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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1865
([1865])

Oregon superintendency,   pp. 101-109 PDF (3.8 MB)


Page 106

106 
OREGON SUPERINTENDENCY. 
under the provision of the act of Congress approved March 3, 1863, I have
the honor to submit the following report : 
The Coast reservation was selected by late Superintendent Joel Palmer in
1855, at a time when the western slope of the Coast mountains had been but
partially explored, and was supposed to be nearly or quite worthless. The
only valleys suitable for human habitation then known to exist were needed
for the occupancy of the Indians, and those best informed believed that the
rugged nature of the Coast range of mountains would forever debar the pop-
ulation of the Willamette valleys from using the harbors which were found
at the estuaries of the Sinselaw, Alsea, Tillamook, and Yaquina rivers. Un-
der this belief it was quite natural that little regard should be paid to
econ- 
omy in appropriating territory which was considered so valueless, and con-
sequently the Coast reservation was made very large, extending north and
south about one hundred miles, and averaging in breadth about twenty. 
After the removal of Indians to this tract was commenced,it was found that
the 
expense and difficulty of transporting supplies across the Coast range was
so great that economy required a location for the interior tribes on the
east- 
ern slope of the range, and accordingly the rights of the settlers in a small
valley known as the Grande Ronde (upon the head of Yamhill river) were 
purchased, and that tract (townships five and six south, range seven and
eight west) was added to the already large reservation, and an important
agency located thereon. The total number of Indians upon this reservation
is by enumeration 4,164, distributed as follows, to wit: 1,322 at Grande
Ronde, 2,312 at Siletz, and 530 at Aisea. Those at Grande Ronde have no 
communication with the Yaquina bay, and will not be affected by anything
that may transpire there. 
The Siletz agency is about twenty-five miles from the ocean, seven miles
from the head of navigation, upon the north fork of Yaquina bay, and thirty
miles from the proposed town site, which is upon the south fork. It is loca-
ted in the southern edge of a valley upon the Siletz river, and is surrounded
by a district of very fertile land, sufficient, in my judgment, to support
a 
larger number of indians than are at all three of the agencies combined.
There are other valleys of less extent further north upon the kalmon, 
Arstucca, and other streams which put into the ocean, upon which there are
no settlements. The Alsea agency is upon the ocean, about thirty miles be-
low the Yaquina bay, and eight miles below the Alsea. Only two-thirds of
the Indians reported under the control of that agent are actually at the
agency. The remainder are at the mouth of the Sinselaw river, about thirty
miles further down the coast, where they have been permitted to remain, 
because they do not interfere with the whites, and subsist themselves by
fishing and a little agriculture. 
The foregoing statement, if read with a map of the reservation at hand, 
will enable you to understand the location of the Indians, and it is apparent
that a settlement of whites at the head of the south fork of Yaquina bay
would be in immediate contact with Indians on both sides. Experience has
always shown that such contact always results unfortunately to both whites
and Indians, and in my judgment it ought to be avoided. But at the same 
time I think such change can be made in the disposition of the Indians as
will enable the white settlements to take advantage of the facilities for
transportation which the harbor of Yaquina affords, and at the same time
escape the evils which joint occupancy of the same territory by whites and
Indians will surely entail. There are but 530 Indians located below (south
of) 
the bay referred to ; but those of Siletz have the privilege of visiting
it for 
fishing purposes. Fish are as abundant at the mouth of the Siletz river as
at Yaquina, and ample supplies for all the Indians can be there obtained.
Besides, the tribes are all advancing rapidly in agriculture, and as they
have 


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