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"At the hearth of the crossed races" : intercultural relations and social change in French Prairie, Oregon,.. 2004

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\ "AT THE HEARTH OF THE CROSSED RACES": INTERCULTURAL RELATIONS AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN FRENCH PRAIRIE, OREGON, 1812-1843 by MELINDA MARIE JETTE B.A., Catholic University of America, 1991 M.A., Universite Laval, 1996 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY We accept this thesis as conforming to the reauired stafftiard. THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA June 2004 © Melinda Marie Jette 11 A B S T R A C T This dissertation investigates two interrelated questions within the context of a local case study: What were the dynamics o f intercultural relations in Oregon's Willamette Val ley during the early colonial period (1812-1843); What does this history reveal about social change in the Pacif ic Northwest during the same period? The French Prairie area of the Willamette Val ley is one of the oldest sites o f extensive, continuous contact between the indigenous Kalapuyans and Euro-Americans in western Oregon, eventually becoming a major locale for agrarian settlement. This study opens with an overview of pre-contact Kalapuyan lifeways and then reconstructs the early decades of Kalapuyan-fur trader encounters. Later sections examine the establishment of a bi-cultural French-Indian agrarian settlement, the arrival of Methodist and Catholic missionaries and small groups of American settlers, and inter-community debates about the creation o f a local provisional government. Owing to the social, polit ical, and demographic dominance of Anglo-American settlers fol lowing the great western migrations of the 1840s, a tenacious "founding mythology" became deeply ingrained in Pacific Northwest historiography. This mythology followed a common trope in rendering Anglo-Americans as the central actors in a progressive, triumphant settlement of Oregon. In this pioneer-centric narrative, Native groups, fur trade personnel, and their families are absent from the course of historical events, or they are portrayed as obstacles to Anglo-American settlement. The present study of French Prairie offers a more complex picture of intercultural relations and the dynamics o f social change in the Willamette Val ley prior to American re- settlement. A t differing periods, social relations in French Prairie were marked by tension, miscommunication, mutual self-interest, cooperation, and genuine compassion. Drawing on their experience in the fur trade, as well their connections with both aboriginal and Euro- American cultures, the French Prairie settlers tried to negotiate a middle course within the context of competing forces, especially at times when cross-cultural tensions were high. A s a result, the early colonial history o f Oregon was neither marked by irresolvable ethnic conflict nor unilateral Anglo-American dominance. Whi le the bi-cultural French-Indian families sought a middle course in their relations with all their various neighbors, their very presence also ultimately contributed to the Euro- American colonization of the Pacif ic Northwest. B y establishing the first farming and husbandry operations in the Willamette Val ley in the late 1820s, the French-Indian families initiated a process of social and ecological change that was accelerated following the overland migrations. This re-examination o f Oregon history through a local case study of French Prairie thus contributes to a revisionist interpretation of Pacif ic Northwest history. It also contributes to larger discussions of contact zones, demonstrating not only the early multi-ethnic character of the Pacif ic Northwest, but also the historic connections between the Brit ish North American fur trade, the French Canadian diaspora, and the Anglo-American colonization o f Oregon in the 1840s. Ill ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I am indebted to my research supervisor and departmental committee for their generous assistance over the past several years, though any errors or omissions are solely mine. From the beginning of my entry into the Ph.D program at UBC, Arthur J. Ray took a keen interest in my professional development, and he has provided unwavering support as well as constructive criticism that has allowed me to progress as a historian. Dianne Newell and Paul Krause have consistently offered incisive comments that have offered a welcome intellectual challenge throughout the process of developing the dissertation. Any research project ultimately benefits from the assistance and cooperation of a wide group of scholars and professionals. For this reason, I would like to acknowledge the ongoing assistance of several professors and colleagues, whose intellectual insights and moral support have been immeasurable: Cain Allen, Theodore Binnema, Joshua Binus, Robert Boyd, Joy Dixon, Robert Donnelly, Andrew Fisher, Steven Fountain, Anne Gorsuch, Alisa Harrison, H. Lloyd Keith, Gloria Lees, Susan Neylan, Theresa Schenck, Cara Unger, Henry Zenk, and the members of the History Department's Dissertation Work Group at the University of Washington. In conducting the research for this project, I was fortunate to make the acquaintance, either in person or via the internet, of several library and archival specialists who willingly lent their expertise to my numerous queries. During the more than six months that I spent in the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon Archives, former archivist Mary Grant-Doty graciously helped me search through the Francis N. Blanchet Collection. The staff members of the Oregon Historical Society Research Library and the H.H. Bancroft Library also guided my inquiries on mid-nineteenth century manuscripts. Marie Reidke of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives provided useful reference information. And finally, the staff members of the Multnomah County Library's Interlibrary Loan Department and the UBC Library's Extension Library division demonstrated a high standard of professionalism by providing access to numerous books, articles and microforms over the years. My family has supported my educational and career goals since I took the first step on a long and winding road when I left home to spend a year studying abroad in France after high school. For their encouragement in following that road, I thank my parents, Kenneth R. Jette and R. Eileen (Willett) Jette. I also thank my siblings and their spouses for providing unconditional financial, moral and logistical support throughout my ten years of graduate schooling: Katie Jette, Don Limbaugh, Hazen Jette, and Chieko Sone Jette. My niece, Summer Jette-Gray, has been a source of joy and inspiration for us all. I have also been blessed with a wonderful friendship in the person of my number one cheerleader, Martin Payne. Merci mille fois and God bless. This dissertation is dedicated to the memory of my little nephew, Charles Illahee Limbaugh, who passed away in March 2004. He is with the ancestors now. iv TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Acknowledgements iii Table of Contents iv List of Maps, Figures, and Tables v List of Abbreviations vi Introduction 1 Chapter One: 24 "The Country They Inhabited was Level and Wholy Destitute of Timber:" The Kalapuyans' World, 1700s to 1812 Chapter Two: 60 "Their Sole Employment is Digging Roots, Cammass, Waptoes:" Fur Trapper-Kalapuyan Encounters in the Willamette Valley, 1812-1822 Chapter Three: 110 "Nothing But Decisive Measures Will Ever Make Them Leave Their Favorite Country:" Agrarian Settlement and the Intermittent Fever, 1823-1833 Chapter Four: 158 "We Have Here Almost Every Religion But Our Own." The Methodist Mission and Community Initiatives, 1834-1837 Chapter Five: 200 "A Bad Feeling Has Been Excited Among the Americans:" Catholic Missionaries and Community Relations, 1838-1840 Chapter Six: 243 "The Canadians are Accustomed to Feel Inferior to No One:" A Heterogeneous Colonial Society, 1841-1843 Conclusion 288 Appendices: Appendix 1. Pacific Fur Trade Personnel in the Columbia Region, 1811-1814 298 Appendix 2. The First Astorian to the Willamette Valley 302 Appendix 3. NWC Personnel Data for the Columbia Region, 1814-1820 307 Appendix 4. individuals Admitted to the Methodist Mission, 1834-1838 308 Appendix 5. William Slacum's Census of Willamette Valley Settlers, 1837 310 Appendix 6. Elijah White's Census of Settlers in the Oregon Country, 1842 311 V Bibliography 319 LIST OF MAPS, FIGURES, TABLES, Maps Map 1. Physical Features of Oregon and Location of the Willamette Valley vii Map 2. Major Native American Groups in Oregon^ 1850 viii Map 3. Modern Rendering of Willamette Valley, 1834 71 Map 4. The Columbia Department of the NWC, 1821 101 Map 5. Willamette Valley, Looking North, as Seen by Nathaniel Wyeth, 1830s 140 Map 6. Spread of the "Intermittent Fever" (Malaria), 1830-1833 149 Map 7. French Prairie Section of the Willamette Valley, 1837 184 Map 8. Route of Frs. Blanchet and Demers to Oregon, 1838 207 Map 9. Overland Trails to Western Oregon, 1840s 252 Figures Figure 1. The Valley of the Willamette River 5 Tables Table 1. Table of Kalapuyan Group Divisions 32 Table 2. Abstract & Comparative Statement of Indian Trade and Trapper Hunts at 105 At Fort George Table 3. NWC Returns for Columbia Region, 1814-1821 105 Table 4. Willamette Freemen Settled in the Willamette Valley, 1830-1834 121 Table 5. French-Indian Settler Data for the Willamette Valley, 1830-1833 121 Table 6. French and Anglo Settlers in the Willamette Valley, 1842 254 vi LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AHR American Historical Review APOA Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon Archives BAN H. H. Bancroft Library BCHQ British Columbia Historical Quarterly CHR Canadian Historical Review CCPNW Catholic Church Records of the Pacific Northwest CRAS Canadian Review of American Studies HBC Hudson's Bay Company HBCA Hudson's Bay Company Archives MCH Marion County History MVHR Mississippi Valley Historical Review NWC North West Company OHQ Oregon Historical Quarterly PFC Pacific Fur Company PNQ Pacific Northwest Quarterly WaHQ Washington Historical Quarterly WHQ Western Historical Quarterly TOPA Transactions of the Oregon Pioneer Association   1 INTRODUCTION In the late summer of 1851, French traveler Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint Amant visited the Oregon territory, spending several weeks with French-Indian families living in a district of the Willamette Valley known as French Prairie.1 In the account of his travels published in 1854, Saint Amant painted a fanciful portrait of French Prairie as a pastoral backwater settlement. In one passage, he recorded that while "seated at the hearth of the crossed races," he had observed the "patriarchal" customs of the settlers that bespoke contentment with the present and an absence of concern about the future. Saint Amant also noted with a tinge of annoyance that the settlers rarely discussed the "rise and fall of empires," not even the violent revolutions that had erupted across Europe just a few years before.2 Given the class distinctions between the French-Indian families and Saint Amant— a former World Chess Champion and a foreign service envoy—the French traveler's own cultural background colored his perceptions of the settlers. Their concerns appeared local and immediate, common for a class of unlettered former fur trappers and their Indian wives. Indeed, Saint Amant's observations were not unusual for his day. Educated observers, who happened to mention French Canadian voyageurs in their writings, often portrayed them as 1 French Prairie, the original territory of the Ahantchuyuk Kalapuyans, was named after the French-Indian families that settled there. Located in the mid-Willamette Valley, it is bounded by the Willamette River to the north and west, the Pudding River to the east, and what remains of Lake Labish {Lac labiche) to the south. The five major towns of French Prairie were Butteville, Champoeg, St. Paul, St. Louis, and Gervais. The Champoeg town site, located on the river, was washed away in floods in 1861 and 1891 and is now a state park. The other towns remain to the present. 