in hand the world over at our present time, and our entire Christian era apparently have supplanted the above for our present interpretation of the 10th Commandment, and the poor red men are not alone the recipients of a world of woes and lavender-scented and rose-tinted barbs people let fly at each other in our great national pastime and game of life in our dizzy and insane quest for wealth. The world in general seems to be mortally afflicted and suffering with many unknown types and forms of insanity and maladies, and jealousy, greed and maniacal lust for wealth and hate will mean our "Waterloo" in the end to the red man's instincts, and clearness of vision which is a part of the forest and Indian training can but see the "handwriting on the wall" and ultimate doom of our great and courageous country, for like men of courage and honor, their fall is greater, their demolishment more complete when it comes. The soul of the Indian, the faint movements and sounds of the forest gloom and will of our "Great Spirit" will in the end prevail, and this is a promise my friends that will not be denied our race and people.
In the late forties the red men were warned of the coming of the "white plague" and their desire for "gold," and so a council was held on "Skookumhouse Butte" on the Tututni or Rogue River. The council was represented and attended by twelve tribes who comprise the Tututni Nation of Rogue River Indians. Among the things and matters decided at the council was that if our people were killed or exterminated, they would never reveal to the whites the secret and source of their gold supply.
History will never reveal the cruelty of the whites, miners and soldiers, and their many barbarian methods of torture and death resorted to by them to extract the secret from the Indians relative to their mines. Many red men suffered torture and death at the hands of our white "heroes" who saved and pioneered the country in the above process that would put to shame the crimes of the Dark Ages, but in every case the lips of our people were sealed in death and the secrets of gold were never revealed.
Some gold was found by the whites in later years it is true in the Curry County and Rogue River country, but the fountains of wealth and fortunes shall ever remain in the minds of our people who were removed from the above country in the late fifties by the soldiers and whites in their mad quest for the yellow metal and who killed the Indians like the goose that laid the golden egg.
Among other matters decided at the above council was that the Wishtenatin tribe of people were to live south of the present Pistol River to police petty thievery and depredations of the Indians south of the present Chetco River who were not members of the Tututni Nation. The Nasomah tribe was to live on the Coquille River near its mouth to police the northern domain of the nation from petty thievery, etc. on the part of the Coos Bay Indians. For the benefit of my readers and for historical purposes, I here relate the districts occupied by the twelve tribes who comprised the Tututni or Rogue River Nation of red men at the time the whites appeared in the country. The Nasomah band resided on the coast south of the Coquille River, east to the forks of said river, and south to the Quatomah or Floras Creek in Curry County. The Choc-re-laton band occupied the country east and south of the forks of the Coquille River and south to the Quatomah Creek. The Quatomah tribe claimed the country east and south of Floras Creek and south to "Humbug Mountain." The eastern boundaries generally were the summit of the Coast Range of mountains. The Cosatt-Hentens resided in the Mussel Creek country and east to the mountains in Curry County. The Euchres occupied Euchre Creek country and east to the mountains. The Yashutes lived on lower Tututni or Rogue River and east about three miles of said stream. The Chetlessenton tribe lived south of Hunters Creek in Curry County and east to the mountains. This was the Myers Creek and Hunters Head country. The Wishtenatin band lived in the Pistol River district in Curry County. The Chetco tribe occupied the Chetco River country. The Tututni tribe occupied the strip of about two miles or territory east of the Yashutes on the lower Rogue River. The Mikonotunne band lived east of the Tututni band on Rogue River and their country extended east of the Cosatony Creek and Skookumhouse Butte on Rogue River. The Shasta Costas lived on the Illinois and east on Rogue River on this junction of streams.
The above twelve bands my friends represented the Tututni Nation, who were once powerful and controlled all the country from the Coquille River to the California line and east to the valley, and greed for gold and death at the hands of the whites greatly depleted their numbers until the remnants of the once-powerful bands were removed to a reservation in the northern part of the state of Oregon by the whites in their mad scramble for wealth, gold and fame. The spirit of our people was broken in the loss of their homes and hunting grounds, and the American people have broken faith with them, but the spirit, pride and loyalty of "Red Cloud" permits them to carry on the traditions and teachings of our "Great Spirit," and his reward to this vanishing race and chosen people will be our "Happy Hunting Ground," and degradation and ruin to those who worship "gold" is the silent prayer of our once-noble race and people. May the spirit of "Red Cloud" rest you all, my friends, in a benediction of love, sympathy, understanding and charity to my people, for our Great Spirit has never taught us a "Hymn of Hate," and we must be true to our blood and race. Auf wiedersehen (till we meet again).
--Wanka Ewanamieuk (Red Cloud)Myrtle Point Herald, July 7, 1932, page 7
SOUTHERN OREGON INDIANS.
The Tribes Along the Klamath River and the Upper Coast.
A Bright Sketch of Some of Their Customs and Superstitions--
Their Kjokken-Moddings--Manner of Capturing Game.
