About the reservations.
KLAMATH RESERVATION.Klamath Falls, Or., Oct. 12.--The Klamath Indian Reservation embraces a large scope of the most fertile lands in the northern portion of Klamath County, and roughly estimated, a hundred square miles of equally as rich country. In the Sprague and other valleys of less note 1200 Indians make their home on these lands. In riding through the district, one would never surmise that it was inhabited by such a people, unless he met the red men. Large, commodious residences, extensive stock farms, fine hay meadows, great stacks of hay, good stock upon every hand, and in fine condition, in fact, a general air of prosperity everywhere give it the appearance of a prosperous white man's community, instead of a region inhabited by the once savage Piutes and Modocs.
An Interesting Description of Life Among the
Prosperous Red Men of Klamath County.
The Indians, with few exceptions, are fairly well educated, and even the women speak the English language with good accent and talk intelligently. The traveler, upon visiting an Indian abode, finds it is necessary, usually, to speak a sort of broken English to carry on an intelligent conversation. Not so on this reservation. He at once finds that the Indians understand the English language thoroughly, and speak it fluently. In passing through the reservation recently a "paleface" approached a house for information, and, seeing a young mother holding a child in her arms, spoke thus: "Which road, Yainax?" Pointing to the high way which forked near the premises: "The right hand road leads to Yainax, the left to Bonanza," came the prompt reply. At another place, the inquiry was made: "Where man?" The Indian woman replied with perfect accent: "My husband is not at home. He has gone over to Yainax to consult the reservation physician." So it is at every hand. The Indians are educated and refined to a remarkable degree.
POPULATION IS PROSPEROUS.The greater percent of the population of the reservation are highly prosperous While they make money without any great effort, they are in no wise of the class who follow the very common practice of "come easy, go easy." Not long since, an Indian had a lawyer in Klamath Falls to do some legal business for him, for which the fee was nominal. The Indian asked the attorney if he had change to cash a check. The lawyer replied in the affirmative and drew forth a few silver pieces. His client handed him a $5000 check, the proceeds of a recent sale of cattle. The lawyer did not cash it.
Many of the Indians do a big haying and stock business annually. They have large and well-improved ranches, in the allotments by the government, tracts of land are given to every member of the family, and care is taken that the claims adjoin. A large family may thus, and do in many instances, own large ranches together.
Captain Oliver C. Applegate, the government agent, has been connected with the management of the Indian affairs of this section for 30 years or more, and thoroughly understands his business. He is courteous and always ready to give information concerning his work. He informed an Oregonian correspondent that in the management of his 1200 "children" the assistance of but 12 policemen was required. He has a chief, and the others are subordinates. All the officers are Indians, and absolutely trustworthy. They may be sent to any part of the state, or even California. They never sleep, and scarcely eat, riding day and night on these journeys, and carry out instructions to the letter. A policeman was sent to California recently after two horse thieves who had escaped from the reservation. He rode two days and nights without sleep, and returned with the men strapped to the stolen horses.
Captain Applegate says that the police men are not entirely employed looking after outlaw aborigines. A few years ago the white officers were chasing these Indians, many of whom were thieves and murderers, but now his policemen have to look after white men. This is true of the stockmen who graze their herds upon the reservation, and quite often "forget" to pay the toll, and also to keep them from driving away Indian stock which they sometimes mistake for their own.
Irrigation of the reservation lands is being looked after by the government. Speaking of this work, Captain Applegate said: "The irrigation system, which I was authorized to inaugurate last year, by the initial surveys, will make productive large areas now suitable for pasturage purposes only. If the government backs us up with the necessary funds, which it undoubtedly will, not less than 100,000 acres will be made as valuable as any lands in fertile Klamath County. The Indians are making good progress in improving their allotments. They have erected many good residences and barns, and within the past two years enclosed many thousand acres of land with substantial rail and post fences. Last year they built on the Klamath marsh about 50 miles of fence of this character. I estimate the amount of hay put up on Indian farms this year at 10,000 tons."
SCHOOLS AN INTERESTING STUDY.The government improvements on the reservation are of a very substantial order. At Klamath Agency their worth is estimated at $6000; at the Yainax boarding school about $6000, and at the Klamath boarding school $15,000. The average attendance at the Yainax school is about 100 and at Klamath Agency the school attendance is about 125. These schools are an interesting study within themselves. Tots 5 and 6 years, to men and women 25 and 30 years of age, are among the pupils. it is the purpose of the government fully to educate the Indians. They may enter the school at 4 years of age, and remain until highly proficient in all the branches, no matter how long the time required. The majority, however, leave at the age of 18 to 20 years. After reaching a certain stage they do not seem to make further advancement.
The schools are divided into convenient departments and are presided over by competent teachers. Work in the dining rooms and kitchens, dormitories and laundry departments is performed by the students under the supervision of whites or the more experienced Indians. The regulation uniforms are worn, and are kept clean and neat. As a rule, the children are well behaved and attentive, apparently more obedient than the average public school pupil. While modern games have been introduced, they cannot supplant the amusements which were so dear to their parents in early days of civilization. The lasso commands favor with the boy. He will bide in some convenient place, and, as companions pass, send out the rope with lightning speed. The unsuspecting victim finds himself or herself brought to the ground with the line drawn tight about the limbs or neck, while the miscreant takes flight to another part of the grounds. He will steal out and take rides on the reservation horses at night, and is not unfrequently accompanied by some of his girl friends.
In the schoolroom, the boys wear a staid, solemn look, but the girls write on their slates, flirt and make faces and enjoy themselves generally--when the master is not looking. Farming, carpentering, stock-raising and all manner of work ts taught in the industrial departments.
MUCH LIKE A BIG HOME.The schools are for all the world like a big home, a large farm being maintained in connection. Horses and cattle are kept for the use of the pupils. There are also wagons, farming implements, tools and everything necessary to conduct all the departments of the place. There is a local physician, hospital, jail, carpenter and blacksmith shops.
Flower culture has just been begun at the Yainax school, under the supervision of Mrs R. E. Nickerson, a teacher in the primary department, with considerable success. It is interesting to see the grandson of Paulina, the noted cutthroat chief, picking flowers with young Schonchin, whose grandfather was hanged for murdering members of the peace commission. On a recent trip to the reservation, a noted officer of the Union Army met a party of Indian stalwarts in the road, and inquired where they were going. They informed him that they were on their way to the reservation to pick flowers for Decoration Day.
The Sabbath and all legal holidays are scrupulously observed. The Methodist Church prevails on this reservation, and a membership of 250 is claimed.
No Indian is permitted to leave the reservation without a pass, and if he should, he is promptly brought back by the police. Children are not permitted to leave school except in cases of sickness or for a necessary rest.
As soon as he completes his education or leaves school, the Indian goes upon the land allotted to him and begins his improvement. Stock-raising is most generally the first work taken up. The women engage in housekeeping and other pursuits peculiar to their sex.
The cost of education is borne entirely by the government, which allows $175 per year for each Indian child in attendance. The food and clothing are substantial. There are Piutes, or Snakes, Modocs, Klamaths and Pit River Indians on this reservation. While there are 1145 of these Indians on the reservation and under government control, there are 1200 Piutes and Pit Rivers at Harney Lake, in Surprise Valley and on Pit River, who should be included in their numbers. An effort is being made to secure their admittance to the reservation.
Valley Record, Ashland, October 25, 1900, page 1
ON AN INDIAN RESERVATION.The Siletz Indian Reservation, or the reservation of "Beautiful River," in Western Oregon, is a dozen miles from Toledo, the county seat, picturesquely placed on the tidal river Yaquina. The reservation is among the Coast Range Mountains, and embraces many beautiful hills and dales, where the fern grows luxuriantly yet, and where the tall firs wave their fingertips across the silver skeletons of their ancient fellows as though they would fain hide them from critical view.
(From the Coast Magazine.)
By Louisa A'hmuty Nash.
As you drive on toward the hub of the reservation, the Agency, you pass Indian houses. The old tent is gradually disappearing. But although Tyee John and his fellows build themselves houses now, they pitch their tents alongside and prefer them to their shingle roof and dressed lumber habitations. Some old huts remain, too, with doors just big enough to creep through on all fours; their roofs thatched with sea grass, broken by a hole to let the smoke out. Cultivated fields surround you, with tidy vegetable rows setting off the early wheat greening above the rich earth. The valley widens out, and as if guarding it from the ocean, stands Euchre Mountain (now corrupted into "Hookey"), named for an old Indian chief whose tribe inhabited the lower part of Beautiful River. On a knoll stand the schools, hospital, church; the trading store, the agent's house and the houses of the other employees are grouped a little lower down.
