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LCC Library

Western Oregon Indian Biographies

A selection of biographies on prominent Western Oregon Native American personalities from the past and present. For Janne Underriner's Lane class on the language Chinook Wawa. This guide was written by former LCC librarian Don Macnaughtan. This guide is

Biographies

Chinuk Wawa

Chinuk Wawa Dictionary Project. Chinuk Wawa: Kakwa Nsayka Ulman-tilixam Laska Munk-kemteks Nsayka = As Our Elders Teach Us to Speak It. 2012. Print.

Grand Ronde

Olson, June L. Living in the Great Circle: The Grand Ronde Indian Reservation, 1855-1905. Clackamas: A. Menard, 2011. Print.

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

General Histories

Beckham, Stephen Dow. The Indians of Western Oregon: This Land Was Theirs. Coos Bay: Arago Books, 1977.  Print.

Beckham, Stephen Dow. Requiem for a People: The Rogue Indians and the Frontiersmen. Norman: U of Oklahoma Press, 1971.  Print.

Beckham, Stephen Dow.Oregon Indians: Voices from Two Centuries. Corvallis: Oregon State UP, 2006. Print.

Bonnell, Sonciray. Chemawa Indian Boarding School: The First One Hundred Years, 1880 to 1980. Hanover: Dartmouth College, 1997. Print.

Boyd, Robert T. Chinookan Peoples of the Lower Columbia. Seattle: U of Washington Press, 2013. 307-326. Print.

Boyd, Robert T. The Coming of the Spirit of Pestilence: Introduced Infectious Diseases and Population Decline among Northwest Coast Indians, 1774-1874. Seattle: U of Washington, 1999. Print.

Douthit, Nathan. Uncertain Encounters: Indians and Whites at Peace and War in Southern Oregon, 1820s 1860s. Corvallis: Oregon State UP, 2002. Print.

The First Oregonians: An Illustrated Collection of Essays on Traditional Lifeways, Federal-Indian Relations, and the State's Native Peoples Today. Ed. Carolyn M. Buan and Richard Lewis. Portland: Oregon Council for the Humanities, 1991. Print.

Hajda, Yvonne. "The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon." The First Oregonians: An Illustrated Collection of Essays on Traditional Lifeways, Federal-Indian Relations, and the State's Native Peoples Today. Ed. Carolyn M. Buan and Richard Lewis. Portland: Oregon Council for the Humanities, 1991. 95-100. Print.

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

Hannon, Nan, and Richard K. Olmo, ed. Living with the Land: The Indians of Southwest Oregon: The Proceedings of the 1989 Symposium on the Prehistory of Southwest Oregon. Medford: Southern Oregon Historical Soc., 1990. 149-151.  Print.

Juntunen, Judy Rycraft. The World of the Kalapuya: A Native People of Western Oregon. Philomath: Benton County Historical Society and Museum, 2005. Print.

Kent, William E. The Siletz Indian Reservation, 1855-1900. Newport: Lincoln County Historical Soc., 1977. Print.

Mackey, Harold. The Kalapuyans: A Sourcebook on the Indians of the Willamette Valley. Salem: Mission Mill Museum Assn., 1974.

Nelson, Kurt R. Treaties and Treachery: The Northwest Indians' Resistance to Conquest. Caldwell: Caxton, 2011. Print.

O'Donnell, Terence. An Arrow in the Earth: General Joel Palmer and the Indians of Oregon. Portland: Oregon Historical Society, 1992. Print.

Olson, Tracy. "Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde." Native America in the Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia. Ed. Mary B. Davis. New York: Garland, 1994. 135-137.

Ramsey, Jarold. Coyote Was Going There: Indian Literature of the Oregon Country. 1st ed. Seattle: U of Washington, 1980. Print.

Rubin, Rick. Naked Against the Rain: The People of the Lower Columbia River, 1770-1830. Portland: Far Shore Press, 1999.  Print.

Ruby, Robert H. The Chinook Indians: Traders of the Lower Columbia River. Norman: U of Oklahoma Press, 1976.  Print.

Ruby, Robert H. Indians of the Pacific Northwest: A History. Norman: U of Oklahoma Press, 1981.  Print.

Ruby, Robert H., and John A. Brown.  A Guide to the Indian Tribes of the Pacific NorthwestNorman: U of Oklahoma Press, 1992.  Print.

Schwartz, E. A. The Rogue River Indian War and Its Aftermath, 1850-1980. Norman: U of Oklahoma Press, 1997. Print.

Seaburg, William R. Badger and Coyote Were Neighbors: Melville Jacobs on Northwest Indian Myths and Tales. Corvallis: Oregon State UP, 2000. Print.

Taylor, Herbert C. Anthropological Investigation of the Tillamook Indians. New York: Garland Pub., 1974. Print.

Van Laere, M. Susan. 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.

Whaley, Gray H. Oregon and the Collapse of Illahee: U.S. Empire and the Transformation of an Indigenous World, 1792-1859. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina, 2010. Print.

Wilkinson, Charles F. The People Are Dancing Again: The History of the Siletz Tribe of Western Oregon. Seattle: U of Washington, 2010. Print.

Zucker, Jeff, et al. Oregon Indians: Culture, History and Current Affairs: An Atlas and Introduction. Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press, 1983.  Print.

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