It is the aim of the writer to give in two articles a sketch of some of the tribes that formerly lived at the head of the Klamath River, down that stream to its mouth, and up the coast to Rogue River, up that stream to and in the valley above, in which their customs, superstitions, manufactures, internal commerce, villages and shell heaps will be noted. According to the best information to be obtained from the old men of the middle Klamath Indians, there were three distinct tribes on the river, but not including the Shastas, who occupied a short stretch of the stream immediately west of the Modocs. Beginning at the Klamath lakes, but not including Lalake's band at Klamath Marsh, there were the Modocs, signifying head of the river; Carocs, the middle river, and the Eurocs, lower river. The latter extended to the mouth, and for a few miles on the coast above and below. At Crescent City, eighteen miles up the coast, the general name of Cocpee extended to and included Smith River and valley. Above that to Chetco River, and up to Pistol River, Chit, or Chetco, was the name acknowledged by the old natives. Smith River and to the mouth of Rogue River, the general name of Chetcos seems, from the best information available, to apply to all the villages intervening. From the source of the Klamath to a stream coming into it about twenty miles above Cottonwood Station was the country of the peculiar and distinct tribe of Modocs, different in language and customs from the other tribes below to such an extent that there was, from the earliest times, up to the period of the annihilation of all of their tribal distinctions, a bitter and endless war. The different bands or villages usually had a local name to designate their particular locality, the Shastokas, or Shastas, who lived on the river of that name, being the most numerous of these bands. Being neighbors of the Modocs on the west, they were the principal ones to suffer during those endless feuds. The Modocs did not tattoo their women, but their neighbors were compelled to resort to that custom to protect their women from the Modocs, who were inveterate thieves of that part of the other tribes. The old Indians of other tribes have related how these thieves of female children used formerly to lie in wait and capture many of the female infants of their neighbors and convey them to distant parts and rear them up as their own; that it was an occupation of a certain class of Indians to do this kind of business, by which they accumulated much property and were held in high repute by the others of the tribe who were able to purchase these infants to add to their harems. These children would soon be indistinguishable among their captors, and the tribes on the west resorted to the custom of marking them in such a manner that the tribe to which they belonged could be at once
ASCERTAINED BY THE MARKS,and, if possible, the child reclaimed by his tribe; even should it grow up to womanhood the marks would remain to tell the place of birth. This custom of tatooing extended to the Shastas in Shasta Valley, Scott Valley and across the Siskiyous into the valley of Rogue River and down that stream to its mouth and down the coast to the mouth of the Klamath and up that stream to the Shastas, so that all the tribes west of the Modocs, between Scott Mountains and the Umpqua Range, to the coast, had adopted the custom, but each tribe or locality had a form distinct from the others. These marks were usually three in number, one dropping from each corner of the mouth and one down the center of the chin. Sometimes more marks were [illegible] after the figure of a leaf, as the Carocs, who had the tattoo like the leaf or the fern. The tribes within this section, east of the Coast Range, where the rainfall was not great, did not build permanent villages, nor of any size or durability, but wandered from place to place in the summer months, living in temporary shelters of brush, mats and skins, but as winter approached they erected stronger lodges of upright poles, tied together at the top and spread at the bottom, so as to contain the desired space. Over and around these poles mats and skins were drawn, which formed a warm shelter from the seldom inclement winter storms. Each section of the country named usually had some native articles of commerce with the surrounding tribes; if not, then the inhabitants acted as the medium of commerce between their neighbors. It was exceedingly difficult for the white man to gain accurate information from the Indians in regard to anything that was not in sight, as it was and still is the habit of all savages to agree with the questioner if possible, or to give such answers as seemed to be the most acceptable, irrespective of the truth. Baron von Humboldt gives an amusing instance of this, which fully illustrates the annoying peculiarity. During his travels in South America, and while sitting with a native chief in a small grotto down the center of which ran a little stream of water and was soon lost to view around a curve of the bank, he said to the chief: "Is it not true that this stream of water runs around that bank yonder, then circles around and comes back down through the grotto?" "Certainly it is," said the chief; "if it does not do so, how is it possible that it keeps on running all the time?" Great care therefore was necessary in listening to answers that a false impression was not obtained. During the
EARLY MINING DAYS,many of the settlers on the Klamath River were observant of the native inhabitants, and by long years of acquaintance with them gained their confidence sufficiently to secure a correct statement of their peculiar superstitions. From one of these men, who yet resides on the Klamath, and was for years an official of the late Klamath County in California, the writer obtained much of the information contained in this and previous articles. The superstitions of all the tribes in Southern Oregon and Northern California were much the same, differing only in a few minor details. I shall take the Indians of the middle and lower Klamath as a sample, for they tally well with the Modocs, Shastas, Rogue Rivers, and exactly with the tribes on the immediate coast. From their central position they were no doubt influenced by other outlying tribes, and will, therefore, best indicate the habits and superstitions of the whole. In all also a general conformity was observed, except as to articles manufactured and their houses. The nearer they approached the coast the larger and more substantial were their villages. The Indians seen today do not compare with those of early days in any particular; then they were a fair sample of manhood. Says Powers in his report regarding these Indians: "The Klamaths have well-sized bodies, erect and strongly built; the face in early manhood is nearly as oval as the Caucasian; cheekbones not over prominent; eye bright, well-sized and freely opened straight across the face; chin and forehead nearly on a line." The primitive dress of the women was a chemise of braided grass reaching, usually, from the waist to the knees, the material for which they obtained on the coast; or one of buckskin, thickly hung with marine shells and with beads manufactured from bone. The dress of the men was much more scant, almost universally consisting of a buckskin belt around the loins. In their primitive state both sexes bathed their bodies punctually every morning in cold water, and kept themselves generally in a cleanly condition, but their immediate surroundings, and their houses, were always wretchedly filthy. There were no ceremonies of marriage, but the affair was conducted entirely on a money basis. The men did much work besides the hunting and fishing. They built their houses and manufactured canoes when they could obtain the lumber. The Modocs on the upper river derived much benefit from the lower Indians in furnishing them with bows, which they manufactured from the small limbs of the juniper trees. The Coast Indians at Crescent City also manufactured bows from the yew, which were more highly prized than were those made from juniper. There was some barter between the tribes, but