These buildings are on the site of the old blockhouse of Sheridan's day, to which he made a road right through the valley (now our ranch) from Fort Hoskins, twenty-five miles away. This was after the Rogue River war, when the warring tribes and others, about twenty tribes in all, were gathered up and placed upon this beautiful and healthful reservation. There were Okanogans, who disposed of their dead by tying them upright to a tree; Yakimas, who buried them under cairns of stones; Klickitats, who swathed their dead like mummies and laid them in low, rude huts on the . memaloose or "death islands" of the Columbia; the Chinooks, who stretched them in canoes, their fishing implements with them; Klamaths, who buried them with mad saturnalia, and numerous others.
The reservation covers a good-sized slice out of three counties, extending away down to the coast. There were six thousand Indians here when Sheridan quartered a small troop on the knoll to keep them in check. After they quieted down and only a sullenness remained toward "Boston man," the soldiers gave place to the agent and his assistants. In less than half a century, since 1856, the six thousand have dwindled down to five hundred! It is hard to assign any one cause. Evidently civilized life, or half civilization, with their old, careless habits, does not agree with Indians. The free, open life of the woods and camp, coupled with hard exercise, suited them far better. They rush now from the hot stove room without a particle of ventilation out into the open, no matter how inclement, and suffer in consequence. A common cold develops into something serious, and they quickly succumb.
Three of the buildings on the ridge are devoted to the children. The girls' room, with its seventy pupils, overflows its own building into that of the boys, as the rule of seven feet of ground space in the dormitory for each pupil is carefully adhered to. The arrangements in these buildings are good up to a certain point, but had the architects in Washington taken counsel with some thinking woman there would have been more conveniences without additional cost. The children look sturdy enough with their round faces, chubby red cheeks and bright black eyes. They are allowed to go home from Friday to Monday. Their parents clamor for the rights of the public schools, but it will be a sorry day when they are granted to them. The regime of the agency school is better suited to the Indian children for whom it is exclusively planned than any school can be that is modeled upon the requirements of civilized children.
Indians have a horror of their children being treated harshly, though they have no cause to complain of their treatment in the reservation schools, where the law of kindness reigns. Indian parents, here as everywhere else, never lift a hand to their children, having ever before their eyes the vision of Hoallashee, the Good Spirit, who would take children away into his own keeping should they be hurt by their earthly mentors.
At the Siletz Reservation school there are, beside the superintendent, two lady teachers and two nut-brown buxom maids who preside over the seven sewing machines in the sewing department. Then there is the matron, a genial soul, who not only keeps everything in apple pie order, but who has currents of fresh air sweeping through all the rooms when unoccupied, and who is proud and fond of her charges. The boys have industrial out-of-door training similar to that given in connection with Western agricultural colleges. When they are particularly bright and promising they are drafted onto the Chemawa state school, and if there is sufficient fulfillment of the promise to warrant further expectations, they go on to Carlisle.
As the government increases its appropriations for education of the Indians it spends less proportionately for food for them, for they become increasingly able to earn their own living. Fifteen pounds of flour. and a little bacon are all that is given out now monthly, and those who can work do not draw even that.
The school hospital, over which a trained nurse presides, under the direction of the reservation surgeon, has tiny wards, one of four beds for girls, and one of three for the boys. Sometimes the hospital is full to overflowing with the odd little people so much more curious when able to be about than even the most alert white youngsters. Here, too, the absence of a woman's head on the board of apportionment shows in the lack of conveniences. The nurse succeeded in getting some needed supplies from Washington, and improvised others, but in the matter for example of hot water treatment she must needs betake herself and her patient to the general kitchen. The superintendent of the kitchen manages the creamery for home consumption, packing in summer the butter which supplies the table in winter.
The Siletz Indians are mostly tame Indians now. The tattoo marks are wearing off the cheeks that are withered and wrinkled, and the holes in the noses where once the nose rings hung are now empty. Superstition and credulity still hold sway to a large extent. Only recently a "siwash" got the "klootchman" (woman) of his heart to marry him against her will by persuading her that he could and would turn her into a bear if she refused. A sun dance is still indulged in upon occasions. Then the Indians rig themselves up in the old-time war paint and feathers. The sun dance of the old tribes lasted three days. In these "paternal" times it revolves round the stars and stripes. The dance is something like a schottische, and the dancers dance on and on, fasting, till one after another falls down, worn out with excitement and exhaustion, and have to be carried out of sight.
The bead work and various other types of handiwork of the Indians in their native state are disappearing. The old hands have lost their cunning, and the young ones, practicing civilized arts, are no longer deft at making the moccasins, head bands, ornamented arrows, sheaths, etc. Baskets are still made, some of them so closely woven as to be water tight, patterning after those of the days when water was carried on the march in baskets strapped to the back. We often bought their baskets as they went through our ranch, their highway to the hop-picking and other industries of the Willamette Valley. Very picturesque groups they made with their papooses tied on amid sundry sacks to their cayuse ponies, their bright bits of color catching the eye afar off as they emerged from the green trail. They never seemed to resent our living on the wild land which had been their hunting ground when on leave. We always took care to feed them, and they always took care to come by at meal time. This feeding business at last became a tax, so one day our farm man in charge said that with my permission he would ask the next one who came through the usual price of a meal--fifty cents. He proved to be a Klamath. The Klamaths I really quite admired, they had such an artistic look--clean shaven as they all are, or rather I should say, clean plucked. They carefully pluck out each hair, thus by degrees discouraging the growth of their beards.
This good-looking Klamath dined with us at our table, and afterwards he was asked for fifty cents. As quick as thought came his rejoinder, "I find King George man cow, away up on reservation. I charge King George man fifty cent. Quits!"
There was one man, Coyote Jim, who looked upon our ranch as specially his. He used often to camp near us. Sometimes he would come and say, "You lend me gun, I shoot deer and bring you ham." And when he had luck he was as good as his word. Still Coyote Jim gave me rather an uncanny feeling on account of the stories clinging to his name--a coyote after lambs he was said to be. He was a Rogue River Indian, and a hideous specimen. At the time of the Rogue River war he had been a brute. He would string up children, fire their homes, commit every kind of atrocity. One day an old squaw was discovered by one of our boys apparently dying. He took her to the blacksmith's shop to dry her wet clothes, and carried her some milk. She recovered sufficiently to crawl to the house, where she stretched her clawlike hands out eagerly for the food we gave her. Our man took her part way back to the reservation with food to last her some days. But a couple of days after she was back again, and then at her last gasp. The boys made shelter over her, and we sent word to the agent. He dispatched his policeman, who in very unceremonious manner doubled up her poor emaciated body and tied it onto a horse. This policeman was Coyote Jim, and we had good reason to believe that the squaw was his mother, whom he had led away to die alone in the wilderness. Poor soul, she had her funeral after all, with the usual ceremonies.
The present agent of the Siletz Reservation, my friend, Mr. T. J. Buford, tells me that at first he was much affected at the Indian funeral because so much grief is shown. However, after a time he was enlightened on the subject, and now his eyes remain dry. It is common for those who cannot afford money to purchase the usual mourning to bribe with trinkets those who will perform the duties of mourning the dead. If the mourners thus hired do not evince enough grief to be satisfactory they are clubbed by those who hire them until noise enough is forthcoming. A daughter will double up the dead body of her mother and thrust it into a shallow hole, barely covering it with earth, and think she has done her duty as to interment.
A species of Turkish bath is an old-time remedy of Indians, still employed. Their sweat houses or sweat holes are frequently to be seen. The stifling atmosphere of these places, and the journey down to the nearest creek must often undo the good that the sweating process might accomplish. Certain it is that cases of pneumonia are numerous and that the patients die off like flies. Indian women are not considered to be worthy the sweat house treatment, and they follow a cold water treatment of their own that is even more dubious in its results. One of our boys found an aged squaw last winter suffering severely with the grippe, seated outside her door in the pouring rain, her black hair streaming with water which had soaked her scanty clothing through and through.
A few years ago the lands were thrown open, not to the general public, but to the Indians to have and to hold for themselves to live on and to cultivate with certain provisos against selling the land. To many it has been a great education, and they have proved themselves industrious and thrifty. Some have money in the bank. Others remain in the old childhood stage, working well for a while, then lapsing into their former lazy habits. It was the superstition of the Indians that led to the massacre of the Siletz agent, Mr. Goodechild [Ben Wright]. Chetco Jennie, who took a leading part in the murder, cut out the victim's heart and ate it. When asked long afterward if she had really done this she said, "Yes; Goodechild good man, brave man."
