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Kalapuya: Native Americans of the Willamette Valley, Oregon

This guide was written by former LCC librarian Don Macnaughtan. This guide is no longer being updated.

Biographies of Western Oregon Indian People

Alquema (Jo Hutchins) (Santiam Kalapuya)

Lewis, David. "Short Biographies of a Few of the Most Important Chiefs of Western Oregon." David G. Lewis' Ethnohistory Research. Web.

Kathryn Harrison (Grand Ronde)

"Kathryn Harrison (1924- )." The Oregon Encyclopedia. Web.

Olson, Kristine. Standing Tall: The Lifeway of Kathryn Jones Harrison, Chair of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde CommunityPortland: Oregon Historical Society, 2005. Print.

Victoria Howard (Clackamas Chinook)

Senier, SarahVoices of American Indian Assimilation and Resistance: Helen Hunt Jackson, Sarah Winnemucca, and Victoria Howard. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2001. Print.

Daloose Jackson, Lottie Evanoff, and Bill Brainard (Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siulsaw)

Beck, David. Seeking Recognition: The Termination and Restoration of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians, 1855-1984. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2009. Print.

Coquelle Thompson (Upper Coquille Athapaskan)

Thompson, Coquelle. Pitch Woman and Other Stories: The Oral Traditions of Coquelle Thompson, Upper Coquille Athabaskan Indian. Lincoln: U of Nebraska, 2007. Print.

Youst, LionelCoquelle Thompson, Athabaskan Witness: A Cultural Biography. Norman: U of Oklahoma, 2002. Print.

Coquelle Thompson (1849-1946) was an Upper Coquille Athapaskan Indian from along the Oregon coast. During his lifetime, he worked along as farmer, hunting/fishing guide, teamster, tribal policeman, and served as expert witness on Upper Coquille and reservation life and culture for anthropologists.

While captain of the tribal police, Thompson was assigned to investigate the Warm House Dance, the Siletz Indian Reservation version of the famous Ghost Dance. Thompson became a proselytizer for the Warm House Dance, helping to carry its message and performance from Siletz along the Oregon coast to as far south as Coos Bay.

Thompson lived through the conclusion of the Rogue River Indian War of 1855-56 and his tribe’s subsequent removal from southern Oregon to the Siletz Reservation. During his lifetime, the Siletz Reservation went from one million acres to seventy-seven individual allotments and four sections of tribal timber.

Annie Miner Peterson (Coos)

Peterson, Annie Miner. "A Coos Indian Woman Looks at Life." Many Faces: An Anthology of Oregon Autobiography. Ed. Stephen Dow Beckham. Corvallis: Oregon State U, 1993. 152-159.

Youst, Lionel. She's Tricky like Coyote: Annie Miner Peterson, an Oregon Coast Indian Woman. Norman: U of Oklahoma, 1997. Print.

She’s Tricky Like Coyote is the story of Annie Miner Peterson, who was born in an Indian village on a tidal slough along the southern Oregon Coast in 1860. Annie lived a full and fascinating seventy-nine years. In the 1930s, she dictated her story, in Miluk Coos, to anthropologist Melville Jacobs, who translated the account into English. Although only a few pages long, the autobiography reveals a bright, outspoken, and independent woman who was raised as a traditional Indian and married five Indian men but whose adult life was spent in the white world. Supplementing the account with anthropologists’ field notes, interviews with relatives, and other primary and secondary works, Lionel Youst here provides the first full-length biography of an American Indian linguistic or ethnologic informant from the northwestern states.

Chief John (Applegate Athapaskan)

Van Laere, M. Susan. "Tyee John, the Shasta leader." Fine Words & Promises: A History of Indian Policy and Its Impact on the Coast Reservation Tribes of Oregon in the Last Half of the Nineteenth Century. Philomath: Serendip Historical Research, 2010. 39-52. Print.

Tecumtum (“Elk Killer”), also known as Chief John, was chief of the Etch-ka-taw-wah, a band of Indians who lived along the Applegate River in southwestern Oregon. Tecumtum’s band was the last group of Rogue River Indians to surrender to United States forces during the Rogue River War of 1855-1856.

The discovery of gold in southwestern Oregon in the early 1850s and the subsequent rush of newcomers to the region exacerbated the already conflict-ridden relationship between whites and Indians in the Rogue River Valley. In the fall of 1855, one of Tecumtum’s sons and another member of his band were lynched by a mob of whites in Eureka, California. Not long after, a company of volunteers from Jacksonville attacked a peaceful Indian village just outside the Table Rock Reservation, massacring dozens of men, women, and children.

In response to these events, Tecumtum gathered his people and fled to the mountains, where he fought the invading whites for over a year. One government official noted that Tecumtum wanted to live peacefully with the whites, but “that he would rather die fighting for his rights than to…have his people killed for nothing when ever it suited the caprice of some men to do so.”

Tecumtum surrendered in the summer of 1856 when it became clear that victory over the whites was impossible. He and more than two hundred of his people were forced to abandon their ancestral lands, walking 125 miles north to their new home on the Coast Reservation, which later became the Siletz Reservation.

Two years later, both Tecumtum and his son Adam were imprisoned in San Francisco for allegedly plotting an uprising. In 1861, they returned to Oregon’s Grand Ronde Reservation. Tecumtum died of old age on June 6, 1864, at Ft. Yamhill, Oregon.

Concomly (Clatsop Chinook)

"Concomly (1765?-1830?)." The Oregon Encyclopedia. Web.

Indian Lize (Kalapuya)

Carey, Margaret S. "Indian Lize: Last of the Calapooias." Daughters of the Land: An Anthology. Ed. Margaret E. Felt. Bend: Maverick, 1988.

"Eliza 'Indian Lize' Young." Findagrave. Web.

John Adams (Tillamook)

Adams, John. "Awful Hard Time When I'm Baby." Many Faces: An Anthology of Oregon Autobiography. Ed. Stephen Dow Beckham. Corvallis: Oregon State U, 1993. 133-137. Print.

Chief Halo and Sam Fearn (Yoncalla)

Courtesy Oreg. Hist. Soc. Research Library, 022580

Baker, Dean. The Last Yoncalla: The Legend of Sam Fearn. Eugene: Blind John Publications, 1981. Print.

"Chief Halo (Halito) (?-1892)." The Oregon Encyclopedia. Web.

Wasson Family (Coquille)

Hall, Roberta L. The Coquille Indians: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Lake Oswego: Smith, Smith and Smith Pub., 1984. Print.

Ranald MacDonald (Chinook)

Macdonald, Ranald. Ranald Macdonald: The Narrative of His Life, 1824-1894. Ed. William S. Lewis and Naojiro Murakami. Portland: Oregon Historical Soc., 1990.  Print.

Henry Yelkes (Molala)

Lewis, David. "Short Biographies of a Few of the Most Important Chiefs of Western Oregon." David G. Lewis' Ethnohistory Research. Web.