2 Saint Amant, M. [Pierre Charles Fournier de], Voyages en Californie et dans I'Oregon (Paris: Librairie L. Maison, 1854), 170. Saint Amant was one of the first to use a version of the term "French Prairie" in print, referring to the area as les prairies francaises. 2 simple, carefree, even childlike. This stereotype of the happy-go-lucky French Canadian fur trapper was then becoming a staple of early fur trade and pioneer chronicles.3 While such an image may indicate the education level of the French Canadian men retired from the fur trade, and the semi-isolated nature of life in a contact or "frontier" zone, it evokes a simplified vision of a complex history. Here I draw on Mary Louise Pratt's notion of a contact zone as a geographic space wherein previously unknown groups come into direct contact and develop a pattern of interaction. As several U.S. historians have argued, the use of the term "frontier" most often emphasized the Euro-American perspective on such interactions, whereas I employ "contact zone" in an attempt to explore the differing experiences of the various groups involved in the process of Euro-American colonization.4 The French-Indian families living in French Prairie, that Saint Amant portrays as blithely unaware of the larger historical events, were in reality the vanguard of international commercial interests that set out to exploit the Northwest Coast in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Far from being perfectly ignorant of the rise and fall of empire, the elderly French Canadian fur trappers whom Saint Amant interviewed literally carried American and British imperial interests in the fur trapping brigades they manned throughout the Pacific Northwest for ten, twenty, sometimes thirty years. And following their permanent move to the Willamette Valley, they were actively involved in local debates about the nature of civil governance and national authority in the region during the years preceding large- 3 Evidence of the influence of this stereotype is present in an early ethnography of the French Canadian voyageur, Grace Lee Nute's The Voyageur (New York: D. Appleton, 1931; rpt; St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1955). For a more recent study, see Carolyn Podruchny, '"Sons of the Wilderness:' Work, Culture, and Identity Among Voyageurs in the Montreal Fur Trade, 1780-1821," (Ph.D diss., University of Toronto, 1999). 4 Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (New York: Routledge, 1992), 6-7. Patricia Nelson Limerick offers a strong critique of the term "frontier," in Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West (New York: W.W. Norton, 1987), 17-32. Another useful volume is the collection of essays edited by Patricia Nelson Limerick, Clyde Milner, and Charles E. Rankin, Trails: Toward a New Western History (Lawrence: Kansas University Press, 1999). 3 scale American migration to Oregon. Indeed, the French Canadians' wives and children were the descendants of Native groups then coming under increasing pressure from Anglo- American westward expansion. Saint Amant's penchant for overlooking the role of the French Canadian trappers— and by extension their interethnic families and Native relations—in the sweep of larger historical events illustrates a common perception then emerging in the historical writing of the period. Nicolas Biddle, editor of the Lewis and Clark journals, Oregon boosters, and overland pioneers who began to record the Euro-American exploration and settlement of Oregon in the first half of the nineteenth century inaugurated a tenacious "founding mythology" of the Pacific Northwest, a historical interpretation later reproduced and modified in succeeding generations. Akin to Frederick Jackson Turner's frontier thesis first articulated in the 1890s, this "Oregon thesis" followed a common trope in American letters rendering Anglo-Americans as the central actors in a progressive, triumphant settlement of the western regions.5 The original "Oregon Country" was the vast region west of the Rocky Mountains that stretched from Russian Alaska to Spanish California. Following the international boundary treaty of 1846, the Oregon territory encompassed the entire Pacific Northwest (the present- day states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho). Even before Americans ventured to the region in larger numbers, there was an American "Oregon of the mind" shaped by the printed word. This mental geography was expansive enough to hold the dreams of a diverse citizenry, no 5 Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, The Lewis and Clark Expedition, eds. Nicholas Biddle and Paul Allen. (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1814); Hall Jackson Kelley, Hall J. Kelley on Oregon, ed. Fred Wilbur Powell (Princeton: Princeton University press, 1932); Gustavus Hines, Oregon: Its History, Conditions, and Prospects (Buffalo: Geo. Ft. Derby and Co., 1851); Frederick Jackson Turner, Rereading Frederick Jackson Turner: "The Significance of the Frontier in American History" and Other Essays. With Commentary by John Mack Faragher (New York: Henry Holt, 1994). For essays on Western history and popular culture, see Richard White and Patricia Nelson Limerick, The Frontier in American Culture, ed. James R. Grossman (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994). 4 matter how fanciful. As the nineteenth century progressed, American visions of Oregon came to encompass Edenic landscapes, republican virtues, true religion, economic prosperity, and individual liberty. As James Ronda has noted, Oregon was "one more part of an American tradition to include Oleanna, the Big Rock Candy Mountains, Paradise Valley, and the Peaceable Kingdom.6 This mental act of territorial possession was in keeping with the vision of President Thomas Jefferson, who dispatched Lewis and Clark on their expedition to the Far West in 1803. Jefferson believed that the United States must continue to expand westward in order to ensure the economic stability and social vitality of a republic built upon yeoman farmers. By cultivating new lands westward expansion offered "cultural salvation and imperial power" to the young nation.7 A few notable figures—Robert Gray, Lewis and Clark, John McLoughlin, Jason Lee, and Marcus Whitman—laid the foundation for this "inevitable" Anglo-American colonization and settlement of the Far West. The Oregon story was particularly heroic and celebratory in nature owing to the great hardships endured by American overlanders on their 2,000-mile trek from Missouri to Oregon beginning in the 1840s. Overland emigrants found their destination, Oregon's Willamette Valley, to be a land providentially depopulated of its Indian population due to disease. The newcomers thereupon set out to create a progressive, agricultural-based economy, and establish American law and governance. Within fifteen years most of the Native American groups in the region were relegated onto reservations, small portions of their once vast ancestral territories. In this pioneer-centric narrative, Native 6 James P. Ronda, "Calculating Ouragon," OHQ 94:2-3 (Summer-Fall 1993), 121. 7 Ronda, "Calculating." 124-125. See also William H. Goeztmann, When the Eagle Screamed: The Romantic Horizon in American Expansionism, 1800-1860, 2 n d ed. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999), 1-21; Frederick Merk, Manifest Destiny in American History (New York: Vintage Book, 1963), 3-23. 5 groups, fur trade personnel, and their families were either absent from the course of historical events or they played only minor supporting roles.8 Figure 1. Valley of the Willamette River Or Hi 49030, reprinted with permission from the Oregon Historical Society Research Library. This hand-colored lithograph printed is based on a watercolor and pencil sketch by Henry J. Warre. It was one of a series of included in Warre's Sketches in North American and the Oregon Territory (1848). The lithograph is actually an embellishment of Warre's sketch. In contrast to the Eastern or Plains Indians depicted here, the original featured two vaguely defined individuals who could either be Kalapuyans or fur trappers. ° For a representative view of this founding mythology, with an emphasis of Oregon's progressive, agricultural- based economy, see James R. Robertson, "The Social Evolution of Oregon," OHQ 3:1 (March 1902): 1-37. The Bancroft histories largely written by Francis Fuller Victor solidified this interpretation: Hubert H. Bancroft, History of the Northwest Coast., 2 vols, and History of Oregon, 2 vols (San Francisco: A.L. Bancroft & Co., 1884 & 1886). See also Keith D. Richards, "In Search of the Pacific Northwest: The Historiography of Oregon and Washington," PHR 50:4 (November 1981): 415-44; and Susan H. Armitage, "From the Inside Out: Rewriting Regional History," Frontiers 22:3 (2001): 32-47. David Peterson del Mar offers a particularly compelling critique of Oregon's founding mythology in the introduction to his new text, Oregon's Promise: An Interpretive History (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2003), 1-10. 6 This marginalization of Native groups, fur trade personnel and their families—a "silencing of the past" to employ the phrase of Michel-Rolph Trouillot—had several ramifications for Pacific Northwest historiography.9 First and foremost, analysis of the historical experiences of Indian peoples and fur trade laborers remained cursory into the latter decades of the twentieth century. In turn, knowledge about the relations between Natives and newcomers during the early colonial period also remained limited.10 Lacking a clear sense of the continuities and changes over the early colonial period, historians long overlooked the relationship between the British North American fur trade and the American settlement of the Pacific Northwest, thereby masking the colonizing process in the region.11 Indeed, a common practice consisted of portraying Native peoples and fur trade personnel as obstacles to Anglo-American settlement. Thus, when not fully absent from the historical texts, these groups were depicted as maintaining an inherently conflictual relationship with the incoming American settlers. A classic case in point is the standard interpretation of the development of a provisional government in Oregon. Pioneer chronicles and historians alike viewed the French Canadians' opposition to a provisional government in the early 1840s in highly nationalistic terms. They portrayed the French Canadians as spoilers intent on voicing their loyalty to the Hudson's Bay Company and the British cause in Oregon.12 9 Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (Boston: Beacon Press, 1995). 