"Then why treat him so?" she was asked. "Cause we know, we eat him heart, we get brave good like him."
Chetco Jennie was not really a bad sort, and by her own showing desired to be better still. She was a very strong woman. She would pack five deer into camp without pausing, carrying in one, and returning for another, each deer representing in addition to the heavy weight, many miles of foot travel over terribly rough country. Indians are as credulous as children. They started in by believing implicitly and literally the teachings of their chaplain that their prayers would be answered. One prayed for a new wagon, one for a horse, another for a new tent, and so on. When these things did not appear, as they confidently expected them to do, raining down from heaven, they lost all confidence in the chaplain and would attend no more of his services.
At one time the Siletz Indians were allowed to entertain some visiting Indians and to hold the famous "Snohalla" dance. This involves a great deal of dancing and praying, the Indians believing that if they endured and prayed sufficiently all dead Indians would come to life and the white man would be banished from Indian lands. The agent argued with them as to the impossibility of the dead coming to life, and therefore the folly of wearing themselves out in the "Snohalla." Whereupon the chief spokesman answered: "Mr. Howard (the chaplain) say good man Jesus come back. That impossible?" This agent, Mr. Simpson, gave the Indians very practical lessons in civil government by modeling everything on the reservation according to the institutions of the nation. He had the various courts of justice represented, among other features. In the trial of a certain divorce case the judge ruled that the decree should be granted to the woman providing that she would marry him!
There was once a very astute agent who drew heavily upon Washington for a population of 2,100, when the real number was 700. So adroit was he that the inspector was fooled by his own eyes. He counted 700 at the agency,  at the "lower farm" and again 700 at the "upper farm."
Since the Indians have been accorded American citizenship they display a good deal of interest in local questions and party, according as they believe the results will affect them personally. At a rallying day just before the late general election they thronged the little church on the knoll, dressed in their "go-to-meeting best." One of their own number, an educated Indian named Ulysses Grant, presided. He introduced the first speaker thus: "You all know him, boys; he live long time in English Illahee," and rounds of applause expressed their knowledge and approval. The speaker was at a disadvantage on account of the assemblage being of so mixed a character, ranging from really well educated Indians to those grown-up children who comprehend only a word here and there of the "white" language. After the speeches made for both parties there was a Chinook talk by a former agent. How the old withered faces lighted up at the sound of their beloved jargon. Lastly came George Harney, a fine-looking, well--built man, once chief of his tribe, and now almost its sole representative. He is one of nature's own orators, with the most graceful and effective of gestures, which help wonderfully in translating his thought. I understand no Chinook, yet I could make out which party he favored. The chief point of interest was in whether or not Congressman Tongue should be returned to Washington. The opposing side had arranged a barbecue for the evening. but this did not tempt their opponents, who announced, "We eat no Democratic beef. Democratic beef got worms."
There are sallies of humor at such gatherings, but also there are many faces bearing the sad look of those who pine still for the free and unfettered life of their youth, who realize that their once powerful tribes are fast going the way of those altogether extinct. A great many Indians had attended "a speaking" in Toledo on the previous evening, but outside the reservation the Indian is never safe from the white man's whiskey. It makes him noisy and quarrelsome and has a worse effect on his health than it does on the white man. One Indian sat asleep late that evening on the hotel steps. "Johnny, get up and go to bed," said the hostess, after he had had his first nap. But Johnny refused. "You'll go downtown and drink more whiskey," she went on, "and it'll cost you more in the morning than a night's lodging here, and you'd be better off tomorrow into the bargain if you stay here."
"No, no." said Johnny, all right." And off he went. Next morning as I was talking to the city marshal on the hotel porch, Johnny appeared. Without a word from the marshal Johnny took several greenbacks from his pocket and handing them over to the marshal said, "I know you; you fish in my pocket; you fish dollars; here my five," which he cheerfully paid for the privilege of having passed the night in the "calaboose."
Catholic Northwest Progress, Seattle, Washington, July 19, 1901, page 7
A Mission That Failed.The Klamath Indians are among the most advanced, prosperous and best educated of the Indian tribes. For years they have dwelt in peace on their reservation, and at no time, since the settlement of the Northwest, have they been in arms against the whites. Still all these years of civilizing influences and Christian teaching have failed to eradicate the unforgiving spirit always dominant in savage man. During the Modoc war the Klamaths, owing to their close relationship to the revolting tribe, were under suspicion and in spite of the efficient aid they gave to the government were treated with severity by some of the settlers in the Klamath region. At the close of the war the remnant of the Modoc tribe was transported to Indian Territory, and now have dwindled to forty members. Recently the Modocs applied to the government for permission to return to Oregon and be allotted lands in the Klamath Reservation. The matter was referred to the Klamaths themselves. Two Modocs came from Indian Territory, and for two months they have been using every effort to secure the consent of the Klamaths, but in vain. No fear of another outbreak was feared; but deep down in the hearts of the ‘"old men" of the Klamaths is a feeling of stern resentment against their cousins, the Modocs, and they refused to allow them to return. So the emissaries must return to the prairies of the Southwest and inform the old, gray-haired warriors that never more may they return to the place of their birth, but must pass away from life far from the happy hunting grounds of their youth. Most of the old warriors are already dead, and son to the tribe of Indians, whose record for treachery and bloodthirstiness is second only to the Apaches and which with only thirty warriors stood of an army of over 1,000 men, will be but a memory.
Medford Mail, January 2, 1903, page 2
Mrs. S. Arrasmith, her daughter and granddaughter were on Wednesday's train, en route from Quartz Valley, Cal., to Applegate to visit relatives. She and one other Indian living near Jacksonville are the only remnants of the original Rogue River Indian tribe that inhabited this valley when the white man came. She is a very spry and intelligent old lady.
"Brief Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 1, 1903, page 3
SEEK AGENT'S SCALPKLAMATH FALLS, Or., Dec. 28.--(Special.)--Captain O. C. Applegate, for years the Indian agent here, is now under investigation. Although the investigation is being conducted behind closed doors, and the topics discussed are closely guarded, it has been learned that a woman is back of the whole trouble, and an Indian woman at that.
Klamath Indians Do Not Like Captain Applegate.
INSPECTOR VISITS AGENCY
Miss Choteau, Carlisle Graduate, Said to Be at Bottom of Investigation of
Superintendent Egbert, and Agent of Long Experience.
The investigation is the outgrowth of the alleged conduct of Luzena Choteau, a Carlisle graduate, and at one time an employee at the Yainax School near here. At the time the trouble originally came up Knott C. Egbert, now superintendent at Siletz, was superintendent at Yainax. Miss Choteau, holding the. position of assistant matron, took her annual leave of absence, and while gone was sent word that she had better not return. If she did return charges would be preferred against her by Superintendent Egbert. As a result she resigned, but at once engaged the services of several San Francisco lawyers, who have taken her case before the department at Washington and have finally succeeded in bringing about the present investigation.
Miss Choteau is the Indian woman who is president of the National Indian Republican Association. During the last Presidential campaign she sent letters broadcast throughout the Indian country, asking the Indians to contribute $1 each for the Republican cause. It has never been learned just what she accomplished or what disposition was made of the funds collected. Miss Choteau is a fighter, and seems determined to carry the fight against Applegate and Egbert through to the end.
The investigation is being conducted by Supervisor M. F. Holland of the Indian Office. He has been at the Klamath Agency since the first week in December. It is not known how long he will remain.
The Choteau matter is not the only one under investigation. There is said to be strong feeling among the Indians against Applegate. It is alleged by them that he is opposed to sending children from the Klamath Reservation to non-reservation schools, even though the children were anxious to go and the parents willing that the change be made. According to the Indian regulations, it is necessary for the pupils to secure the agent's consent before they can leave for other schools. Applegate, it is maintained, has for years stood in the way of the children, saying that the schools on the reserve were sufficient.
Several of the prominent Indians on the reserve are greatly opposed to Applegate, and have given testimony before Holland as to his position on the school and other questions. Rev. Jessie Kirk, one of the smartest Indians on the reservation and a regularly ordained minister, said recently: "When any of the Indians desired to send their children to other schools the agent always found some pretext or other by which he put them off. I have seen him take a drive of 40 miles across the reservation, simply to escape some employee from another school sent here for children. It sometimes appeared to me that the old agent was acting out of spite, but at other times I could not understand his actions."