MONEY WAS THE USUAL CONSIDERATION,which consisted of the red scalps of the woodpeckers, white shell beads with a hole in the center and strung together like a string of white buttons, periwinkle shells, and long, white, smoothly polished tusk-like shells which were the most valuable, the value of which was determined by measuring them on the joints of the middle finger. When the whites first came into the country the Indians freely paid $5, and often as high as $10, for the largest woodpecker scalps, and for the small ones generally $2.50. The tusk shells would bring from twenty-five cents to $2, according to length of shell, the shortest being about one, and the longest about four inches in length. Their unit of currency was a string of these shells the length of a man's arm, with a certain number of the shorter shells above the elbow, and a certain number of the longer ones below. For an arm's length of this money the Indians would give from $40 to $50 in gold. The white shell beads usually sold for $5 per yard, periwinkle shells $1 to $1.50 per yard, and fancy marine shells strung together, $3 to $15 per yard. These different kinds of money were called by the general name of alaquah-chick, which, literally understood, is "Indian money." Alaquah was the common name for Indian, while chick denoted money. When the whites went among them the Indians called the American money wah-geh-chick; wah-geh was the common name name for white men. The Coast Indians had the monopoly of all the shell money except the tusk shells, which came from the north coast and were probably known to the interior Indians as soon as they were to those on the south coast. The Modocs, Shastas and the tribes north of the Siskiyou Range monopolized the woodpecker scalp business, so that probably no one section was more prolific in money resources than another. Wah-geh, the name by which the Americans were designated on the lower Klamath and along the coast, up to the mouth of Rogue River, was, according to the traditions of the Chetco Indians, obtained as follows: A great many years ago the ancestors of the Chetco Indians and their near neighbors came down from the north to their present country and found it inhabited by
TWO RACES OF PEOPLE,one of which was of robust stature, very numerous and exceedingly warlike; had large canoes and often went out to sea in them to fish and gather mussels from the distant rocks. The other race were less numerous, of a smaller type, and had white skins and were called wah-gehs, or white men; they were peaceable, timid and unwarlike. The ancestors of the Chetcos made immediate war upon the superior race, which lasted a long time and was cruel and exhaustive. At last the Chetcos prevailed and drove the natives further south, where their industry was soon lost. The Chetcos made slaves of the wah-gehs and waxed fat on the products of their labor. At last, when the Chetcos, after a long indulgence in feasting and dancing, were asleep, the wah-gehs deserted the country, and where they went was beyond the knowledge of their masters. After the lapse of a very long period of time, and the white men made their appearance on the coast, the natives thought that the wah-gehs had returned, larger in stature, more intelligent, and armed with new but deadly weapons. And so the white men are yet called by the few old ones remaining the old name of wah-geh. Along the coast from below Humboldt Bay to Rogue River, the beach is thickly strewn with driftwood, among which are redwood logs, and whole trees even, which have been tossed on the waves and thumped and ground on the pebbly beach till denuded of limbs and bark, and from such large trees the natives formerly manufactured their canoes. Cutting the trunk of a suitable tree into the desired lengths by means of fire and long-continued hacking with stone axes, chisels and adzes, they split a slab from one side a desired depth into the log, by means of elk horn and yew wedges. Turning the split side of the log uppermost, they spread pitch along the surface where it was desired to remove the wood for the purpose of hollowing out the canoe, then setting fire to the pitch the native shipbuilder would squat by the side of his work and regulate and aid the slow work of the fire. Redwood is notable for being almost inflammable when wet or green, and the very poorest fuel when dry, so that to burn and roughly gouge out an ordinary canoe of eighteen feet in length by three in width required the labor of a month. The largest of
THEIR SEA-GOING CANOESoccupied a master builder and one assistant a whole year to complete his vessel, beginning with the rough log and floating the finished craft upon the sea. In these large boats, and they were often forty feet in length and from six and a half to eight feet beam, they defied the combers on the river bars, and with but few exceptions came out victorious. Carefully and with scientific exactness--never a fault or flaw--the old carpenters wold pudder--burning, scraping, polishing with soapstones--till a canoe of real beauty of finish, design of curves and moldings of mathematical exactness, would be turned out from his primitive yard on the sand. When completed, they sold for a price corresponding to our money of from $10 to $100 each. Their villages were generally placed on a commanding spot, if any such were near the desired location. Sometimes on the river banks, the land would all be level, and in such cases the village site was selected at the base of the nearest bluff. The tribes from the mouth of Salmon River, on the Klamath to the coast, built permanent houses, and invariably in villages. Never was a single house built, as the white man does, alone, and far from neighbors. As before said, their villages were built on an elevation. There was a first row of houses on the edge of the bank, with a space of about ten feet of level ground in front, which was neatly paved with small, flat stones. The ends of the houses were invariably to the front. Back of the first row of houses a street of about twenty feet in width was left, and then another row of houses built, and so on as long as any additions were required to the town. Their houses were of varied dimensions, but an average house was 16x20 feet. A hole was first sunk in the ground about three feet narrower on all sides than the contemplated dimensions of the building. These excavations were usually four feet deep. Then wide redwood boards, generally two feet in width, and four or five feet long, were set up on end all around the excavation, and three feet back. These boards were split from large timber, after the expenditure of much time and labor, and carefully and neatly smoothed off with stone adzes; regular on the surface, and straight on the edge. A double course of these board=s lapped so as to break joints, formed the woodwork of the sides and ends of the houses. The end boards were carefully beveled on the upper end to correspond to the contemplated
RAKE OF THE ROOFwhich was invariably a quarter pitch. From the apex of the end boards was a half-flattened pole extending the length of the building, forming a ridgepole upon which rested the roof boards, fashioned and put on like the sides, with a lap, so as to keep out the rain. The door was a round hole in one end just large enough to admit the body of one individual at a time; their fire was placed in the center of the excavated hole, around which mats were often spread, constituting a not uncomfortable domicile. They slept on the floor around the fire, while on the bank of the excavation and inside of the side boards, they placed all their plunder not in use and their stores of food. That there are communities of people classed among the civilized, possibly of the enlightened as well, who live in no better or cleanly habitations, I will quote from Powers as a proof: "These smoke-blackened hamlets are thick along the Klamath and reminded me constantly of the villages in the canton of the Valois, only the Indians' cabins have only one story. On this account the Indian dwelling is more like the chalet. And they are every whit as clean, as comfortable and as substantial as those very sennhütten, wherein is manufactured the world-famous Emmethaler cheese, for I have been inside of both and I know whereof I speak." The ancient mode of burial among all of the tribes below the Columbia to Humboldt Bay was similar. The same holds good with the interior tribes 100 miles back, but further inland the custom materially changes, for the climate is drier, and the extra care to protect the bodies from excessive moisture was not required.