1 0 Leland Donald recently noted that "there is no comprehensive or systematic treatment of the history of contact between the indigenous inhabitants of the Northwest Coast culture area and European" owing to the Euro-American political boundaries which have influenced scholarly research and to the lack of research on all the cultural groups and the sub-regions needed for such a comprehensive study. Donald Leland, Aboriginal Slavery on the Northwest Coast of North America (Berkeley: University of Berkeley Press, 1997), 215. 1 1 Kent D. Richards noted that in the 1950s, Norman Graebner was unable to "convince historians that merchant interests had much to do with bringing settlement to the Oregon Country." Richard, 249. See Norman Graebner, Empire on the Pacific: A Study in American Continental Expansion (New York: The Ronald Press, 1955). 1 2 The most well known statement underlining the strong ethnic, religious, and nationalistic attitudes of many American settlers with regard to the French Canadians, Catholic missionaries, and the HBC is William H. Gray's A History of Oregon, 1792-1849 (Portland: Harris & Holman, 1870). The most recent articulation of the 7 The notion of former French Canadian fiir trappers opposing American-led efforts for a provisional government out of loyalty to the territorial and mercantile interests of Great Britain and the Hudson's Bay Company would be comical if this interpretation were not so ingrained in Oregon's founding mythology. Chad Reimer has observed that nationalist perspectives and racial ideologies played a central role in shaping the early historiography of the Pacific Northwest. During the 1830s and 1840s, Americans producing historical texts in support of the U.S. territorial claims in the Oregon Country attacked the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), portraying it as a tainted organization because of its monopolistic trade policies, its position as a representative of the anti-democratic British establishment, and its tolerance of sexual relations between company employees and Native women. Ignorant of the company's sometimes troubled relations with French Canadian laborers, aboriginal peoples, and Metis groups in Rupert's Land (the present-day Canadian Prairies), the American chroniclers conceived of a close, conspiratorial relationship between the HBC and Indians and French Canadians in the Pacific Northwest. Thus, the long-standing interpretation of French Canadian settlers in the Willamette Valley as representatives of the HBC and the British Crown flowed not only from notions of Anglo-Saxon, Protestant religious and ethnic superiority, but also from contemporary American attitudes toward Britain and her representative in Oregon, the HBC. 1 3 Canadian historians have yet to mount a successful challenge to this founding mythology. Like their American counterparts, Canadian scholars tended to adopt a nationalist French Canadians' ostensible "loyalty" to the Hudson's Bay Company and Great Britain in Oregon can be found in Dorothy Nafus Morrison, Outpost: John McLoughlin and the Far Northwest (Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press, 1999). 1 3 Chad Rheimer, "Borders of the Past: The Oregon Boundary Dispute and the Beginnings of Northwest Historiography," in Parallel Destinies: Canadian-American Relations West of the Rockies, edited by John M . Findlay and Ken S. Coates (Seattle and Montreal: University of Washington Press and McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002), 221-233. 8 perspective with regard to the history of the Northwest Coast prior to the Oregon Treaty of 1846. They have studied the region south of the forty-ninth parallel largely as it relates to broader questions of British imperialism and Canadian national development. The lower portion of the Oregon Country enters Canadian history insofar as it is a region for fur trade and mercantile interests before the boundary settlement of 1846. Thus, both the American and Canadian historiographical traditions have tended to represent the Northwest Coast in terms of larger national trends, rather than as a region with a distinctive historical trajectory that jointly affected the histories of the United States and Canadian. This disconnection from the shared Canadian-American history of the Northwest Coast is evident in older histories such as Arthur S. Morton's A History of the Canadian West to 1870-71, Margaret A. Ormsby's British Columbia: A History, and E.E. Rich's The Fur Trade in the Northwest to 185 7.14 Although Western Canadian history has seen a growth in sophistication parallel to that of American Western history, recent histories have largely replicated the tendency to view the Canadian West through the geographic lens of current political boundaries.15 James Gibson's ode to the Oregon Country, Farming the Frontier, reinforces this division by laying the loss of the southern region at the feet of the Hudson's Bay Company.16 A handful of scholars working on specialized topics have underscored the needed for a broader view of the early colonial history of the Northwest Coast, notably 1 4 Arthur S. Morton, A History of the Canadian West to 1870-7, 2 n d ed. (Toronto: University of Saskatchewan and University of Toronto Press, 1973); Margaret Ormsby, British Columbia: A History (Toronto: Macmillan Canada, 1958); E.E. Rich, The Fur Trade and the Northwest to 1857 (Toronto: Macmillan and Stewart, 1967). 1 5 A recent bibliography on Western Canada by Catherine Cavanaugh and Jeremy Mouat illustrates this point. See their edited collection, Making Western Canada: Essays on European Colonization Settlement (Toronto: Garamond Press, 1996), 267-282), 267-282. Cavanaugh and Mouat also note the tendency to view British Columbia and the prairies as distinctive regions. The collection edited by Howard Palmer, The Settlement of the West (Calgary: Comprint Publishing/University of Calgary, 1977), suggests Canadian "settlement of the West" was north of the forty-ninth parallel. See also Jean Barman, The West Beyond the West: A History of British Columbia, Rev. ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998). 1 6 James Gibson, Farming the Frontier: The Agricultural Opening of the Oregon Country, 1786-1846 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1985). 9 Donald Leland's treatment of aboriginal slavery, and Richard S. Mackie's study of the overland fur trade.17 One additional, often overlooked volume, British Columbia and the United States: The North Pacific Slope from the Fur Trade to Aviation, by F.W. Howay, W.N. Sage, and H. F. Angus, presents a close reading of the regional history, demonstrating the longstanding historical links across the forty-ninth parallel. The dominance of Oregon's founding mythology endured into the latter decades of the twentieth century, its staying power resting on an ability to meet the needs of Anglo- Americans who had dominated the state and the Pacific Northwest—demographically, politically, and economically—since the 1850s. The heroic, celebratory and, ultimately, reassuring tone of this mythology answered the cultural needs of the majority ethnic group, while also providing ideological support for an economy based on the exploitation of the region's natural resources. In this sense, the Euro-American resettlement of the Pacific Northwest was inevitable and progressive, and this view held together into the 1970s until both historical events and emerging trends in scholarly research challenged the long-standing hegemony.19 On the more concrete level, Michel-Rolph Trouillot has noted that the "production of history" is a complex process involving four sub-processes—"the making of sources . . . the making of archives . . . the marking of narratives . . . and the making of history in the final instance"—all of which contain their own "particular bundle of silences." The scarcity of primary and secondary sources concerning the Kalapuyans is inextricably linked to the 1 7 Leland, Aboriginal Slavery; Richard Somerset Mackie, Trading Beyond the Mountains: The British Fur Trade on the Pacific, 1793-1843 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1997). ,1 8 F. W. Howay, W. N . Sage, and H.F. Angus, British Columbia and the United States: The North Pacific Slope from Fur Trade to Aviation (New York: Russell & Russell, 1942) 1 9 The standard text on Pacific Northwest history into the late 1980s was the aptly titled Empire of the Columbia: A History of the Pacific Northwest, by Dorothy O. Johansen and Charles M . Gates, 2 n d ed. (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1967). 2 0 Trouillot, 26-27. 10 epidemiological consequences of Euro-American expansion, and the exercise Anglo- American power in the nineteenth century. From the 1830s through the 1850s, the Kalapuyans experienced a catastrophic population decline due to the wide-ranging effects of infectious disease epidemics, loss of control over their natural resources, and displacement and dispossession resulting from large-scale American re-settlement. Of the estimated 9,200 Kalapuyans living in the Willamette Valley when Lewis and Clark visited the region in 1805- 1806, approximately only 400 to 500, the remnant populations of once larger groups, survived to sign treaties with the U.S. government in the 1850s. Most of these survivors and their descendants experienced re-tribalization on the Grand Ronde Reservation along with several other non-related groups from western Oregon. In 1877, the Grand Ronde Indian Agent's annual population count returned a total of 266 Kalapuyans on the reservation: 101 Northern Kalapuyans, 134 Central Kalapuyans, and perhaps 31 Southern Kalapuyans (Yoncalla).22 As a result, the indigenous sources related to the contact era Kalapuyans include a limited number of linguistic and ethnographic texts recorded by anthropologists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These sources are narrow in focus, because the small number of informants had a circumscribed knowledge of pre-reservation Kalapuyan life, and they represented the last speakers of the Kalapuyan languages. Other historical sources comprise occasional references to 2 1 For an overview of the Grand Ronde Reservation community and its history, see Henry Zenk, "Chinook Jargon and Native Cultural Persistence in the Grand Ronde Indian Community, 1856-1907," (Ph.D diss., University of Oregon, 1984). Zenk demonstrates that Chinook Jargon (also known as chinuk wawa) became the primary indigenous language on the reservation as other tribal languages gradually died out. 2 2 The Grand Ronde Indian Agent's 1877 count as cited in Zenk, "Chinook," 96. Zenk notes inconsistencies in the treaty and reservation records with regard to Kalapuyan ethnic groupings. Thus, the tally for the Yoncalla remains speculative. 