Kirk represents the better element among the Indians. He has made it a point to send his children away to the large non-reservation schools in spite of Applegate's protests. He and many of the other Indians want a younger man and a man more up with the times, as agent Applegate has been at Klamath Agency for about 30 years, and has spent little of that time away from his post.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, December 29, 1904, page 7
Miss Reel's ReportThe report of our Superintendent of Indian Schools, Miss Estelle Reel, for this year has been received, giving an outline of the work of the School Service during the past year. It deals largely with the industrial features of Indian education and is replete with photographs, showing the industrial advancement of our Indians.
Salem (Chemawa) School."New buildings have been erected, and this is now the largest and best-equipped Indian school in the Northwest. The general conditions at the school showed improvement over those prevailing at the time of my visit, the previous year, and the boys who have graduated from the industrial departments have done well. This school is located in a section where almost all kinds of fruit can be raised and general agricultural work carried on to advantage. It would therefore seem advisable to have these pursuits carried on more extensively than at other schools in less favored regions and pupils give move extensive training in farming, dairying, and horticulture. In order that this may be accomplished, it is recommended that additional land be purchased."
Siletz School"The average attendance for the year was practically up to the enrollment--63. The school has a good farm, well fenced, and mostly under cultivation. It is necessary here that the boys be instructed in agriculture, including stock raising and dairying, and the girls be taught cooking, the care of milk, and butter making, since the children's homes are in a section particularly well adapted to farming and grazing.
The classroom work was good. The grounds and buildings have been improved since my previous visit. There are few facilities for giving industrial instruction, and it would seem advisable that the larger pupils should be transferred to Chemawa School as soon as they are sufficiently advanced. It is believed that this agency could with advantage be united with the Grand Ronde Agency, where the conditions are similar, and that uniting the two would result in benefit to both. The Siletz Indians are self-supporting and fairly well-to-do, and capable of looking after their own affairs. Two or three day schools could be conducted to advantage on the reservation.
Weekly Chemawa American, Chemawa, Oregon, January 19, 1906, page 1
Indian Money Apportioned.From [the] Klamath Falls Express:
The Indian agent at the Klamath Reservation, assisted by Capt. O. C. Applegate, has compiled a census of the Indians and the roll shows 1050 men, women and children. The taking of the census is the preliminary step to the apportionment of the roads the Indians are to receive for about 600,000 acres of land, laying along the north and east side of the reservation, which they relinquished to the government for a cash payment. The first of this payment, $25,000, has been received and will be divided among the 1050 Klamath, Modocs, Pit Rivers and Piutes that inhabit the reservation.
The remainder of the money, $350,000, due from the government, has been placed on interest and every year the Indians will receive the interest money amounting to about $16,000. While the per capita payments will not be large, yet when it is considered as a lump sum it is no small income to the reservation wards of Uncle Sam. The sum of $350,000 placed on interest is held up at the will of the Secretary of Interior and it may be many years before this amount is apportioned among the Indians.
Another important matter in the Indians' affairs is the definite settlement of the Central Military Road land grant in the reservation. This matter was first taken up by Capt. O. C. Applegate during his administration as Indian agent and was brought to a successful issue by Major Wilson, the present agent, in a comparatively short time.
The settlement was reached by exchanging a tolerably compact body of timber land lying west of the Sican Valley in the Klamath Reservation for the grant lands following the old Central Military Road, heretofore claimed by the California and Oregon Land Company. The grant lands comprised about 111,000 acres and in lieu of these they were given about 80,000 acres on the west side of Sican Valley and a deed for the same was placed on record this week. This exchange of lands was made in pursuance to a plan of settlement marked out by the representatives of the Indians and of the company claiming the lands under the authority of Congress.
The final settlement of this land removes one of the impediments in making the land allotments to the Indians which may now be pursued and when completed the government will be in a position to purchase the tribal rights of the Indians to the remainder of the lands and is a decisive step towards the opening of the reservation.
Medford Mail, November 23, 1906, page 1
Notice to Contractors.
Notice is hereby given that the directors of School District No. 66, located on the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation, will receive sealed bids for the construction of a one-story frame schoolhouse in said district. Bids will be opened Monday, August 19, 1907, at 1 o'clock p.m. Plans and specifications may be seen at the home of the clerk at Grand Ronde and at the office of the County School Superintendent in Dallas. The board reserves the right to reject any and all bids.
FRANK ISAAC, Clerk.
Polk County Observer, July 30, 1907, page 2
INDIANS AFTER AGENT'S SCALPJeff C. Riddle, an intelligent half-breed Modoc, and held in high esteem by members of the two tribes by reason of his efforts to encourage their advancement along civilized lines, was outspoken in his denunciation of Agent Wilson's administration of affairs on the reservation, and in this expression of dissatisfaction he was joined by H. E. Mann, a white man now in the government service at Chemawa Indian school, who married into the Klamath tribe, besides Henry Hoover, an Indian justice of the peace on the Klamath Reservation, and Thomas. Barkley, brother to William Barkley, who was complaining that H. G. Wilson, Indian agent for the Klamath reservation, is opposed to the best interests of the Indians and has made no effort to advance the tribes educationally or otherwise. A petition has been forwarded to the Secretary of the Interior asking for his removal. It is asserted that Wilson's administration has been unusually offensive to the Indians--so much so that the tribe is said to have ceased to progress and is experiencing a retrograde movement.
Wilson is charged with leasing the Indian lands to stockraisers without receiving permission from the owners. The claim is made that the petition is not brought from any personal reasons, and that the Modocs and Klamaths, the tribes concerned on the reservations, are in perfect agreement regarding Wilson's re- [omission]
Among the Indians there was a desire to be represented by a float and brass band at the rose festival, and it is stated that Wilson by his prohibitory mandates prevented this red men's display.
Illegal transfers of land and transfers made without obtaining the permission of the Indian proprietors are a further complaint made. It is said that Wilson has not made adequate attempts to enforce the liquor laws, and has permitted hunting and [is] accused of killing Sid Jacobs, in addition to others who are known to have the best interests of the two tribes at heart. In discussing the situation immediately prior to his return to the reservation yesterday, Riddle said:
The petition claims further that Superintendent Wilson is careless in his duties, and does not look after the general welfare of the reservation, this laxness having a tendency to cause trouble among the Indians and damaging the whole reservation. Particular reference is made to his lack of alertness in enforcement of the laws regarding the sale of intoxicating liquors on the reservation, as a result of which the petitioners say there has been considerable drunkenness, and one white man was found dead near Yainax. The agent is also accused of permitting hunting, trapping and fishing on the reservation, in violation of the laws governing it.
Medford Mail, June 18, 1909, page 3
NEW INDIAN AGENT KLAMATH RESERVE
(Klamath Northwestern.)Authentic information was received here yesterday from Washington that Indian Agent Edson Watson has been removed from duty at the Klamath Indian Reservation and a man named Freed from Oklahoma division will soon arrive to take his place.
Mr. Watson was communicated with last night and stated that he was expecting to receive notice of his removal at any time, but that he had heard nothing official yet.
Behind the removal of Indian Agent Watson lies a story. When Professor Adolph C. Miller, new head of the federal reserve board and until recently Assistant Secretary of the Interior, was here last summer to inspect the reclamation project, he went word from Crater Lake to Watson that he wanted to meet the Indians of the reservation and talk over their affairs with them.
When Professor Miller and his party arrived at the agency there were no Indians in night. He asked Agent Watson where the Indians were, "Oh, 1 didn't get them together," Watson is said to have replied. "I thought my official reports and I myself could give you all the information that you wanted." "That’s where you're wrong," Professor Miller retorted. "Under this Democratic administration we are not doing things that way. It may have been all right formerly for the government to get all its information from agents of bureaus, but President Wilson and Secretary Lane want their information first hand. I asked to see the Indians and I want to see them. I can learn your viewpoint any time I want to read your reports. Now go out and get the Indians."
And Professor Miller waited while Agent Watson went out and summoned the Indians for a council with the agent of the great white father.
It is stated that Watson was slated to go from that time, and that Secretary Lane had only been awaiting a suitable man to take his place.
Medford Mail Tribune, May 21, 1914, page 6
OREGON INDIANS ASK FOR CASH
PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 17.--About 200 Indians representing tribes who occupied lands west of the Coast Range of Oregon held a meeting today to plan pressing demands upon the government for compensation for lands taken from them. They claimed that under a treaty negotiated with the tribes in 1845 by Joel Palmer, United States commissioner, which was never ratified by the Senate, their lands were taken from them and that the government has failed to reimburse them.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 17, 1922, page 6
Sketch of Old Nancy Who Died in Jacksonville Last Week"Old Nancy," as the well-known old Indian woman was known to hundreds of Jackson County people for many years, died at her home in Jacksonville last week. She had an interesting history, associated with the very earliest pioneer days of the Rogue River Valley, concerning which the Jacksonville Post says:
"After suffering for several months with complaints common to old age, the death of Mrs. Nancy Arrasmith, a full-blood Rogue River Indian, occurred at her home here Monday evening. The burial took place Wednesday afternoon in the Jacksonville cemetery beside the grave of her husband, Ira Arrasmith, a white man, whose death occurred many years ago. Rev. Millard of Medford conducted the funeral services.