The lower river and coast tribes buried their dead close to their villages, so as to be better able to prevent possible desecration, and to have their friends and relatives near them. The grave was a hole about three feet square and four or five feet deep. The sides were lined with split boards, usually redwood, two inches thick. Into this the corpse was placed in a sitting posture, surrounded by all [the] individual property which was prized the most by the dead that could be inserted into the cavity; the remainder, if any, was placed above the ground, on top of the grave. A board was placed over the head of the corpse to protect it, and then dirt was filled in till the space was full. A village burial place was, when possible, selected in front of the village. When death had taken away a relative or friend, their names were never afterward mentioned. The mere mention of the name of a dead relative was considered
A DEADLY INSULT,and the highest crime that could be committed against another. They believed in the immortality of the soul. That the good sometimes came back in the form of birds and animals which were liked by the Indians, or were not dangerous or repulsive to them. The Klamath and Coast Indians were sure that the souls of bad Indians congregated in the grizzly bears, and no inducement was ever known to be sufficient to cause an Indian to even taste the meat of a grizzly. All Indians like to die and be buried where born, and be surrounded by their friends, for their names will never be mentioned; for the mere mention of a dead man's name causes his body to turn over and groan, and not be able, for a long time after, to recover his usual quiet and spiritual rest. They believed in Shaman, who was God, or old Medicine Man, and all or nearly all their propitiatory dances and ceremonies were notably analogous to those of the natives of eastern Siberia. Erman, in his travels to that country, says that he found satisfactory evidences of a connection by traffic on the coast between the natives of that country and the American Indians. He also found a similarity between the Hungarian language and that of the eastern Siberian tribes, and between the latter and those of the American shores, more particularly of the Algonquin tribes. Ledyard also says: "When I stood on the banks of the Obi and observed the natives in all their aspects, I could not convince myself that I did not have the natives of North America before me." The Indians of the coast always selected a spot near the mouth of a river for a village, where there were groups of rocks in the water near the shore, or at other sheltered spots where there were enough rocks to break the volume of the surf into fragments, so that they could obtain a good landing for their canoes. This is indicated all along the coast at these points by the size of the shell heaps, the rank vegetation where old shell heaps have decayed in the far distant past, and the always present absolute necessaries for a settlement, fresh water and a landing for canoes. The ancient kjokken-moddings along the coast of Denmark and those of the North Pacific coast are similar in location, formation and composition, but differing slightly in the latter, by reason of geographical separation. At Whaleshead, a few miles above the mouth of Chetco River, at an old modding,
CALLED BY THE NATIVES NAT-E-NET,an excavation twenty-eight feet deep has been made, but the bottom was not reached, and the following remains were found, which corresponds well with the composition of other ancient remains of the same extent and depth, viz: The bones of whales, sea lions, deer, elk, bear, and a little lower, towards the beach, under an accumulation eleven feet deep of bones and shells, human bones were exhumed from an old burial place, which--as before stated, was the ancient and present custom--had been placed in front of the village on lower ground, and had been gradually covered up by the sliding of shells and bones from above, and the gentle but incessant settling of fine sand and dust over them by the periodical winds. The shells, which are intermixed with the other rejectamenta, were principally those of the common mussel (Mytilus edulis, or californianus) but many other minor shells were intermingled. At the mouth of Smith River was a large and very old village, when the whites first went there, which stood on the top of an extremely ancient modding. These ancient remains were in layers and became more and more indistinct as their age and depth increased, until the whole was reduced to a dark, ash-like earth in which several stone implements were exhumed, the only objects remaining distinguishable as evidence of a prehistoric population. At the mouth of Chetco, on the west bank, stands the house of August Miller, which is on the site of one of the most extensive, if not the most ancient, of the moddings along that coast; in front of the house is a point of rock about 100 feet perpendicularly below, which is covered with a fine growth of small laurel, which has grown from the nuts left there by the natives many hundreds of years ago. Between this rock point and Miller's house, 300 feet distant, is the sloping face of the modding. Level cuts into this face have been made, though not starting from the bottom, but from an apparent ten feet above, which extended many feet back into the ancient deposit, resulting in finding stone implements of war, hunting, and for other uses, embedded in that dark ash-like earth before mentioned, which was formed by the union of decayed rejectamenta of tribes inhabiting the place thousands of years before. Throwing the
REJECTED SHELLS AND BONESfrom their doors over the sloping bank they extended the modding, with the aid of driving sand, further from the bank of earth upon which the first houses were built, and higher in elevation; and thus age on age, village on village increased the extent of the first modest beginning, till today a pile of fertility which thousands of years would not suffice to exhaust by the ordinary draughts of nature remains as an enduring monument of a prehistoric race. On the left bank of Chetco, 3000 feet above the level of the sea, stone implements used by medicine men in their dark, mysterious incantations have been exhumed by a resident of the locality, which evidence a craft analogous to those of Indo-European sorcerers. The lack of all weapons for hunting game, except bows and arrows, caused the natives to resort to ingenious methods to trap the deer and elk, by which they secured a sufficiency, while supplemented by fish and fowls, which they never failed to have in their season. Their elk pits filled the woods and valleys, and often the unwary wah-geh walked into them as he threaded the tangled forests or groped through the matted fern, to his great disgust and not seldom grave discomfiture. Snaring ducks and other fowl was in them a pleasant pastime, and was often quite successful. A strong and wide, long net, made of twine of twisted seagrass, with meshes just large enough for waterfowl to push their heads through, was spread out in the sloughs or on the edges of the lagoons where the water was two feet deep, and held a foot above the bottom by stakes. Berries were then sprinkled over the bottom under the net, which would be seen by the fowl if any chanced to swim that way. They would be sure to dive for the berries, and so doing they would force their head through the meshes of the net, and when they attempted to return would be held down by the net, which would be drawn under the feathers, and, being in a helpless condition, would be powerless to create an alarm, and would quickly drown. When the net was sufficiently full the Indian would quietly paddle around and secure his game. During the winter months the fogs are heavy on the coast, and at just the break of day the lagoon Indians, with muffled oars, would paddle out into the midst of a flock of dozing mudhens unobserved in the fog, and before the drowsy fowls could escape they would lay about with long poles kept for the purpose among the hens, and in a few seconds have the water near them covered with the dead or crippled game. After securing what they could at once place they paddled slowly around till finding another flock, then with a few vigorous strokes with their paddles shoot out to the center and again ply their poles till the game was taken or scattered.