2 3 Melville Jacobs published a bilingual edition of the ethnographic texts, see Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts. These include transcriptions of oral interviews conducted by Albert S. Gatschet (1877), Leo J. Frachtenberg (1914), and Melville Jacobs (1928-1936). Among the three collections, the Santiam and Tualatin groups are the best represented. 11 Kalapuyans found in the records of fur traders and early pioneers and missionaries. No general ethnographic accounts from the period (such as those left by Methodist missionary Henry Perkins on the Wasco Upper Chinookans) have yet surfaced.24 Additionally, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde were terminated by Congress in 1954 and their reservation lands liquidated. They did not regain federal recognition until 1983, and restored reservation lands until 1988. In the early colonial period of the Pacific Northwest, Indian peoples, fur trade laborers and their families were at a distinct disadvantage in having their experiences recorded. They themselves were almost entirely illiterate, and Americans chronicling the resettlement of the Pacific Northwest were not particularly interested in writing about these groups in any substantive manner. Hence, both scholars and popular historians working in Pacific Northwest history long relied on written sources left by the Anglo-American and Anglo-Canadian fur trade officers, explorers, and pioneers. The lack of proficiency in French and the long-standing separation between the fields of anthropology and history only reinforced the reliance on Anglo-American sources. The historiography of the Pacific Northwest, especially that of the early colonial period, was thus in lockstep with trends in American West history, trends that came under attack in the latter half of the twentieth century.25 Building on the work of scholars who came into prominence following World War II, such as Earl Pomeroy and Henry Nash Smith, and on the emerging scholarship in fields such 2 4 Henry Perkins' documentation on the Wasco is one of the best sources of ethnographic information on a Native group in the Pacific Northwest during the pre-reservation period. See Robert Boyd, Peoples of the Dalles: The Indians of Wascopam Mission, A Historical Ethnography Based on the Papers of the Methodist Missionaries (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996). 2 5 Earl Pomeroy, "Towards a Reorientation of Western History: Continuity and Environment," MVHRAX: 4 (1955): 579-600; Wilbur R. Jacobs, "The Indian and the Frontier in American History—A Need for Revision," WHQ4A (January 1973): 43-56. 12 as social history, ethnohistory, feminist and ethnic studies, and American Indian history, several Western historians called for a "New Western History" in the 1980s. They were particularly concerned about reconceptualizing western history as a counterpoint to Turner's influential "frontier thesis," which stressed the central role of westward expansion (the frontier) in shaping Anglo-American "civilization." Echoing contemporary debates about American historiography, this generation of historians sought a reinterpretation of the American West that would challenge the triumphalist, Anglo-centric narratives that were predominant through most of the twentieth century. This New Western History would unearth the historical experiences of the various peoples and communities in the face of an Anglo-American conquest, demonstrating the multi-ethnic, multi-layered nature of colonization in the American West.26 For the past several decades scholars have debated the merits and "newness" of this "New Western History," while generally answering the call for more complex monographs and sub-regional narratives. The depth and breadth of the field have increased, though historians continue to grapple with the problem of narrative synthesis, which remains a central question in American historiography. The dynamism of Pacific Northwest historiography has been somewhat muted in comparison to the larger field of Western history. Indeed, as I have noted elsewhere, the Northwestern borderlands have not received the same attention from historians as the Patricia Nelson Limerick, The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West (New York: W.W. Norton, 1987); Patricia Nelson Limerick, Clyde A. Milner, and Charles E. Rankin, Trails: Toward a New Western History (Lawrence: Kansas University Press, 1999); and Richard White, "It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own;" A New History of the American West (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991). Two volumes that attempt to balance new regional narratives with the strengths of previous interpretations include Clyde A. Milner, Carol A. O'Connor, and Martha A. Sandweiss, The Oxford History of the American West (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994); and Robert V. Hine and John Mack Faragher, The American West: A New Interpretive History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000). 2 7 Thomas Bender, "Wholes and Parts: The Need for Narrative Synthesis in American History," JAH 73 (1986): 120-36; and Thomas Bender, "Strategies of Narrative Synthesis in American History," AHR 107:1 (February 2002): 129-153. 13 98 Southwestern borderlands. The first new regional history in over twenty years, Carlos A. Schwantes's The Pacific Northwest: An Interpretive History, was originally published in 1989 and revised in 1996. Susan Armitage has argued persuasively in her extended essay on Schwantes's textbook that he should be commended for attempting to construct a new vision of the Pacific Northwest—his emphasis being on the various processes leading to the cultural, economic, and political incorporation of this geographic hinterland into the United States. She notes, however, that his text suffers from several of the structural and analytical weaknesses that have long plagued Pacific Northwest. A facile reliance on current political boundaries encourages readers to view historical developments as an inevitable rather than a contingent story of Anglo-American dominance. Additionally, although Schwantes endeavored to write a more inclusive regional history, his narrative too often portrays Anglo- American males as the central historical actors and women and other ethnic groups as secondary characters. Armitage also criticizes Schwantes for not delving deeper into the Indian perspective, and for avoiding what she perceives as the generally conflictual nature of Pacific Northwest history (thus echoing the more somber tone of Patricia Nelson Limerick's 9Q The Legacy of Conquest). While the current regional textbook might not meet all the high hopes for a New Western History that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, a number of monographs published in recent years have shed light on the indigenous societies at contact and Native-European relations in the Pacific Northwest during the early contact period. The works of Robert Boyd, 2 8 Melinda Marie Jett6, Review of Over the Edge: Remapping the American West, Social History/Histoire sociale 23:65 (May 200), 206-209; Ken S. Coates, "Border Crossings: Patterns and Processes along the Canada- United States Boundary West of the Rockies," in Parallel Destinies: Canadian-American Relations West of the Rockies, edited by John M . Findlay and Ken S. Coates (Seattle and Montreal: University of Washington Press and McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002), 4. 2 9 Armitage, 34-42. 14 Larry Cebula, Nathan Douthit, Alexandra Harmon, Donald Leland, James Rhonda, and Elizabeth Vibert have grappled with the socio-economic and cultural dynamics of colonialism, intent on giving a larger voice to Indian peoples who were the objects of this process. The Willamette Valley itself came to play a pivotal role in this process as the destination of the Oregon Trail emigrants, the much-touted empty, Edenic landscape awaiting American colonization. Despite the modest gains in the literature on the early colonial period over the previous decades, the history of intercultural relations in the Willamette Valley has yet to be explored from a scholarly perspective. The present study addresses this salient oversight by focusing on the French Prairie district in the valley. French-Indian families, whose members had seasonally lived in the valley throughout the 1810s and 1820s, began to settle permanently in French Prairie in the late 1820s, thereby * • • 31 making it the first non-Kalapuyan community in the valley. By examining the complex socio-economic and cultural dynamics that shaped intercultural relations in French Prairie during the early colonial period (1812—1844), this study documents both the continuities and changes marking the first thirty years of Robert Boyd, The Coming of the Spirit Pestilence: Introduced Infectious Disease and Population Decline among Northwest Coast Indians, 1774-1874 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999) and People of the Dalles: The Indians of Wascopam Mission (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996); Larry Cebula, Plateau Indians and the Quest for Spiritual Power, 1700-1850 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003); Nathan Douthit, Uncertain Encounters: Indians and Whites at War and Peace in Southern Oregon (Corvallis: Oregon States University Press, 2002); Alexandra Harmon, Indians in the Making: Ethnic Relations and Indian Identities around Puget Sound (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); Leland, Aboriginal Slavery; James Rhonda, Lewis and Clark among the Indians (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press): Elizabeth Vibert, Traders' Tales: Narratives of Cultural Encounters in the Columbia Plateau, 1807-1846 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997). 3 1 Harvey McKay published a popular local history of Champoeg and St. Paul, which included historical sketches of prominent settler families; Based on interviews with elderly residents, it evinces the French-Indian character of the early settlement: St. Paul Oregon, 1830-1890 (Portland: Binford & Mort, 1980). John Hussey produced a study of the political history of Champoeg in order to clarify its merit as a state historical site: J.A. Hussey, Champoeg: Place of Transition, A Disputed History (Portland: Oregon Historical Society/Oregon State Highway Commission, 1967). Two unpublished dissertations examine aspects of French Prairie history as they relate to broader themes of gender, racial ideologies, education, and childhood: Juliet T. Pollard, "The Making of the Metis in the Pacific Northwest: Race, Class, and Gender" (Ph.D diss., University of British Columbia, 1990); Mary S. Wright, "The Circle Broken: Gender, Family, and Difference in the Pacific Northwest, 1811- 1850" (Ph.D diss., Rutgers University, 1996). 