"A history of this Indian woman's life would make an interesting and thrilling story. She was unusually bright and intelligent and was nearly 100 years old at the time of her death. She was born in the Rogue River Valley and when only a girl of 15 years was abducted and carried off to Canada by an Indian chief. After a terrific knife fight with the chief and a wild ride for her life she escaped and after many hardships finally made her way back to this valley.
"Pursuing redskins followed and shot at her frequently, one bullet lodging in her leg and which she carried with her to the grave. The other Indians formed a dislike for Nancy, claiming she was too much in sympathy with the white settlers of this valley. This jealousy and bitter feeling resulted in numerous knife fights, and many scars marked her body as a result.
"It is said that at one time the Indians--hundreds of them--gathered on Table Rock, at the north end of this valley, and decided to go on the warpath and kill all the whites in the valley. Nancy made her escape the night the massacre was to occur, to notify the whites of their danger, but in getting away she fell over a bluff and broke one of her legs. She managed to get onto a pony and warned the settlers, who quickly got ready for action and drove the savages out of the valley for all time.
"Of course Nancy knew better than to return to her people, and for this brave act the whites persuaded her to remain with them, which she did to the end and was always held in the greatest respect by them. For many years Nancy lived alone in a little cottage near the courthouse and was always looked after kindly by our citizens, who saw to it that she never wanted for anything that would assist in making life as pleasant for her as possible in her declining years.
‘Several years ago Nancy sold her allotment claim on the Klamath Indian reservation, and from the proceeds she was enabled to live as comfortably as she desired.
"She had no children and leaves no relatives."
Medford Mail Tribune, July 3, 1922, page 4
Oregon Indians' Condition Today(Note--Since this article was written there have been before Congress several bills relating to Indian affairs in Oregon, which when passed and put into effect will change many of the conditions mentioned.)
Written by Mrs. R. C. Van Valzah and read before Crater Lake Chapter, D.A.R.
----We have in Oregon three Indian reservations and what is listed as a subagency. There are the Klamath, Umatilla and Warm Springs reservations and the Siletz subagency.
The Umatilla Reservation of 167,916 acres is located in Umatilla County, along the Umatilla River, in Eastern Oregon. There are 1101 Indians located there. They have no government schools. The children attend the public schools of the county and they have Catholic mission schools, while a few attend government boarding schools on other reservations. They have good market roads covering most of the reservation.
Warm Springs Reservation lies on the east slope of the Cascade Mountains in Washington and Jefferson counties. It includes 500,000 acres valued at $10,000,000. One thousand Indians live there. The Warm Springs Agency has under its jurisdiction the public domain allotments along the Columbia River between Hood River and Arlington, the John Day River in Gilliam and Sherman counties and the allotments in Harney County near Burns. There are allotted on public domain, subject to this jurisdiction, approximately 190 Indians.
The government maintains a boarding school at Warm Springs with a capacity of 125 pupils and a day school at Burns with a capacity of 25 pupils.
Near Salem we find the Chemawa Indian school. There is a faculty of 90 teachers and a student body of 750. They have a four-year vocational course offered for 30 trades. Students are enrolled from Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.
The Siletz, Grand Ronde and fourth section allottees are under the jurisdiction of this office. Allotments of land were made to the individual Indians of the Siletz and Grand Ronde reservations, under the act of February 8, 1887, and amendments. Fee patents have been issued for most of these allotments, either to the Indians or to purchasers of the land, but there are still a few held in trust by the government.
The fourth section allottees are scattered all through Southern Oregon.
At the Siletz Reservation there are about 450 Indians while Grand Ronde has about 340.
On the public domain west of the Cascades there are somewhere near 350 Indians, No government schools are conducted on these reservations, but the children attend public schools.
Klamath Reservation lies about 33 miles north of Klamath Falls in Klamath and Lake counties. It contains 1,106,285 acres with a value of over $30,000,000. These Indians rank second in tribal wealth in the United States. There are 1280 Indians on the payroll. These are Klamath, Modoc, Piute, Pit River and Yahooskin band of Snake Indians.
All together we have about 4723 Indians in Oregon and from reports from the Department of the Interior we find that the Indians are increasing and not decreasing as we have believed. The average Indian family consists of about five, father, mother and three children.
The wealth of the tribal lands of the Klamaths consists chiefly of ponderosa pines and grazing lands. The valleys have good hay fields for winter feeding, making it an ideal stock country.
The Indians live much as they did a hundred years ago in tents and tepees. Some have houses, but as a rule they prefer the open camping life they have always known.
I find that most people regard the Indians as a dirty, shiftless group leading a miserable existence. No thought is given as [to] why he is as he is. Our pioneer mothers hated and feared the Indian. We neither hate nor fear him; we despise him because he seems so backward and slow and so willing to be imposed upon.
When Columbus discovered America the Indian was living in the stone age. Science tells us that we emerged from the stone age some 150,000 years ago. Think of our progress in that 150,000 years. We crept slowly upward. People learned to read and write. Machinery was invented, gunpowder discovered; books were printed. How slowly we crept along, taking our own leisurely time to this development. Consider the Indian. It is some 300 years since he came in direct contact with the white man and his ways. We expect him to cover our period of development with a hop, skip and a jump of 300 years. Think of the difference between 150,000 years and a mere 300 years. Take a small child from kindergarten and place it in the senior class in the university and expect it to do the work and you have a situation that is about as fair as the progress we expect of the Indian.
We say he is lazy. Haven't we white people that we can make the same charge against? Is he shiftless? Is he ignorant? Can't we make the same complaint of a large class of white people? The bright senior in the university will make the same complaint of the kindergarten child. The kindergartner needs training and teaching and time in which to make the grade. The Indian granted training and teaching and time makes a citizen comparable to any white. Neither the kindergarten child nor the Indian is lacking in mentality nor native ability but must have the right environment, the right encouragement and good teaching or they never arrive.
Four years ago I was in the Emanuel Hospital tn Portland. My nurse was a Klamath Indian girl who had graduated from Chemawa and was training to be a nurse. She told me she planned to specialize in the care of tuberculosis and go back to her people to help fight tuberculosis among them. She was neat, as alert and efficient as any American girl in training. There was a tenseness about her that told of the strain and intenseness of her life. She is not an exception among the Indians, but one of many who is fitting into our mode of life and becoming one of us.
Judge A. L. Leavitt of Klamath Falls says that he regards the Klamath Indians as a competent race, that they have developed a good deal of business ability and are as well qualified to handle their property as the average white man.
This being so, why does the Indian not do it? The answer is found in the way he has been managed by the Indian bureau and its agents. He has been lied to and cheated and exploited and is the excuse for huge appropriations from Congress which are used to maintain an expensive army of civil service men for which there is no excuse.
In Klamath the per capita wealth of the Indians ranges around $500. This is paid in two installments of $250 each. In 1930 the expense of the entire supervision of Klamath Agency business was $213 for every man, woman and child in the tribe, and the per capita payments were paid from capital and not income. What would your reaction be toward a government that taxed you approximately 20 percent of your income to maintain itself and when that income is $500 or less what standard of living could you maintain?
The Klamath's income has not been from the sale of ponderosa pine. Eighteen mills have been eating into the reservation forests. Col. Ahern in testifying before the Senate investigating committee stated: "In the face of the coming world's softwood shortage, you are getting rid of the Indians' timber as fast as possible. It is perfectly absurd to do anything of the kind.
"The Indians object to selling their timber. If they are willing to starve or go hungry because they cannot get this money, it is their lookout. They are pretty wise. I will take their judgment every time. Ten or fifteen years from now their timber is going to be worth more and every year from that time on it is going to bring them a handsome profit if they have anything left. If you let these companies go in there now and destroy it they will have nothing left but a devastated country."
Mr. Wade Crawford, a Klamath Indian, makes this statement concerning Klamath Reservation: "I want to make a brief statement to give a clear picture of our reservation. We have a reservation 60 miles long and 40 miles wide, consisting of 1,110,000 acres of land of which area 800,000 acres is timberland. There are approximately 7,000 white people on the reservation and 1,000 Indians. Therefore it is not more an Indian reservation; it is really a white man's reservation. There is valuable yellow pine timber there and we have 18 companies operating on the reservation."