O. W. OLNEY.Oregonian, Portland, December 13, 1885, page 2
Not for those sensitive to racism or bad science:
ANCIENT SHELL HEAPS.
A Description of Those on the Southern Oregon Coast.
Probable Origin of the Native Tribes--Their Antiquity--Formation of the Moddings--
Some Notable Native Species of Timber.
(Written for the Sunday Oregonian.)
Along the coast of Oregon are numerous shell heaps which have remained almost unnoticed since the advent of the American people into the state. With a few exceptions no notice has been taken or examination made of the numerous remains of the ancient dwellers along the coast from San Francisco to the straits of Fuca. The Aleutian group have been examined carefully, and quite exhaustive reports made of the ancient remains found along the shores of the most important islands, especially those east of Ounalaska. The shell heaps there are more abundant and extensive, and as far as they have been examined, give evidence of extreme antiquity. From the generally suggestive theory of the advance of the inhabitants of eastern Asia to the southward long before the age of history, and thus being the progenitors of the North American tribes, the shell heaps of the north would considerably antedate these on the Oregon coast. Some there are, indeed, who differ materially with the advocates of this theory, so that the problem may remain indefinitely without a universally accepted solution. But with that this article has but little to do, and as there are abundant, extensive and very ancient piles which have been accumulated by human hands on our own coast, the writer proposes to describe them mostly from personal observation. A few months ago this matter of Oregon shell heaps had a short run in the Oregonian, and many were the theories advanced regarding their accumulation.
Some thought that these piles of ancient refuse exhibited evidence of cannibalism, because of the finding of human bones among the rejected mass of shells. In a former article the reason for these bones being mixed with the shells was given from personal observation as early as 1851, of the general position of the burial places and the unusual disposition of the shells, bones and other rejectamenta by the Indians, who lived in villages built on the sites of some of the most ancient and extensive mounds on the coast of Oregon. That there is a probability that the primitive inhabitants along the coast were anthropophagi is admitted by many eminent antiquaries. But their existence, if at all, antedated [by] many thousand years the stratum in which the human bones were found, as stated by one of the writers noted above. These bones had been lifted out from some grave while excavating for houses or for a later grave. This guardedly advanced theory of the practice of cannibalism by the Northwest Coast tribes in very remote times will be examined further on. In the examination of evidences of
PREHISTORIC MANfound on the shores of some of the Swiss lakes, notably of Zurich and Constance, nothing earlier than the stone age has yet been exhumed. In fact, all that has so far been found is of a more recent date than the evidences produced by the lower stratum of the shell mounds on the Oregon coast. On the shores of these lakes, under a not thick layer of mud, were found pieces of charcoal, stones blackened in the fire, cut bones and utensils of every description, giving evidence that a village had at a very remote period existed there. On Lake Pfaffikon flax and hemp stuffs, carbonized wheaten bread, canoes, and the quite positive evidence of the position of a ridge from the mainland to their pile-supported village were found. That these pile dwellings belonged to the stone age and not earlier, there is no dispute. But the cave dwellers, such as those of Thayngen, antedated them, and may have been cannibals. On the shores of Jylland and the Danish islands there are numerous shell mounds, some of which are 1000 feet long, 100 to 200 feet broad, and 10 feet deep, which are considered to be of great archaeological importance since their true nature has been discovered. In former times they were thought to be layers of debris thrown up by the waves, but after much theorizing and a few feeble attempts to examine them, Worsane and Steenstrup, after laborious research, developed the fact that they were really affaldsdynger, or kjokken moddings, which means kitchen refuse. They mainly consisted of oyster shells, and a less quantity or proportion of other mollusks, as well as gnawed bones of deer, pigs, oxen, fish, cats, dogs and the great auk (Alca impennis). Besides this debris there were stone arms, implements and coarse earthenware. In the megalistic graves, weapons, utensils and ornaments were found. In many peat beds, where successive generations of forests have been carbonized, flint instruments have been found at the lowest level. The people, then, who left these middens behind, and those who lived where now the peat bogs are found, were not older than the stone age. Their graves of diverse forms, large or giant (jettestuer) chambers, as well as smaller ones, were enclosed with granite blocks, while the ancient tribes on Point Sal, of the California coast, used sandstone slabs in the same manner as the old Danish tribes used the granite. Both these people, the Danish and Californian, covered their graves with hillocks of earth, as did also the old tribes on the Oregon coast. The only difference being that the Oregon coast tribes used redwood and cedar slabs instead of stone. This much has been said of other people and
OTHER MODDINGS,so as to make a possible comparison with the ancient races who lived on the Oregon coast, whose existence here seems to be far more remote than that of the tribes on the Jylland coast, or the pile dwellers on the Swiss lakes. By close study of the skulls found at the latter place, it is thought that other and less developed races were driven out by those who used stone implements and left no trace of their existence behind. In the same manner, and with more convincing evidence of its certainty, it seems that a race of smaller stature, less perfect development, and living on such diet as they could secure without any other means than their unaided hands, nude, without shelter, other than such as wild animals might secure, lived on our coast thousands of years before the age of the earliest history of the eastern hemisphere, and were displaced by a sudden wave of migration from the north. As stated in a former article, the first extensive modding on the Oregon coast is at the mouth of Chetco; six miles above that is another still more extensive, and after passing by numerous smaller ones we come to the north bank of Pistol River, at the mouth, and find the most extensive one on the lower Oregon coast. These three piles will serve to illustrate what I have said regarding the late Tertiary, or early Quaternary or imperfectly developed race. There are no shell heaps except where there has been a village, no village except where there are extensive shell heaps. Along the whole of the Northwest coast the villages found by the whites were located on the tops of ancient shell heaps. At many places also, where there were no villages in existence at the time, and shell heaps were present, the ground, that is the decomposed moddings, mixed with drift sand, always presented a pitted or undulating appearance, from the following cause: When the natives determined to build a house the first thing was to dig a pit or cellar, over which they built a house, as described in a former article. The material thrown out of this excavation was, after the house had been completed, thrown back against the boards composing the sides. Now, supposing a village has been built, and from some cause was afterwards destroyed, that is to say, the woodwork was all burned or rotted away, then the pits would be left, and as time passed on and the rains beat upon them, washing down the sides, which would gradually fill them up, aided also by
