The Grizzly Bear and the Deer : the history of Federal Indian Policy and its impact on the Coast Reservation tribes of Oregon, 1856-1877 Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/v692t979n

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  • The Coast Reservation of Oregon was established under Executive Order of President Franklin Pierce in November, 1855, as a homeland for the southern Oregon tribes. It was an immense, isolated wilderness, parts of which had burned earlier in the century. There were some prairies where farming was possible, but because the reservation system itself and farming, particularly along the coast, were unknown entities, life for the Indians was a misery for years. Those responsible for the establishment of the reservation were subject to the vagaries of the weather, the wilderness, the Congress, and the Office of Indian Affairs. Agents were accountable, not only for the lives of Oregon Indians, but also for all of the minute details involved in answering to a governmental agency. Some of the agents were experienced with the tribes of western Oregon; others were not. All of them believed that the only way to keep the Indians from dying out was to teach them the European American version of agriculturalism. Eventually, if possible, Oregon Indians would be assimilated into the dominant culture. Most agents held out little hope for the adults of the tribes. This thesis lays out the background for the development of United States Indian policies. European Americans' ethnocentric ideas about what constituted civilization became inextricably woven into those policies. Those policies were brought in their infant stage to Oregon. Thus, the work on the reservations was experimental, costing lives and destroying community. How those policies were implemented on the Coast Reservation from 1856-1877 concludes this study.
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