Here is the situation we are up against: We are up against the timberman's organization and the wool growers' association; the Indian is pitted against those two organizations; we take the matter up with the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and the Commissioner has always made a decision in favor of those two organizations. We don't any more have an Indian problem; it is an Indian bureau problem and if something is not done about it in the near future the lumbermen and the wool growers are going to ruin that reservation.
The Indian's testimony also brought out the fact that enormous sums of tribal funds were used in building roads throughout the reservation for the direct benefit of these lumber companies. Roads that were not beneficial to the Indians and were not wanted, yet were paid for out of Indian funds.
Another waste of tribal funds is shown in this paragraph written by John Collier, executive secretary of American Indian Defense Association. Mr. Collier writes: "Another of Mr. Scattergood's 'direct assistance to Indians' item is the whole cost of irrigation. Your committee knows what that irrigation is. It is the Modoc Point project, almost more notorious than any other tn the Indian bureau system for its extravagance and unproductiveness. It represents a capital investment of nearly $1,000 on acre for land actually irrigated, not worth $80 an acre. It is partially waterlogged through the omission of drainage from the project. It has been utterly condemned by the irrigation advisors of the Secretary of the Interior. Its whole accumulated cost has been made a charge against the Klamath Indian tribal funds. Mr. Scattergood is indulging in humor when he lists the continued throwaway of money on this project as a "direct assistance to Indians."
There are several other irrigation projects on the reservation, very expensive and of very little value to the Indians.
On both the Warm Springs and Klamath reservations there is much discontent and dissatisfaction concerning the tribal range and the grazing leases. Under the permissions issued by the superintendent, the white sheep men have crowded the Indian cattleman out. Certain sections are leased to the sheepmen for summer range. These are all taken up, and the Indians have no feed for their cattle. They must sell or see their cattle starve. Once sold out they have no money to begin again and with no range to begin [omission] them a foothold.
The act of 1891 gives to the tribal council authority to lease the lands. The Indian bureau defeats this by issuing grazing permits and lease the land without the consent of the tribal council. When complaints are made the superintendent is evasive and says there is no available range.
Wade Crawford says: "In the past few years the Indians saw that it was quite profitable to raise sheep and some of them are going into the sheep industry." He told about a girl of the Klamath tribe who bought sheep to run there. The superintendent made her show a bill of sale and then refused to grant her a grazing permit. After much correspondence concerning this they decided to allow her to graze 500 head and granted her a strip of land along the highway--range that was absolutely useless.
The white men are permitted to run from 2500 to 4500 sheep under their permits; 500 could only be run at a loss. The Indian is outwitted and ruled against at every turn. Through building up a successful cattle industry, we are building all the qualities in the Indian that will make him independent of the white man. His independence means his own salvation as well as a vast saving in our taxes. However, as soon as the Indian manages his own affairs a vast army of bureau employees are thrown out of a job. Are they helping the Indian stand on his feet? They kick the props out from under him at the first sign of awakening independence.
In 1928 when a delegation of Klamath Indians went to Washington, D.C., to protest about the management of their affairs they hired a lawyer to obtain legal advice and to prosecute the Indian bureau. They were forced to sign a contract with their lawyer to the effect that the lawyer could not make a decision unless approved by the Secretary of the Interior. In other words, the Indian bureau insists on controlling the attorney the Indians want to prosecute the Indian bureau. The idea seems to be that since the Indian is a ward of the government he has no legal rights. Yet he is a citizen with full voting power. His hands are tied. He is helpless.
At Klamath there is a 24-bed hospital for the Indians and from money taken from the tribal funds. The Indians opposed the building of this building because they all had their own doctors and did not like the agency doctor, maintained by the government and paid for out of tribal funds. He did not seem to like them. He said "they were dirty, lazy, ignorant and liars, and were worse than negroes and Mexicans." It is not to be wondered at that they refuse to be treated by him and resent his being on their payroll. An average of two Indians a month are treated at this hospital and yet we find on government records that there were 3000 hospital days in 1930. This means that the hospital is used by whites--the regiment of whites maintained by the Klamath Indians as Indian bureau employees.
One Klamath Indian testified that "the prohibition laws on our reservation are terrible; there is no law on the reservation. There every man is for himself. It seems as though they hire men who don't enforce the laws. We are in favor of law and order. They are taking about $4500 of our tribal funds for law enforcement and the fines of these men they catch handling liquor, or in any crime, go to the town of Chiloquin and to our county and state and the tribal fund is not reimbursed by any fines or does not get a proportion of the fines.
"We find that the Klamath Indian goes to the public schools at the expense of the tribal fund."
Joseph Bell, a member of the council of the Klamath Indians, stated that he favored public schools for Indian children, "because you get to mix with a better class of people; and the history of the Indian child which has been reared on the reservation is that he is timid, especially when you put him out in the public, and he is kind of bashful and does not pick up as he would and he has no accent to his voice. But if you put him out in white society--in my experience, you have to associate with somebody who knows more than you do or else you are not going to learn anything either, and the same thing applies to the child. It has been proven that given the same opportunities and advantages the Indian will compete with his white brother."
The Indians have stressed the fact that where tribal funds are used to maintain a school they would like to have the education equal to the best institution of learning in existence.
Employees are not allowed to become sympathetic or friendly with the Indians. Mr. Wade Crawford states that Mr. Simmons was transferred from Klamath because he was friendly with the Indians. "He was the best friend the Indians had there among the employees." Mr. Simmons was helping the Indians build houses.
Henry D. Dillstrom, one-eighth Modoc, who was employed at the agency, said that machinery that the Indians could use and was a lot better than what they had, was condemned and destroyed rather than let the Indians have it. Dillstrom was discharged from the service because he thought that the Indian blacksmith at the agency should shoe a team of horses for $2 which was the regular wage rather than send them--an all-day trip at $4.50 a day--to Chiloquin where the blacksmith charged $14 for the horses from the agency, making the job cost $18.50. All this because the agency blacksmith was an Indian.
A few years ago some Indian girls from Klamath were attending St. Mary's Academy. They had dental work done in an office here. A statement of the cost was sent to the agency and a check received. No voucher was signed. Some time after, the father of one of the girls visited the dental office and in talking about the work asked if it would be possible to find out the price of his girl's work. The price was given him. He shook his head and said, "They said it was about five times that amount. They cheat us all the time and we can't help ourselves."
The Indians are discussing three plans whereby they can rid themselves of the Indian bureau. First is the Carter plan. Second the corporation plan. Third the plan whereby they sell out "lock, stock and barrel," put their money into government bonds and receive the interest. In that way the capital would not be dissipated."
I quote this from a letter from Ida Crawford, a Klamath Indian who has taken an active part in the Klamaths' fight for property rights. She writes: "The political situation entirely responsible for the condition is exactly as it was 100 years ago. Persons of Indian descent, and the Indians themselves, now know that reservations are maintained for graft and exploitation, with terrible wrongs to the Indians.
"If the people of the U.S. would only move against the huge appropriations made by Congress for the maintenance of the parasitic civil service employees of the Indian bureau a great saving would be made to the taxpayers of the nation and great and lasting good done to the American Indian."
She has also sent me a copy of the letter written to the Senate committee. I quote from it: "We are in receipt of the information that the interior bill, for the fiscal year 1933, has been reported to the house with a reduction of $45,000 for Klamath. The Klamath Indians, according to the records, will have the sum of $398,967 in the Treasury of the United States for the fiscal year 1933. The bureau's request was for $212,000--the reduction of $45,000 reduces the appropriation to $167,000. There are 1230 enrolled Klamath Indians, which brings the per capita tax to $130, and a per capita credit in the Treasury of approximately $180. Thus it is readily ascertained that the statement of J. Henry Scattergood, Assistant Commissioner of Indian Affairs, to the subcommittee on appropriations, 1933 house hearings, that only eight percent of the revenue of the reservation is expended for administration is erroneous and entirely misleading."
You will readily see from the above and from the evidence submitted by Wade Crawford, chairman of the Klamath business committee, to the subcommittee in the house hearings 1933--that it will be impossible for the Klamath Indians to retain upon their payrolls 22 forestry employees with a salary scale from $1560 to $3000--with no one single camp or mill operating upon the reservation at the present time. Many of the wives of the forestry employees are in the agency office on the regular payroll at a salary of no less than $1800.