DRIFTING SAND,blown over them by the winter winds, this undulating or pitted appearance would be exhibited. If this site should again be built upon, pits would be dug in the accumulated mass of debris or kitchen refuse, and houses built over them, and so for ages the work and gradual change went on, till today the ancient dwelling places can be distinctly traced by the abundance of luxuriant vegetation growing on the pitted and decomposed kitchen middens. In running a horizontal cut into the deep mass of refuse at the mouth of Pistol River, the writer found, after considerable search, the top of the original soil, which was a yellowish, sandy hardpan. Upon this hardpan was at the edge a few inches of greenish white sand, which increased in thickness, and became more noticeable as the cut was pushed further towards the center of the mound, which appeared to be fully thirty feet high. On the top of this peculiar sand, and at once place four inches below the surface, a few rudely fashioned stones were found. They had the appearance of having been used for the purpose of cracking shells or nuts, and for no other. Besides these rude hammers several small pieces of obsidian, having the appearance of edges formed of human hands, also the bones of small fish and animals. On the top of this was a cemented mass of small mollusk shells, fish bones and a few larger shells of the well-known mussel (Mytilus edulis) which, towards the top, became the principal shell, and forming the bottom of another stratum of shells--bones of the elk, deer, bear and birds. This last was the upper or last layer, which was deep and solid, but had the appearance of having been dug over many times in building new houses. It was mixed on top with drift sand, and is very fertile, as the garden of Mr. Dolan, which is on a part of the ancient village, amply testifies. It has been many years since then, and this peculiar lower stratum, which I have described, I thought was sand, but after it had almost passed from my mind I fortunately found a report of Mr. Dall of his researches among the shell heaps on on the Ounalaskan shores, and I find that he has thus classified these different layers or strata: 1st, echinus layer; 2nd, fish bone layer; 3rd, mammalian layer. But he goes into many intricacies of these layers that do not pertain to our coast, though there is no doubt but that the Indians of Oregon are related to those above and all to the tribes of eastern Siberia. He finds this first, or echinus layer, to be often five feet deep under many shell heaps, and after exhibiting his calculations of the quantity of echina in a cubic foot, and the
LENGTH OF TIME REQUIRED
to build the first layer, says: "Bones of vertebrates, except very rarely those of fish, are totally absent in the echinus layer. Shells were not sufficiently abundant to modify the appearance of the stratum, which was totally free from any admixture of earth, or any extraneous matter, and presented the aspect, until closely examined, of fine, pure, uniform, greenish-white sand." So it would seem that this stratum is the middens of a very inferior race, without implements of any kind, and which at last gave way to a migratory wave from the north coast of a people more improved, but yet had only reached the paleolithic, or rude stone age, as their very few and rude implements left behind amply testify. At Chetco, back of his house, which stands on the site of a very ancient and extensive modding, Mr. Miller dug a deep hole, while improving his place, and after going down through vegetable mold, then drift sand mixed with decayed rejectamenta, again through bones and shells, then through shells which were in greater proportion of small mollusks cemented together, this identical echinus stratum of apparent sand was reached, then pure soil, or, more properly at that place a hardpan of sandy clay. At this place, as at Pistol River, bones and shells decreased in size and variety from the top until striking this peculiar layer, scarcely any were to be found in it, and then only on the top. At Cape Sebastian, between Chetco and Pistol River, a similar cut was made and with like results; so that it is very likely that a race of people lived on the coast that were so slightly developed that they could not leave behind them a trace in worked or fashioned instruments, or of refuse from food larger than snails, very small animals mixed with such bones as belonged to fish which were stranded on the beach, periwinkles and many other small shellfish, which could be easily gathered on the rocks near the shore at low tides. Next above this stratum is one of larger shells and bones, which are mixed, first at the bottom with a few small stones, as before mentioned, with which they probably cracked the small shells so as to extract the meat more readily. As the layer increased in height, as at the mouth of Pistol River, a very few rudely chipped pieces of stone were found. These increased in number and workmanship until at the top an awl and three stone sinkers were found, which were the first indications of any ingenious mode of trapping fish. Those layers are very distinct, and when the top layer is reached, stone and obsidian knives, wedges, spearheads, and at last the bone fishing barbs. Paul Schumacher, who made a partial examination of the shell heaps at Trinidad in California, and at Chetco in Oregon, is of the opinion, though not implicitly expressed, that the
COAST INHABITANTSwere of one class of people. He did not have time to fully examine these remarkable remains or he would have been struck with the great difference in the successive layers. This first deposit has only been found under shell heaps, and in it has been found no awls or needles, knives, buttons nor shell money, nor of any bone or stone implements for dressing skins, nor of any manner of weapon with which to take or cut up game, and still more to the point, no indications that any animals whatever were taken or used for food. No signs of canoes or houses, nor of tools to make them. Nothing, in fact, but a deposit which was surely indicative of a people who had no clothing, lived on small shellfish, and only of that, so far as they could get them without the aid of canoes. A stranded whale they could not have utilized as food, for they had no knives with which to cut up the carcass. They must have been small of stature, for a state of nudity in a damp climate (?), lack of food and athletic occupation, or no occupation at all, even, would increase muscular development. They must have lived in a state of nudity, for they could not, as those of later days did, accumulate skins for clothing, nor make it of grass, for they left no awls or