15 intercultural relations. After the Oregon Trail migration of 1843 (also known as the Great Migration), Anglo-Americans gained a demographic superiority in the Willamette Valley, and achieved official political dominance with the signing of the Oregon Treaty of 1846. Prior to the mid 1840s, however, the American missionaries and settlers were just one of several ethnic groups in Oregon. This examination of intercultural relations in the decades preceding large-scale American resettlement, recounted in a narrative format, reveals a complex set of relationships between the nascent French-Indian community, the indigenous Kalapuyans, and later American settlers. These relationships were shaped by a host of factors: ancient indigenous trade networks of the Columbia-Willamette region, the centuries- old North American fur trade, the French Canadian diaspora, competing visions of global commerce and national conquest, Christian missionary zeal, Native and Euro-American cultural values, and the ordinary interests of Natives, French-Indian families, and American settlers. This view of an early colonial society marked by cross-cultural negotiations rests upon an interpretive framework that has developed in North American scholarship over the past several decades. A comparative approach relying on both Canadian and American research not only enhances this study from a theoretical standpoint, but also challenges long- standing nationalist viewpoints on the history of the Northwest Coast prior to the Oregon Treaty of 1846. Since the late 1960s, Canadian and American scholars have investigated the dynamics and consequences of European colonialism from the perspectives of fur trade history, Native history, ethnohistory, social history, and cultural history. By focusing on the factors shaping Native-European relations, and the responses of various communities and individuals to colonialization, these studies have illustrated the uneven linkages between 16 power, economic interest, local cultures, ethnic identity, and social change. The literature on interethnic families and communities has been particularly noteworthy in challenging simplistic, dismissive notions about individuals once referred to as "half-breeds" and "mixed- bloods."33 Although Canadian scholars working in the first half of the twentieth century did not use the word "power" in their work on Native-newcomer relations, they did introduce the idea that aboriginal peoples influenced the economic and cultural exchanges involved in European colonialism. Following in the wake of Harold Innis and Thomas Mclllwraith, Alfred Bailey proposed that intercultural contact must be viewed in terms of indigenous history and culture—not simply in the context of European culture and economic expansion. In later decades, both Bruce Trigger and Arthur H. Ray further developed this view. Trigger insisted that the tendency to minimize the long-standing relationships between Europeans and Indian groups not only distorted Canadian history, but also overlooked the complex relations between different European groups, such as illiterate French Canadians and colonial elites. In his study of Native groups of the Canadian sub-arctic, Ray found that these groups were able to sustain relative economic independence over two centuries as a result of overlapping economic systems that relied heavily on the regional ecology and geography.34 For an overview of developments in Canadian Native history that draws on earlier studies, see Keith Thor Carlson, Melinda Marie Jette, and Kenichi Matsui, "Major Writings in Aboriginal History, 1990-1999," CHR 82:1 (March 2001): 122-171. 3 3 For an introduction to the literature on the M&is in Canada, see Jacqueline Peterson and Jennifer S. H. Brown, eds., The New Peoples: Being and Becoming Metis in North America (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1985). Three recent studies on the American context include Tanis Thorne, The Many Hands of My Relations: French and Indians on the Lower Missouri (Columbia: University of Columbia Press, 1994); Theda Purdue, "Mixed Blood" Indians: Racial Reconstruction in the Early South (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2002); Susan Sleep-Smith, Indian Women and French Men: Rethinking Cultural Encounters in the Western Great Lakes (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001). 3 4 Alfred Bailey, The Conflict of European and Eastern Alongkian Cultures, 1504-1700 (1934; rpt; Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1969); Arthur H. Ray, Indians in the Fur Trade: Their Role as Hunters, Trappers, and Middlemen in the Lands Southwest of Hudson's Bay, 1660-1870, 2 n d ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto 17 Early studies in Canadian ethnohistory thus demonstrated that the balance of power in Native-newcomer relations during the early colonial periods was not so exclusively weighted in favor European interests. Euro-American and Natives societies were relatively evenly matched so long as the Euro-Americans remained at a disadvantage demographically, economically, and militarily. Although Richard White does not mention scholarly predecessors to his well-known work, The Middle Ground, his thesis of a "middle ground" in the Great Lakes during the early colonial periods echoes the work of Canadian researchers. White's "middle ground" illustrates the socio-economic relationships and cultural practices that allowed Euro-Americans and Indians to find a relative means of accommodation over several generations. Euro-Americans were not in a position to dominate the indigenous population until after the War of 1812, but rather required their assistance "as allies, as partners in exchange, as sexual partners, as friendly neighbors." Once Euro-Americans gained an upper hand in a region, they sought to dictate the terms of intercultural relations. The shift in power relations ultimately resulted from large-scale Euro-American migration and the territorial expansion of the United States and Canada. Facing these juggernaut forces, Native societies were less equipped to fend off the effects of disease, loss of control over natural resources, structural economic change, and social dislocation. I would argue that similar forces were at play in the Willamette Valley during the first half of the nineteenth century. Mercantile capitalism in the form of the overland fur trade gave rise to the French-Indian settlement in French Prairie while Americans supporting westward expansion advocated various schemes of economic, religious, and military Press, 1998); Bruce Trigger, Natives and Newcomers: Canada's Heroic Age Reconsidered (Montreal: McGill- Queen's University Press, 1985). 3 5 Richard White, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, in the Great Lakes Region, 1615-1800 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), x. 18 intervention in the Oregon Country. Given the scholarship on Euro-American colonization and intercultural relations, it is important to consider how French Prairie compares with other contact zones in North America. As in other regions, both the indigenous Kalapuyans and the French-Indian settlers proved themselves able to adapt long-standing aboriginal trade and kinship practices to changing economic circumstances. While the Kalapuyans did not have the economic clout of the Chinookan peoples who controlled the Columbia River, nor the advantages of the equestrian cultures of the Plateau peoples, the Willamette Valley peoples demonstrated a willingness to engage in both local and regional resistance against the newcomers until some accommodation could be reached. On the other hand, the Willamette Valley was unique in several respects. The catastrophic decline of the Kalapuyan population due to "intermittent fever" (malaria) in the 1830s—just twenty years after the first direct contact with Euro-Americans—played a pivotal role in shaping fanciful notions of an untouched idyllic landscape in Oregon. The "Oregon Fever" that resulted, together with social and economic conditions in the Midwest, led to the massive migration of American settlers into the valley in the mid 1840s. By the late 1850s, nearly all of the surviving Indian groups of western Oregon were confined on reservations under military guard (the Grand Ronde Reservation counting several French-Indian families from French Prairie on it census rolls). Thus, in comparison with other contact zones such as the Canadian prairies and the Great Lakes region, the early colonial period in the Willamette Valley was compressed into a much shorter time span. Although the French Prairie settlers labored under colonial forces similar to those in other regions, it was this compression of the early colonial period combined with the juggernaut of American migration in the 1840s that ultimately influenced the ethnic identity 19 of their descendants. Over the past decades, Canadian scholars have studied the connections between intermarriage, Native women's roles in the fur trade, interethnic community formation, and the rise of a Metis national ethnic identity in Canada. Their research suggests that although mixed race populations developed in every contact situation (also known as metissage), the emergence of a separate Metis ethnic identity in selective regions in Canada was the result of specific historical circumstances.37 As identified by Dickason, keys component in the process of a Metis ethnogenesis included isolation of the bi-cultural groups from Native and European relations, a markedly slow pace of Euro-American settlement, and •jo "the enduring importance of the fur trade." Research on the development of a Metis consciousness within the United States is less persuasive. Jacqueline Peterson has argued that a distinctive Metis culture developed in the Great Lakes region over the period from 1680-1830. Peterson links the viability of this Metis identity to the fur trade such that when the fur trade waned, the Metis communities ostensibly declined as well.39 Although cognizant of the historic presence of bi-cultural communities in the interior regions dating from the French period, others have rightly questioned Peterson's central thesis. More convincing than Peterson is the work of Tanis Thorne and Susan Sleeper-Smith, which re-affirm Dickason's conclusions. In Thome's work on the French and Indian peoples For a discussion of the various stages of Euro-American colonization on the regional level, see Gray H. Whaley, "Creating Oregon from Illahee: Race: Settler-Colonialism, and Native Sovereignty in Western Oregon, 1792-1856," (Ph.D diss., University of Oregon, 2002). 