We have read with much disgust the justification in the house hearings, 1933, of Mr. J. P. Kinney, chief forester tn the Bureau of Indian Affairs, for the retention of the forestry personnel at Klamath. Surely the Congress will never accept such a justification. There is not a corporation, bank or any industrial institution on the Pacific Coast--and we doubt any other place--that is retaining their former personnel, waiting for better times to happen; expending approximately 80 percent of the liquidated capital assets to do so; it is positively unheard of during the present crisis in the nation's affairs, and any other time, for that matter.
We know for a positive fact that the twenty-two forestry employees on the payroll at Klamath are doing odd jobs, repairing bridges, signs, machinery, etc. That so unjust and extravagant a situation will be tolerated by the Congress is entirely inconceivable to us.
The scaler and ranger positions should be abolished. The contention of Mr. J. P. Kinney that the men are retained to look after the obsolete right-of-ways on the reservation is a flimsy excuse to keep the civil service employees on the Klamath payroll.
The per capita distribution to these Indians, numbering 1280, cannot possibly exceed $150 for the fiscal year 1933; and as stated above the Bureau is requesting a per capita tax of approximately $130. The majority of the people are children dependent upon the per capita payments for food, clothing and education--many are old, infirm people entirely dependent upon the per capita payments for the casual necessities of life. The industrial condition, for which the Bureau is largely responsible, has created this. situation. Surely the humane relation of the government of the United States to the Indians, together with the economic and industrial conditions obtaining, will be considered during these grave times.
We respectfully request that the opinion of Mr. Levi Walker, purporting to be the opinion of the Klamath Indians, be not considered. Admittedly, in the House hearings, 1933, he is not familiar with the conditions on our reservation.
We beg of you to give this matter your most earnest and careful consideration and to lend your support to a reduction in the appropriation for Klamath equal in amount to the grave situation there obtaining. The trust funds of the Klamath Indians in the Treasury of the United States are liquidated capital assets and not income; and an appropriation of $167,000 from a capital of $398,967--part of which is to be expended for salaries and wages of scalers and rangers in a forest where no lumber activities are being conducted--is the height of injustice and extravagance."
When an appropriation is made by Congress for the Klamath Indians, that amount is taken from the tribal funds. Klamath pays for what she gets. The amount left is what they have to live upon. In 1933 that amount will be $50 apiece while the appropriation goes to maintain clerks, rangers, scalers, forestry employees in idleness on a salary that allows them to look down upon the Indian. The parasite despises its host.
I have purposely dwelt on Klamath. Because the Klamath Indians have had a few dollars the graft has smelled to heaven and we have the hearings of the Senate subcommittee as a record of this graft. The same conditions exist at Warm Springs.
Robert Smith, a Warm Springs Indian, told the Senate committee: "There were 52 Indians turned into citizenship as taxpayers. But I tell you gentlemen, these clothes you see are all that I have. I have no clothes and I am not fit for a citizen. On the other hand, I was reading in the papers at one time that the government said whenever any half-breed or Indian got turned into citizenship he got his full right to the reservation. Then I leave it to you. I thought I would tell you this so that you would have it on your hands. Our Indians at Warm Springs are good workers and are willing to work and help themselves.
"Well, we asked Mr. Mortsolf to help us out with farm implements and harness and so on, so that the boys could go ahead and work. Now I thought I would leave this in your hands. We would like to have help in farm implements and things like that. That is all."
The Indians at Warm Springs are struggling for existence. They want to do for themselves. They wish to raise cattle. An effort has been made to force them to raise sheep. They like cattle and succeed with them. They do not like sheep--are not sheep men--they fail and are an easy victim to cheat and prey upon.
Klamath is asking for property rights, a voice in the government, legal standing. Can you women of the Daughters of the American Revolution turn an ear to the past and hear the same complaints and requests of your forefathers to Mother England that Klamath is demanding now of the U.S. Congress? We fought for our rights. The Oregon Indian is fighting to the best of his ability. He can do nothing until the people of Oregon--the people of the nation--demand a complete revolution in the management of Indian affairs. We have had hopes that the two Indian commissioners under the Secretary of the Interior would bring about a new order. Commissioner Scattergood's testimony before the Senate's subcommittee leads me to believe that no improvement for the better has been made. When superintendents and employees are found inefficient and incompetent on a reservation, are they dismissed? No. They are transferred to another reservation where the vicious circle goes on.
What is to be done?
Edward M. Stanton, President Lincoln's Secretary of War, in answer to a bishop and a band of Sioux who had come to ask a hearing, said:
"If he has come here to tell us of the corruption of our Indian system, the dishonesty of Indian agents, tell him that we know it. But the government never reforms an evil until the people demand it. Tell him that when he reaches the heart of the American people, the Indian will be saved."
There you have your answer. When you and I become enough concerned about the present day conditions of our Oregon Indians that we rise up in righteous indignation and demand of our congressmen that they wipe out this obsolete method of caring for our Indians, then our Indians will become citizens that we, as Daughters of the American Revolution may well be proud.
1--Hearings before the Committee on Indian Affairs, U.S. Senate, 71st Congress, 3rd session on H.R. 15498
2--Hearings before a subcommittee of the Committee on Indian Affairs, U.S. Senate, 70th Congress; 2nd session, S. Res. 79.
3--Hearings before a subcommittee on Indian affairs, U.S. Senate, 71st Congress, 3rd session, S. Res. 79; S. Res. 308; S. Res. 23.
4--Oregon Blue Book.
5--Hand Book on Chemawa.
Medford Mail Tribune, serialized June 13 through September 11, 1932
FORT YAMHILL OREGON: LOGS INTO LEGENDFort Yamhill, most important of four posts established during the spring and summer of 1856 as military supports to the Oregon Coast Indian Reservation, has during the past century acquired a patina of historical legend.1 So thickly have the fables obscured the facts that even the published location of the fort is consistently wrong. The origin of its one surviving structure, the identification of its garrison personnel, and the recital of its military annals are all encrusted by nostalgic recollections of pioneers, or the faulty enthusiasm of local historians.
Established on March 25, 1856 by Second Lieutenant William B. Hazen, commanding a detachment of Co. B, 4th Infantry, and named in September by Captain Andrew Jackson Smith ("the post is on the south fork of Yamhill River"), Fort Yamhill was in Polk County. A plan of the fort transmitted to the Assistant Adjutant General in Benicia, California, December 5, 1856, and the only census which enumerated the garrison, 1860, support this view.
A letter written by Captain Smith furnishes other evidence. "The Post is located," he explained in 1856, "just within the Ind. Reservation on the road from the settlements at the only point of ingress & egress on this portion of the reservation for teams & horsemen." The route of this road from the Grand Ronde Agency to Willamina has changed. It is now State Highway 22 through the gorge of Cosper Creek to the Yamhill River. When Fort Yamhill flourished, the road crossed the range of hills between the Grand Ronde and the Yamhill Valley one-half mile northeast of Valley Junction. General Oliver O. Howard traveled the road in 1876 from Willamina to the Agency. His "strong, high, two-seated wagon" reached the site of Fort Yamhill "by a mile of ascent at the close of a long and hard road," as he described his journey in the Chicago Advance. The map of the Grand Ronde Agency in the 1879 Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs shows this old route. Remnants of it are preserved in the Spirit Mountain quadrangle map of 1941.
The old route of the road logically establishes the site of Fort Yamhill. A place marker on Highway 22 was intended to achieve the same result for the benefit of modern traffic. Nothing is left of this effort by the Yamhill Chapter, D.A.R. except "Kissin' Rock," a local name attached to a seven-ton boulder half a mile north of Valley Junction. The monument once bore a bronze tablet with the inscription: "Fort Yamhill and the home of General Phil Sheridan from 1855 to 1861, 300 yards east. Erected by Yamhill Chapter, D.A.R., McMinnville, October 20, 1926." The disappearance of the tablet may be a blessing in disguise. Philip H. Sheridan did not arrive at Fort Yamhill before April 25, 1856.