needles behind to show that they had fabricated clothing from any material whatever. Under these circumstances then, of a lack of all that the earliest historic savages needed, and had, we might infer that their development was in such a backward stage that they may have been, and of a necessity by reason of a lack of food--must have been anthropophagi. If the prehistoric cave dwellers of the valley of the Cher, and other places, are tainted with cannibalism, why not those who had not yet advanced to the stone age? As mankind advanced, they fashioned implements to suit their new and increasing wants, and when, as in ancient Europe and Asia, the dark, primitive races were pushed along by other races more developed, they gradually adopted the arms and implements of their superiors and as [they] gradually became more expanded, both mentally and physically, as they fled before the ever-recurring waves of superior people, and thus having improved methods of procuring food supplies, abandoned cannibalism, if it ever had been practiced. At, and long before, the dawn of history, there were different food animals on the earth than there were in the age of the
EARLY QUATERNARY MAN,and more easily obtained, which, too, may have been a prominent factor in bringing about the change. Conceding that a very early and non-progressive race of anthropophagi dwelt on our coast in the earliest period of the age of man--and such seems to have been the case--and were the authors of the echinus stratum, how shall we account for the fish bone and mammalian layers, and for the present race of Indians? It will not do to deny the marked existence of these strata, for they are plainly apparent to the most casual observer. All the implements found so far have been obtained in the latter formations, and more particularly at the bottom, and improving until the top layer is reached. Therefore we must conclude that the authors of the first layer did not fashion any implements whatever, nor were they possessed of any until the top of their primitive modding was reached, and then only through the aid of another race. Or, did they invent them? The step from the first layer to the next is too sharply defined for a gradual progression, and gives strong coloring to the theory that these primordials did not gradually progress, but were set forward by a sudden and overpowering wave from the far north coast of a people who had been in contact with a superior race, and had brought with them the knowledge to fashion rude implements of stone, and the secret of snaring small fish and birds, and adding more and larger mollusk shells to their primordial moddings. They, too, must have been in a state of nudity, or nearly so, for instruments to dress skins and trap the game do not occur till a greater height in the pile of refuse is reached. That they were not clothed need not elicit surprise, or inquiry as to whether they could live in a state of nudity. Other natives, notably those of Tierra del Fuego, living in cold, winter climates, do amazingly well in the naked state. Another wave came and settled down, after the lapse of ages, of a people of still more advancement in the science of life; more ingenuity in fashioning implements of war and the chase, tools to make canoes and the art of making them, of clothing and of houses. With them began a new era, and another addition to the slowly rising mound of household refuse, and more ingeniously fashioned instruments and utensils, which today lie buried under varying depths of accumulated shells and bones and sand, surmounted by tall trees and matted vegetation. This echinus layer, or as some have termed it, ash-like earth, underlies all the ancient shell heaps which have yet been examined on the Pacific Coast, and seems to attest the extreme antiquity of man on the coast. Although the layer above it is sharply marked, yet the contemporaneous finish of one, and the beginning of the other is as remarkable, and so on through all of them, which plainly indicates successive emigrations of improved races. In speaking of the land connection between America and Asia, in the quaternary times, LeConte says: "And certainly, as shown by the similarity of plants, with northern Asia, by the region between the Aleutian isles and Bering Straits. Thus migrations were not enforced by climatic changes, but permitted by geographical connection with adjacent continents. * * * It is evident that from all these causes mammalian found, from widely different regions, were precipitated upon each other, and struggled together for the mastery. * * * It is quite probable that man came to America with the Asiatic mammalian invasion. If so his earliest remains may be looked for on the Pacific Coast." Another writer says: "Archaeologists are agreed that the men who dwelt in the caverns of the Pyrenees, on the Vezere, and the Aveyron, were kinsmen of the Lapps, Samoyeds and Eskimos. Their mode of life, weapons and implements seem to support that conclusion." Thus wave after wave of new people came and added to the moddings till the formations were arrested by that last, greatest and most improved race of all, the white men. As far as we can learn by observation, the coast tribes had only reached the Neolithic, or newer stone age, when the whites first went among them, but they quickly jumped into the age of iron. They were in the same stage of development as were their ancestors who came from the north coast and settled on the village sites of the earlier and less developed races which they found along the shores, and began adding to the ancient and already large mounds which today are strewn along the coast. At Happy Camp, on the Klamath, numerous stone implements have been discovered over forty feet beneath the surface, while piping off the sides of the mountains. At Orleans Bar, on the same stream, human bones have been exhumed fifteen feet below the present level. At Gold Bluff, on the coast of Northern California, roughly formed stone implements have been found, together with redwood logs and stumps, 400 feet below the summit. As mentioned in a previous article, they believe in the immortality of the soul in a general way. They have dances and make offerings to propitiate certain undefined, but much-feared powers; have many local old woman superstitions, but in the matter of salmon fishing they all fairly agree as to the necessity of a salmon dance to ensure a good run of fish. Nothing will induce them to cut the smelt with any instrument whatever. If they do, the little fish will immediately depart and never return. Before the whites came on to the coast, they had at every village a spiritual
MEDICINE MANas well as one for temporal ailments. The shaman, or spiritual head, is the same as that of the Ostyaks and other tribes of eastern Siberia, and which--or a modification of it--extends farther east. Since the advent of the Americans, or more properly for the last twenty year, the young ones have adopted the ways of the whites. They practice medicine among themselves with some apparent benefit. They use a decoction of the Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium) as a tonic, and also as a remedy for some specified diseases. The wild cucumber (Sicyos oreganus) is another favorite remedy. Cauterization is an ancient remedy amongst them for the speedy healing of obstinate parts.