37OHve Patricia Dickason, "From 'One Nation' in the Northeast to 'New Nation' in the Northwest: A Look at the Emergence of the M6tis," in Jacqueline Peterson and Jennifer S. H. Brown, eds., The New Peoples: Being and Becoming Metis in North America (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1985), 19-36; Jennifer S. H. Brown, Strangers in Blood: Company Families in Indian Country (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1980); Sylvia Van Kirk, Many Tender Ties, Women in Fur-Trade Society, 1670-1870 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980). 3 8 Dickason, 30. 3 9 Jacqueline Peterson, "The People in Between: Indian-White Marriage and the Genesis of a Metis Culture and Society in the Great Lakes Region, 1680-1830," (Ph.D. diss., University of Illinois Chicago Circle, 1981). 20 of the Lower Missouri from 1750 to 1880, she found that people of bi-cultural ancestry "may have shared a collective identity as members of a community, but not necessarily a nationalistic identity as a 'new people.'"40 Similarly, Sleeper-Smith's research on the western Great Lakes illustrates the long persistence of ethnic French-Indian families from the late seventeenth century through the late nineteenth century. This persistence of bi-cultural families was due in large part to the role of Native women in incorporating French Canadian men into their indigenous communities and in acting as cultural mediators in the fur trade. Following the transition to a settler society and the Indian reservation system, bi-cultural families and individuals made varying decisions regarding their ethnic identity, some purposefully distancing themselves from their Indian heritage, others taking an opposite 41 route. With regard to methodological concerns, the experience of the French Prairie settlers parallels that of the interethnic communities in the Great Lakes and the Lower Missouri. There is little evidence to suggest the development of separate Metis ethnic identity in the Willamette Valley over the relatively short early colonial period. Especially significant is the demographic factor, the French-Indian population, roughly 75-100 families at its largest in the late 1840s, remained relatively small in comparison to the thousands of American settlers who came to Oregon during the same period. For this reason, I have elected to use the term "French-Indian" when referring to the bi-cultural families and individuals who settled in the Willamette Valley. I employ more specific terms such as "French-Algonquin" when more information is available on individual historical figures. Following previous researchers, I occasionally use the French term metis when referring to people of French Canadian and Thorne, 12. Sleeper-Smith, 1-9. 21 Native ancestry. I use this approach in order to avoid any confusion with the Metis peoples of Canada who retain a distinctive national ethnic identity.42 In order to overcome the problem of limited documentation on the French Prairie settlers, I have undertaken an in-depth analysis of all the relevant sources of the period that might contain even the briefest references to the Kalapuyans and the French-Indian families. This survey led me to discover references not previously utilized in standard historical texts. I have also mined all the available French-language sources recorded by the first generation of French Canadian missionaries to Oregon. The bulk of these sources are the letters and reports of Father Francis Norbert Blanchet, who later became the first Catholic archbishop in Oregon. The Catholic Church Records of the Pacific Northwest, a life-long project of the late Harriet Munnick, have also provided key factual information on the Kalapuyans and the French-Indian families. The end result is a narrative history that presents a largely collective portrait, one more suggestive than definitive. The names of individual French Canadian men occasionally come to the fore, the names of individual Indian men and women less so. This qualitative portrait of intercultural relations between the French-Indian settlers and their Kalapuyan and American neighbors presents a more complex view of early colonial society in Oregon than previously seen in the scholarship. Although beyond the scope of the present study, additional avenues of research that might offer a fuller view of the period would include comprehensive statistical analyses of church registers and census records, land claim records created under the Oregon Provisional Government (1844—1849), and the account books of the various fur trade companies that operated in Oregon. Peterson and Brown, The New Peoples, l-8;Thorne, 12. 22 This study covers the period from the initial date of direct contact between Kalapuyans and Euro-Americans in the spring of 1812 through the inception of the Oregon Provisional Government in 1843. Its structure is dictated by the availability of sources, and the pace of recorded events on the ground. Chapter One examines the landscape and ecology of the Willamette Valley, as were as the society and culture of the Kalapuyans on the eve of direct contact with Euro-Americans (1700s-1812). Although Meriwether Lewis and William Clark did not venture into the valley above Willamette Falls in 1805-06, the Kalapuyans had some degree of indirect contact with Euro-American culture as a result of the maritime fur trade and the aboriginal networks of the Columbia-Willamette region. Chapter Two, examines the first years of Native-newcomer relations in the Willamette Valley under the trapping, and trading expeditions of the Pacific Fur Company and the Northwest Company (1812-1822). Chapter Three, chronicles the initial agrarian settlement by several French-Indian families and the devastating effects of the "intermittent fever" (malaria) on the Kalapuyans during this earlier settlement period. (1823-1833). Chapter Four demonstrates the community initiatives that bound the French-Indian families to the initial wave of American Methodist missionaries to Oregon (1834-1837), further marginalizing the Kalapuyans. Chapter Five follows the establishment of the first Catholic mission in the Willamette Valley, and with a strong bi-cultural French community and Catholic religion, the rise of sectarian tensions between American Protestant and Canadian Catholic missionaries (1838-1840). The final chapter explores the final years of a heterogeneous colonial society fuelled by a growing, confident, and dynamic French-Indian community on the eve of the mass migration of American settlers to the Willamette Valley via the Oregon Trail, beginning in 1843 (1841- 23 1843). The dominance of the new Anglo-American settlers was assured by the Treaty of Oregon of 1846. Notwithstanding the powerful force of Oregon's founding mythology, the Willamette Valley was not an empty Eden awaiting settlement by hardy American pioneers. Rather, it was one of the early sites of extensive and continuous intercultural contact. Although various tensions developed following the influx of non-Kalapuyans in to the Willamette Valley, such conflicts were not irresolvable as demonstrated by the actions of the French-Indian families and their Kalapuyan and American neighbors. From this perspective, Saint Amant's image of French Prairie as a "hearth of the crossed races" can be re-evaluated as an alternative vision of early Oregon history. Rather than erasing the complexity of intercultural relations, we might conceive of French Prairie as another type of hearth: a gathering pace where people of differing ethnicities—sometimes bound by common interests, sometimes in conflict over those same interests—attempted to ford the cultural divide. This then, was an "Oregon Story," that preceded the great Oregon Trail migrations. CHAPTER ONE "THE COUNTRY THEY INHABITED WAS LEVEL AND WHOLY DESTITUTE OF TIMBER": THE KALAPUYANS' WORLD, 1700s to 1812 He informed that the Cush-hooks and Char-cow-ah nations who reside at the falls of that river are not numerous; but that the Cal-lah-po-e-wah nation who inhabited both side of this river above the falls as far as it was known to his nation or himself were very numerous. That the country they inhabited was level and wholy [sic] destitute of timber. That a high range of mountains passed the Multnomah river at the falls, on the upperside of which the country was one vast plain. The nations who inhabit this country reside on the river and subsist like those of the Columbia on fish and roots principally.1 On March 23, 1806, the Corps of Discovery, commonly known as the Lewis and Clark Expedition, departed their winter headquarters at Fort Clatsop on the Pacific Coast for their return trip to the United States. The first week of April, they reached the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, having missed sighting the Willamette on their outward voyage in November 1805. Captain William Clark thereupon led a small detachment to explore the area. The party proceeded to visit several Upper Chinookan villages in the vicinity of the lower Willamette watershed. On April 2, the travelers visited a village identified by Clark as "Nechecole" (ni-cdqwli), located at the site of present-day Blue Lake Park. There Clark inquired about the Native groups to the south. An elderly man, perhaps a village headman, gave Clark a concise description of the Willamette Valley and its inhabitants, including the Kalapuyans who lived in the valley's large upper region. 1 Moulton, Gary, E., ed., The Journals of Lewis & Clark, vol. 7, From the Pacific to the Rockies (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991), 86. 25 Although the American exploring party did not ascend the Willamette River as far as the falls, Clark's discussions with villagers in the lower watershed piqued the curiosity of the expedition leaders. Captain Lewis noted in his journal that he had "but little doubt that this river waters a vast tract of country lying between the Western mountains and the mountainous country o f the sea coast extending as far south as the waters of the gulph of California." 2 Lewis ' speculative geography, gleaned from the local Chinookans, was somewhat off the mark, but his belief about a tract o f land between the Cascades and the Coast Range was correct. Some forty years later, the Willamette Valley would become the destination of choice for many Americans wishing to re-settle the Far West after a long, arduous trek along the Oregon Trail . Due to the Willamette Val ley 's rich natural resources, it was an important site of Native-European interactions during the decades preceding large-scale American settlement. The succeeding chapter sets the stage for these later encounters by examining the landscape and ecology of the Willamette Valley in the pre-contact era, the ways in which the Kalapuyans themselves interacted with their environment, and the social changes that marked the initial period of contact between Natives and newcomers in the lower Columbia region (1790s-1810). Since the Kalapuyans inhabited western Oregon's largest inland river valley, a place marked by a temperate climate, they were distinctive hunter-gathers in comparison to other groups on the Northwest Coast. Their economy was based on the seasonal exploitation of many local resources (plants, roots, wi ld game, fowl, and aquatic life). Though not a salmon- based culture like their Chinookan neighbors to the north, the Kalapuyans were linked by geography, kinship, trade, and cultural affiliation to the lower Columbia River region—and 2 Moulton, 83. 