The old Fort Yamhill road enters Highway 22 twelve hundred yards north of Valley Junction. Two hundred yards east-southeast on this dry-weather road two houses and several farm buildings occupy the approximate area where the sutler's store stood. The "gentle western slope" which the fort commanded has not changed. The old road, roughly the northern boundary of the camp, is a cow path over the ridge of hills. The highest point offers a magnificent view into "a small, somewhat circular valley, called the Grand Ronde,"2 and into the Yamhill Valley toward Willamina and Sheridan. Philip Sheridan might have stood here when he went "out early in the morning to a commanding point above the post," from which he "could see a long distance down the road as it ran through the valley of the Yamhill."3
The plan of 1856 makes possible the present identification of the various building sites. Placed in a dominant position, the officers' quarters occupied the most desirable location, far from the noise of the blacksmith shop, the smell of the stables, or the annoyance of the barracks. Hospital, guardhouse, laundress' quarters, bakery, and granary were scattered over an area of about thirteen hundred feet square. Three hundred and fifty feet below the officers' quarters the barracks of the men stood appropriately on the edge of the parade ground. This area is now a grain field. The rim above the grain field is still "thickly timbered." Maple, wild cherry, alder and white oak are "to be found at a few points."4
Eyewitness accounts of Fort Yamhill are inadequate. Perhaps the best description combines imagination with reality. It is part of a saccharine love tale of the 'nineties by Samuel L. Simpson, and testifies to the "antebellum gaiety and folly"5 that pervaded the fort. The son of sutler Benjamin Simpson, Sam clerked in his father's store at the post. "The fort," Sam recalled, "occupied the sloping top of a great hill which, standing at the gateway of the Grand Ronde Valley, was naturally adapted for military occupation. The crest of the hill made a semicircular sweep in the east and south, the ground falling away abruptly from its clearcut rim to the winding course of the Yamhill River, far below. On the east, too, a phalanx of firs, scaling the rugged heights, waved their green plumes over the row of neat white cottages occupied by the officers, and threw their morning shadows across the smooth plateau of the parade ground. The other buildings of the post, soldiers' quarters, mess room, hospital, commissary, guardroom, etc., occupied the remaining sides of the quadrangle, all marvelously white in their constantly refreshed coats of whitewash. On the western side of the quadrangle, with fine oaks flanking it on the north, stood the regulation blockhouse, strong, dark, menacing. A stately flagstaff, supported by two gleaming field pieces, stood in the center of the parade ground."
Simpson's "regulation blockhouse," now an ornament in the Dayton city park, is the only survivor of the buildings that comprised Fort Yamhill. Barnacled with legend, it possesses all the requisites of a historic relic. Its structure is unusual among the blockhouses of the Pacific Coast. "The upper block is of the same size as the lower, but turned on a true diagonal," Jamieson Parker of the historic buildings survey explained, "with small hipped roofs on three corners of the lower part and the entrance platform ... on the fourth."6
"Little Phil" Sheridan once received exclusive credit for construction of the blockhouse. He lost ground subsequently to pioneers and settlers who supposedly built "Fort Hill" as protection against the Tillamook Indians in the winter of 1855. Both versions of the story are suggestive, but not persuasive.
There is no evidence to support the old view; Sheridan himself never claimed any credit for a blockhouse at Grand Ronde. There is no evidence to support the new view; settlers built blockhouses in 1855, but hardly at Grand Ronde. The Agency employees at Grand Ronde in 1855-56 do not refer to a blockhouse in their reports, and the settlers of Yamhill County mentioned no blockhouse when they protested against the location of Indians at Grand Ronde. When the government property at Fort Yamhill was auctioned, the blockhouse was sold with it. Thrifty settlers would have recalled that once it might have belonged to them.
Lieutenant Hazen and his detachment probably erected the structure. "I shall proceed at once to built [sic] a blockhouse," he informed the Adjutant General in Washington on March 31, 1856, six days after establishing camp at Grand Ronde, "as cases are now of frequent occasion showing the treachery of the Indian character and the necessity of such works of defense." Hazen had observed the advantages of blockhouses at Star Gulch on Applegate Creek in Southern Oregon when a mountain howitzer failed to subdue "three heavy log houses" defended by Indians.
The accounts of Fort Yamhill in the recollections of Sheridan and Rodney Glisan ignore the blockhouse. Had its origins been unusual the officers would have commented on the fact. Even Sam Simpson with his vested interest in the pioneer saw no historic relic in the blockhouse. A place name, Fort Hill Junction, remains on the map less than a mile east of Valley Junction, but it seems to direct the traveler to the hill leading to Fort Yamhill rather than to the site of a "Fort Hill" blockhouse.
For ten years the dark, hand-hewn logs of the bulwark presented a striking contrast to the whitewashed cottages of the army post. At noon, August 20, 1866, seven weeks after the last man of Captain Charles LaFollett's company of First Oregon Infantry had left Fort Yamhill, Gilbert Litchfield, the last post sutler, auctioned the government property, netting $1,260 in greenbacks. He personally "bid in the old blockhouse, paying $2.50 for it."7 A few years later he "passed the
building on" to the Indian agency at Grand Ronde. The blockhouse was taken apart, transported in pieces to the Agency, and assembled there. It was first used as a jail for unruly Indians, and later as a storage house. It was occasionally mentioned in the reports of the agent. Carpenters replaced rotten logs, and over the years this propugnaculum acquired its patina.
In December 1910 the Secretary of the Interior disposed of the property to the city of Dayton, whose nostalgic interest in it was supported by the influence of Senator George E. Chamberlain. Once the residual was awarded to Dayton, the townsfolk of Willamina and Sheridan and the Indians at Grand Ronde became concerned about the "treasure." They were too late. A procession of teamsters carried the dismantled relic into Dayton on June 9, 1911, unmolested even by that portion of Sheridan's citizens who a few weeks earlier was determined to prevent the disgrace.8
The mythology of the Fort Yamhill garrison is dominated by Philip Sheridan. His brilliant military career serves as the impulse to connect the post almost exclusively with his name. Ellen J. Chamberlin, who as a young girl lived near the fort, had a "picture in her mind" fifty years later, a picture delineated for the McMinnville Telephone Register June 12, 1914. She remembered Sheridan riding from Yamhill to the Civil War at the head of a column of soldiers: "flags were flying, drums beating, bands playing." Sheridan's Memoirs (1888), hardly diffident, tell another story, though his Coast Range reminiscences sound modest when compared with Joseph Faulkner's Life of Philip Henry Sheridan (1888). This eulogy suggests that while in Oregon Sheridan fitted himself for later cavalry raids by "living on grasshoppers for days together," a species of training unique in military annals.
Sheridan is the most illustrious of a group of "shavetails" who through their service at the Polk County post nurtured the gestation of the Yamhill County slogan, "Where all great men get their start." As Jacob Calvin Cooper in his Military History [of] Yamhill County (1899) boasted, "The saying that Yamhill County is the place 'where all great men get their start' is of more than ordinary significance. Gens. Phil H. Sheridan, David A. Russell, A. J. Smith, Fighting Joe Hooker, Wm. B. Hazen, Joe Wheeler ... make it very plain that the fighting fame of the heroes of the county also justifies the common saying, 'Yamhill against the world.'"
Cooper's list of heroes includes a pair who never served at Fort Yamhill, the two "Fighting Joes," Hooker and Wheeler. Hooker resigned his commission on February 21, 1853, and did not return to the army until May 17, 1861. Joseph Hooker was superintendent of military roads in Oregon from 1858 to 1859, but Joseph Wheeler certainly never saw Fort Yamhill. He is evidently a replacement in the Yamhill pantheon for Lt. James Wheeler, Co. C, First Dragoons, who served from August 1856 to June 1857, the last three months as Yamhill post adjutant. He is not heroic material, having been cashiered May 20, 1862.
The military annals of Fort Yamhill's heroes, based on official records, are largely a recital of familiar soldiers' gripes, drills, and an occasional chase after truant Indians. During the Civil War the post was garrisoned by California volunteers. Among them was Corporal Royal A. Bensell, whose diary, now in the University of Oregon library, provides a contemporary account unembellished by hindsight or nostalgia. Edited and annotated, the diary is to be published by the University of Oregon Press.
... GUNTER BARTH
1. The legend has been embraced most recently in Howard M. Corning's Dictionary of Oregon History (Portland, Ore., 1956). The present article is based on official records, including the Fort Yamhill Letter Book, 1856-1865 (University of Oregon Library), and correspondence in the National Archives. The other three forts were Hoskins, Umpqua, and Siletz Blockhouse.
2. Rodney Glisan, Journal of Army Life (San Francisco, 1874), 371.
3. Philip H. Sheridan, Personal Memoirs (New York, 1888), I, 123.
4. Glisan, Journal of Army Life, 371.
5. Samuel L. Simpson, "Maya, the Medicine Girl," Pacific Monthly, II, 248-252, III, 14-18, 63-64.
6. Jamieson Parker, "Historic American Buildings Survey," Oregon Historical Quarterly, 1, 38.
7. Oregon Statesman (Salem), Aug. 13, 27, 1866. Oregon Journal (Portland), Aug. 22, 1922.
8. For the inception of the blockhouse legend, see the Oregonian (Portland), Feb. 5, May 26, 1911, and Aug. 29, 1915, and John G. Lewis, History of the Grand Ronde Military Blockhouse (Dayton, Ore., 1911).