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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1857

Oregon and Washington superintendency,   pp. 315-387 PDF (30.5 MB)

Page 315

No. 134. 
Salem, Oregon, Sept. 1, 1857. 
SiR: In obedience to the regulations of the Indian department, I 
submit my first annual report. 
The accompanying reports of agents will exhibit detailed statements 
of the condition of Indian affairs within their respective agencies. 
Under the provisions of the act of Congress of March 3, 1857, uni- 
ting Washington and Oregon Territories in a single superintendency, 
I assumed the duties of the office in Oregon Territory on the first day 
of May last, and in accordance with instructions from late Commis- 
sioner Manypenny, bearing date March 18. After reporting upon 
the condition of Indian affairs in this Territory, I proceeded to Olym- 
pia, and on the 2d of June relieved Governor Stevens, and assumed 
the duties of the office in Washington Territory. 
The union of the two Territories has thrown an amount of business 
upon this office sufficient to occupy my entire attention, and utterly 
precludes the practicability of my giving any time to the personal 
supervision of the duties of agents by visiting them, or the tribes 
under their charge. The recent and general state of hostilities exist- 
ing in both Territories, and the necessary means adopted by my pre- 
decessors in each Territory for the restoration of peace has necessarily
and directly tended to complicate our relations with the Indians, and 
renders the duties of the superintendent more arduous and difficult 
than they had been at any time previous to the general outbreak. 
Previous to the hostilities of 1855, the few collisions with the In- 
dians had been with detached and isolated tribes or bands, without 
any attempt on their part to confederate their forces for the purpose 
of common hostilities. While some of those collisions have doubtless 
grown out of, and have to some extent been induced by, the vicious 
and reckless conduct of a few unscrupulous white men, for whose con- 
duct the mass of the community can in no way be held responsible, 
the facts and history of what has been characterized as "Iforays"
will, in nearly every instance, clearly demonstrate that the Indians 
have been the aggressors, and that the whites have acted on the de- 
fensive This is particularly true of the hostilities of 1855, which, in 
its details, gives abundant evidence of a well-matured and preconcerted 
plan of action, by the formation of an alliance of all the principal 
tribes inhabiting the country from California to the British possessions.
This outbreak was long predicted, and the whites in different sec- 
tions of the country were frequently admonished of their danger by 
friendly Indians. 
The first acts of hostility, in the murder of Bolen, Mattice, and 
others, in the Yakima country, was the signal for a general rising, in 
which the Indians, confident in strength of numbers and advantages 
in an intimate knowledge of the country, expected to vanquish and 
exterminate what they regarded as their natural enemies. 

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