26 to a lesser degree to the Plateau cultures east of the Cascade Mountains. The Kalapuyans did not experience direct contact with Euro-Americans until 1812, yet the far-reaching consequences of Euro-American expansionism began to have an impact on the lower Columbia region in the 1700s. European goods arrived in the region via long-standing aboriginal trade networks, and then in the 1790s, the Chinookan peoples of the Columbia River estuary encountered British and American maritime-based fur traders for the first time. The ensuing twenty years brought various social changes to the lower Columbia. One of the most salient was the emergence of the Chinook-proper as middlemen in the maritime fur trade and their subsequent rise to regional dominance. For the Kalapuyans of the Willamette Valley, these regional developments likely exposed them to both the benefits and disadvantages of Euro-American expansion experienced by similar hinterland groups, such access to trade goods and additional prestige goods, as well as the possibility of increased slave raids. Landscape and Ecology The Willamette Valley, homeland of the pre-contact Kalapuyan peoples, is the largest valley in western Oregon. It lies between the Coast Range to the west and the Cascade Mountains to the east. The valley is roughly 110 miles (160 km) long from the Columbia River in the north to the convergence of the two mountains ranges in the south near Cottage Grove. It varies in width from 20 to 30 miles (30-50 km), and covers approximately 3,500 square miles (9100 square km). At several locations, minor hill chains (e.g. Eola Hills, 27 Waldo Hills) rise several hundred feet above a valley floor marked by relatively low relief, especially in the upper-most section south of Corvallis. Flowing north, the Willamette River is a major tributary of the Columbia River. Unlike the Columbia west of the Cascade Range, the Willamette slowly meanders its way back and forth over a broad alluvial floodplain, fed by numerous smaller tributaries, streams, and wetlands.4 The Willamette River Basin comprises roughly 11,500 square miles (29,800 square km). In the early nineteenth century, the river was characterized by an extensive, multiple channel flow, whereas today the river tends to follow a smaller, single channel.5 The valley soils include gravel and sand, significant sections of adobe clay, and large sections of silts and alluvium, which, though lacking significant lime deposits, are rich in humus.6 The central feature separating the lower Willamette Valley from the upper Willamette Valley is the large lava sill, forming the Willamette Falls (at present-day Oregon City). In the early contact era, the falls were apparently a territorial marker separating the Kalapuyan lands from the territory of the Chinookan peoples who occupied the lower Willamette Valley. This territorial separation was likely related to the differing economies of the two groups, the 3 Ewart M . Baldwin, Elizabeth L. Orr, William N . Orr, Geology of Oregon, 4 t h ed. (Dubuqe, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 1992); Patricia A. Benner and James R. Sedell, "Upper Willamette River Landscape: A Historical Perspective," in River Quality: Dynamics and Restoration, edited by Antonius Laenen and David A. Dunnette (New York: CRC Publishers, 1997), 23-49; Samuel N . Dickens, "Western Oregon and Washington," in The Pacific Northwest: An Overall Appreciation, ed. Otis W. Freeman and Howard H. Martin, 2nd ed. (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1954), 54-64; Jerry F. Franklin and C T . Dryness, Natural Vegetation of Oregon and Washington (Portland: U.S. Forest Service, 1973; rpt, Corvallis: Oregon State University 1988); John A. Hussey, Champoeg: Place of Transition, A Disputed History (Portland: Oregon Historical Society/Oregon State Highway Commission), 1; William G. Loy, Stuart Allan, Aileen R. Buckley, and James E. Meacham, Atlas of Oregon, 2 n d ed. (Eugene: University of Oregon Press, 2001) 4 "Willamette" is derived from the name of an Upper Chinookan village wdlamt, originally located on the west shore of the Willamette River, across from Oregon City. See Michael Silverstein, "Chinookans of the Lower Columbia," in Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 7, Northwest Coast, edited by Wayne Suttles (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1990), 534. 5 Benner and Sedell, "Upper," 24. 6 M.E. Peck, A Manual of the Higher Plants of Oregon (Portland: Binford & Morts, 1941), cited in James R. Habeck, "The Original Vegetation of the Mid-Willamette Valley, Oregon," Northwest Science 35:2 (May 1961), 66. 28 Chinookans exploiting the large salmon runs at the falls while the Kalapuyans focused their attentions on the choice gathering country above the falls. The Willamette Valley's proximity to the Pacific Coast and its location midway between the equator and the North Pole affords it a relatively mild climate. To the north lies the region of the stormy and cool North Pacific westerlies, and to the south the warm, stable air of the subtropics. In the crucible between these two atmospheric systems, the valley receives wet winters and dry summers. The often remarked climatic feature is the annual rainfall, between 195-400 mm (30-60 inches) per year in the valley, and double that figure in the mountains: 645-1300 mm (100-200 inches) in the Coast Range, and 515-775 mm (80-120 inches) in the Cascades.8 There is a relatively minor seasonal temperature range variation compared with the more extreme conditions east of the Cascade Mountains, due to the westerly flow of marine air. Studies in historical climatology have shown that a cooler, wetter climate emerged in the Pacific Northwest 4000 years before the present (B.P.), lasting until the mid-nineteenth century, when temperatures began a slow rise in the Pacific Northwest as elsewhere around the globe.9 Late twentieth-century monthly means for the Willamette Valley were a January low of 2-4° Celsius (the upper 30s Fahrenheit) and a July high of 18-20° C (the upper 60s F). 1 0 71 would like to thank Henry Zenk for bringing this point to my attention. 8 William A. Bowen. Migration and Settlement on the Oregon Frontier (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1978), 6; George H. Taylor and Raymond R. Hatton, The Oregon Weather Book (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 1999), 8. 9 Henry Hansen, Postglacial Forest Succession, Climate and Chronology in the Pacific Northwest, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series 37:1 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1947), 114-115, 120; Brian Fagan, The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, J300-1850 (New York: Basic Books), 194-205. 1 0 Bowen, 6-7; Rick Minor, Stephen Dow Beckham, Phyllis E. Lancefield-Stevens, and Kathryn Anne Toepel. Cultural Resources Overview of BLM Lands in Northwestern Oregon: Archeology, Ethnography, and History, edited by C. Melvin Aikens. (Eugene: University of Oregon Department of Anthropology), 11. 29 Due to heavy rainfall and mild temperatures, the Willamette Valley has long had a large and diverse biomass. At the turn of the nineteenth century, the upper section of valley was comprised of several microenvironments, or ecological niches.11 The largest of these was the oak savannah-woodlands complex, which consisted of wet lowland prairies, dryer upland prairies, oak openings, and occasional oak forests. Two types of perennial grasses dominated the prairies (Festuca rubra and Deschampsia cespitosa). Additional natural vegetation included several shrub species such as hazel (Crylus California), Oregon grape (Mahonia nervosa), rose (rosa sp.), and ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus). In the oak openings and oak forests, Oregon white oak (Physocarpus capitatus) was the prevailing species. Douglas fir, (Pseudotsuga menziesii), alder (Alnus rubra Bong.), and laurel (Umbellularia californica) were also present as isolated trees or in scattered groups. Understory plants included a collection of grasses, forbs, shrubs, ferns, and berries. A second microenvironment was the wetland, including marshes, sloughs and swales, and larger inland bodies such as Lake Labish and Wapato Lake (both now drained), all created as a result of low elevations, high water tables, and seasonal flooding. These wetlands were home to the wapato (Sagittaria latifold), a bulbous marsh herb, while the wet lowland prairies were home to the bulbous camas lily (Camassia quamash)}2 A third microenvironment consisted of the gallery forests located along the Willamette's tributaries and streams. The bottomland timber included Oregon white ash (Fraxinus oregana), big leaf " Habeck, 65-77; Robert Boyd, "Strategies of Indian Burning in the Willamette Valley," in Indian, Fire, and the Land in the Pacific Northwest, ed. Robert Boyd (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 1999): 94-98; Franklin, The Natural Vegetation, 110-129; Carl L. Johannessen, et al., "The Vegetation of the Willamette Valley," Annals of the Association of American Geographers 61:2 (June 1971): 286-303; Jerry Towle, "Changing Geography of Willamette Valley Woodlands," Oregon Historical Quarterly 83:1 (Spring 1983): 66- 87. Boyd suggests the three valley microenvironments outlined here. 1 2 Boyd, Strategies," 95-97; B. Jennifer Guard, Wetland Plants of Oregon and Washington (Vancouver, B.C.: Lone Pine Publishing, 1995); Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon, eds, Plants of the Pacific Northwest: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, and Alaska (Vancouver, B.C.: B.C. Ministry of Forests & Lone Pine Publishing, 1994). 30 maple (Acer macrphyllum), black C o t t o n w o o d (Populus trichocarpd), western red cedar (Thuja plicata) and Douglas fir. Secondary species were oak, laurel, alder, cherry (Prunus emarginata), and willow (Salix sp.). Salmonberry (Rubus Spectabilis), red elderberry, (Sambucus Racemosa), hardhack (Spiraea douglasii), ninebark, cascara, rose, and Oregon Grape were amongst the understory vegetation in these bottomland areas.13 A final ecological niche was the coniferous forest of the foothills and mountains of the Coast Range and Cascades Mountains. Due to the higher elevations, Douglas fir was the prevailing arbor species, alongside the secondary presence of big-leaf maple, hemlock, dogwood, vine maple, oak, laurel, and cedar. Understory plants included various berries, and the Oregon grape. The ecology of the upper Willamette Valley circa 1800 was not the primeval natural phenomenon, as it was often portrayed in the Euro-American travel literature of the early nineteenth century. In fact, the Willamette Valley's oak savannah-woodlands complex was a managed landscape, developed through the use of fire by the valley's indigenous peoples and their ancient ancestors.14 Over the centuries, the Kalapuyans created a society and economy that was built upon an astute combination of human savoir-faire, an extensive knowledge of botany, ecology, and climate, and a subsistence way of life that made maximal use of these natural and human resources. The mythology and cosmology of the Kalapuyans played an essential role in knitting these intellectual skills and material culture into a coherent worldview. 