The first implements of iron which they obtained, of much benefit, were knives, or more properly, swords, of various lengths; many of them, and these were prized the most, were about thirty inches in length, double-edged, straight and pointed, with short, straight guard and the handle wrapped with buckskin thongs. They were adepts in the use of this sword, and at their first introduction to the whites on the Southern Oregon coast and Indian who possessed one was sure to have it in his hand ready for use. As before stated, their villages were always built where there were rocks close to the shore, so situated that they could have a good landing for their canoes. At the proper season, and when the tide was low, a proper number of Indians would launch a canoe and paddle to some neighboring rock where there were mussels--which cling to the rocks like huge swarms of bees--and leaving one of the number in the canoe to control it, the others would climb up onto the cluster--often five feet thick--of mussels, and with a pointed stick like a crowbar work and pry at the mass of compact shellfish until they had loosened a portion, under which the canoe would be placed to receive the mass as it came tumbling down from above. When the canoe was filled they paddled to the beach, where the squaws met them with baskets to carry the mussels to a place, usually in front of the village, where the work of separating them from the shells was to be performed. To do this, a round hole about three feet wide and a foot deep was dug near the outer edge of the modding; on the bottom of this hole enough flat stones were placed to cover the entire space. A fire was then built on the stones and kept up until they were almost red hot. Upon these hot stones others that were thin and flat were placed; over them a thick
COVERING OF SEAWEED,or any inodorous material answering the purpose was then spread. The mussels were then piled upon the covering until a stack was made three feet wide at the base and about the same in height. Around this stack of mussels were wrapped two thicknesses of matting, with a small hole left open on the top. Into this hole cold water was poured until steam was generated sufficient to cook the fish, when the hole was closed and the stack was allowed to stand long enough to open the shells, which was usually about an hour. When all was ready the matting was removed and the work of separating the fish and the shell performed. When all was finished, the fish were placed on platforms to dry for future use, and the shells were thrown over the outer edge of the heap, to increase the size. Everything rejected was thrown over the bank until the distance became too great to carry the refuse, then it went into piles, or was scattered over the surface. One of their favorite modes of trapping elk was to make a stout rope, generally about a quarter of an inch in thickness, out of a peculiar but scarce sea grass, in one end of which a large loop was arranged and placed across some frequented trail; the other end would be fastened to a tree or to some secure thing. Just over the noose a pole was placed horizontally, so that the elk must lower his head to pass under, in doing which he would thrust his head through the noose, and when his shoulders came up to it he would carry it along until the length of the rope was reached, when it would tighten, and the more the frightened animal plunged the tighter it would draw, until strangulation stopped its struggles. Their pitfalls for elk and deer were holes with perpendicular sides, but when they were after bear a different hole was required. These pits were about three by five feet in size on top, six or seven feet deep and much larger at the bottom than on top, so that the animal could not climb or dig out. Immediately in front of the mouth of Rogue river are several large rocks. On these rocks, during the summer, sea lions lie and sun themselves, keeping up a steady laughing-moan of pleasure during the day. The Indians, in their large redwood canoes, a dozen or more in each, would go out past these rocks, while the sea lions were on them, and come back to the opposite side; then
PADDLE THEIR CANOESsuddenly around close to the lions, and while the frightened animals were making for the water, discharge clouds of arrows into them, and generally succeed in getting enough to pay for the risk they run in crossing the rough water on the bar. The flesh of the sea lion is a yellowish, oily substance, and when a person is cold and extremely hungry a meal of the soft, dripping flesh, if well cooked, is not altogether unpalatable. The natives at Crescent City had a tradition that a very great many years before a ship was wrecked on the coast near the present mouth of Smith River, and that some of the crew got to the shore and lived with the Indians, and learned them a great many new things. They took wives from among the Indian women, and in 1853 many Indians were pointed out who were the descendants of these old sailors. Their appearance gave a strong coloring of truth to the oft-repeated story. The Klamath Indians from the mouth of Trinity River, down to the coast, and along it to Crescent City, and including those of Smith River, were of lighter complexion and more perfect stature than their neighbors, but the noted few who lived at the spot where Crescent City now stands were really of a sandy complexion, and their numbers seemed to be contained in a few families.
The timber on the Southern Oregon coast includes some species not found north of Coos Bay. One of these, the redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) is only found on the Oregon coast, about six miles north of the state line, and then in only one small grove five miles up the Chetco River, about 100 feet above the sea level. Of this species of wood LeConte says: "Of the sequoias of California we doubtless have examples of widespread species in Miocene times, which have been destroyed by climatic changes." Again, "on the Pacific, a large portion of the coast ranges from Southern California to Washington Territory is tertiary," which doubtless accounts for the lack of this timber further north, but it extends south to Santa Barbara. The laurel (Oreodaphne californica) is plentiful
FROM THE KLAMATHto and on the Coquille River. On Chetco River there are immense patches of it on the rich river bottoms. The trees on the Chetco are larger than they are on the Coquille, but smaller than those on the Klamath. It requires a rich, moist, warm soil, which accounts for its absence above Coos Bay. A few stunted specimens grow in Douglas County, in the Cow Creek Canyon, but are not noticeable only as feeble deformities. The laurel has an oily nut, which the Coast Indians formerly used as food, but they are not palatable to an educated taste. The northern yew (Taxus brevifolia) grows on the Chetco bottoms and seems to be identical with the flexible English yew, from which the famous English bows of olden time were made.
O. W. OLNEY.Oregonian, Portland, December 20, 1885, page 3
Last revised May 2, 2019