13Boyd, "Strategies," 95-97; Stephen Dow Beckham, The Indians of Western Oregon: This Land Was Theirs (Coos Bay, OR: Arago Press, 1977), 33. 1 4 Johannessen, 286 & 292. 31 The Pre-Contact Kalapuyans Due to the limited scope of the secondary literature on the Kalapuyans, any study of the Willamette Valley's indigenous inhabitants during the pre-contact period (1700s-1812) is best viewed as speculative. This literature, a legacy of salvage ethnography, consists of several MA theses in anthropology, essays from early ethnographic works, and a series of scholarly articles. In these works, anthropologists have focused on a number of specialized topics related to the pre-reservation period, including ethnobiology, ethnolinguistics, cultural affiliation, land tenure, subsistence patterns, and landscape management.15 Archeologists have produced studies on questions related to Kalapuyan material culture and long-term human habitation in the Willamette Valley.16 While these works have provided crucial information on the contact-era Kalapuyans, they have not been followed by comprehensive ethnohistorical studies owing to the later history of the Kalapuyans as noted in the introduction.17 Anthropologists have recognized the term "Kalapuyan" as a general ethnic identifier for the culturally and linguistically related groups who originally inhabited the Willamette 15Boyd, "Strategies;" Lloyd R. Collins, "The Cultural Position of the Kalapuya in the Pacific Northwest," (MA thesis, University of Oregon, 1951); Yvonne Hajda, "Mary's River Kalapuyan: A Descriptive Phonology," MA thesis, Portland State University, 1976); Melville Jacobs, ed. Kalapuya Texts, University of Washington Publications in Anthropology, vol. 11 (Seattle: University of Washington, 1945); Henry Zenk, "Contributions to Tualatin Ethnography: Subsistence and Ethnobiology," (MA thesis, Portland State University, 1976); Henry Zenk, "Tualatin Kalapuyan Villages: The Ethnographic Record," in Contributions to the Archaeology of Oregon, edited by Paul W. Baxter (Portland: Association of Oregon Archeologists, 1994), 146-165. 1 6 C. Melvin Aikens, Archeology of Oregon (Portland: U.S. Department of the Interior, 1993); C. Melvin Aikens, Archeological Studies in the Willamette Valley, Oregon (Eugene: University of Oregon Department of Anthropology, 1976). 1 7 There are several general studies on the history and culture of the Indians of western Oregon, including the Kalapuyans. These volumes are based on the anthropological studies and historical sources. See Stephen Dow Beckham, The Indians; Carolyn M . Buan and Richard Lewis, eds., The First Oregonians (Portland: Oregon Council for the Humanities, 1991); Rick Minor, et al., Cultural Resources; Jeff Zucker, Kay Hummel, Bob Hegfoss, Oregon Indians: Culture, History, and Current Affairs (Portland: Oregon Historical Society, 1983). 32 Valley above Willamette Falls (Oregon C i t y ) . 1 8 Michael Silverstein (cited by Zenk) observes that the name "Kalapuya" originated as a lower Chinookan term. The root of the Chinookan term galapuywi or k'alapuyw does not itself appear to be Chinookan. 1 9 Anthropologists have identified three related language groupings for the Kalapuyans: North, Central, and Southern. 2 0 The Northern language comprised two dialects spoken by the Tualatin and the Yamhi l l peoples, who lived in the northwestern portions of the Willamette Valley. The Central language encompassed between six to ten mutually intelligible variations on both sides of the river from Willamette Falls to the valley's southern limit (Cottage Grove). The Southern language, which may have included more than one dialect, was the language of the Yoncalla, who lived in the E lk Creek and Calapooya Creek drainages of the Umpqua River basin. 2 1 The groups speaking the various dialects of these three languages each occupied a watershed of one o f the Willamette River tributaries, or in the case o f the Yoncalla, the watersheds o f the Umpqua River tributaries. Laurence C. Thompson and M . Dale Kinkade, "Languages," in Handbook of the North American Indian, vol. 7, Northwest Coast, edited by Wayne Suttles (Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution, 1990), 41; Henry Zenk, "Kalapuyans," in Suttles, Handbook, 547-553; Zenk, personal communication, 2002. 1 9 Henry Zenk, "Kalapuyans," in Handbook of North Americans Indians: Volume 7, Northwest Coast, edited by Wayne Suttles, series editor William C. Sturveant (Washington D.G.: Smithsonian Institution, 1990), 552. 20 Ethnographic data collected in the late nineteenth century, attested to the fact that the Kalapuya had similar customs and lifeways, but distinct languages. See W.W. Oglesby, "The Calapooyas Indians," [circa 1880] H.H. Bancroft Library (Hereafter BL), P-A 82, 6. 2 1 Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 7; Zenk, "Kalapuyans," 547; Zenk, "Contributions, 2; Beckham, The Indians, 38; Collins, 18-19. 33 Tablet. Kalapuyan Group Divisions Northern Kalapuyan Tualatin Yamhill Central Kalapuyan Ahantchuyuk Luckiamute Santi am Chepenefa Chemapho Tsankupi Tcanschifin Mohawk Chelamela Winnefelly Historical Variations Atfalati, Twalaty Yamel Watershed/Location Tualatin River Yamhill River Mary's River Muddy Creek Pudding River, French Prairie Alakemayuk Ahalpam, halpam Long Tom Pudding River Luckiamute River Santiam River Mary's River Muddy Creek Calapooia River (Brownsville) McKenzie-Willamette Confluence Mohawk River, McKenzie River Long Tom River Coast Fork - Willamette River Middle Fork - Willamette River Southern Kalapuyan Yoncalla Ayankeld Elk Creek Calapooya Creek Sources: Beckham, Indians; Collins, "Position;" Jacobs, Kalapuya; Mackey, Kalapuyans; Zenk, "Contributions;" Zenk, "Kalapuyans." Anthropologists have distinguished at least thirteen group divisions amongst the Kalapuyans, though there may have been upwards of twenty distinct tribes in the pre-contact era (see Table 1, Kalapuyan Group Divisions). Since the historical and ethnographic data on the Kalapuyans is limited, and sometimes contradictory, researchers have struggled to determine the nature of Kalapuyan group boundaries, and the relevancy of the term "tribe." Stephen Beckham has argued that "tribe" does not accurately describe aboriginal socio- political organization in western Oregon prior to Native-Newcomer encounters because the Native peoples of the region lived in societies organized along village lines, with political authority residing primarily with the local headman.22 Henry Zenk's research on the Tualatin Kalapuyan ethnographic texts, both published and unpublished, supports the contention that village leaders were the wealthiest members of the community. He concludes that "it seems 23 unlikely then there was any institutionalized 'tribal' level of chiefly authority." 2 2 Beckham, The Indians, 45. 2 3 Zenk, "Contributions," 16. The italics are the mine. 34 Zenk has also written about the speculative nature of the Kalapuyan ethnic groupings established by anthropologists, raising the possibility that these designations may be the result of colonial forces, which had caused bands to come together following catastrophic depopulation, and the loss of territory and resources.24 However, he does contend that these names do reflect some measure of the Kalapuyans' pre-contact world. The ethnic identity markers appear consistently in the various Kalapuyan ethnographic texts, markers by which the Kalapuyan informants identified themselves. In addition, the earliest fieldwork notes, which are those collected by Albert S. Gastchet in 1877, document the views of Kalapuyan informants who had achieved adulthood prior to the reservation period. They indicate that the "various Tualatin village groups functioned as a unit at least for certain subsistence purposes."25 Melville Jacobs, the linguist who worked with the last native speakers of some of the Kalapuyan dialects, gleaned from his interviews that: Each dialect was localized in a cluster of villages situated on some one creek or stream flowing into the Willamette or in some small area near the Willamette. Each village cluster was identified by the natives themselves as a dialect, economic, cultural, political, unit and given a name.26 In Zenk's reading of the ethnographic data, the Kalapuyans did identify "group entities larger than the village group: a number of group names (Tualatin, Yamhill, Santiam, Luckiamute, Yoncalla, and others) designated clusters of dialectically and culturally identical or closely related villages or hamlets."27 The Tualatin are one of the best documented Kalapuyan peoples. Zenk surmises that prior to the population loss of the historic period, the Tualatin lived in between fifteen to twenty winter villages. Although these hamlets were not Zenk, "Contributions," 16. Zenk, "Contributions," 16. Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 145 Zenk, "Contributions," 15. 35 consolidated into a tight tribal political structure, they likely retained a collective identity, based upon the social (including marriage ties), cultural, and economic relations between the villages in the territory. This collective identity, which Zenk has called a "dialectal-ethnic entity," apparently did correspond to a socio-political identity.29 From Gaschet's field notes, Zenk surmised that these dialectal-ethnic entities were a "cluster of socially and politically closely interrelated winter-village groups," and each group retained access rights to specific resources in specific locations, and shared access rights to other "productive locales" within their larger common territory.30 Zenk also noted that the Gaschet information points to a firm notion of Tualatin territorial boundaries with regard to "title."31 This idea of territorial limits can be found in Tualatin accounts about their relations with the neighboring Yamhill and the Athapascan- speaking Clatskanie to the north, as well in the treaty negotiations with the remaining Kalapuyan bands in 1851 and 1855.32 With regard to the historic Kalapuyans, I use the term "tribe" with qualification, referring not to a unified political structure with a tendency toward hierarchical forms of governance, but rather a collective identity grounded in a specific territoriality and a shared local culture, including a common dialect. This notion of a tribal status and ethnic identity extended beyond the local village group to include a multi-village locus: Thus winter-village groups were perhaps relatively small, with each necessarily having access to a comparatively large territory. Therefore, the loose organization of Kalapuyan local groups into larger dialectal-ethnic units (the specific organizational structure of which is . . . unknown) could have had an adaptational significance: such 2 8 Zenk, "Contributions," 1-2. 2 9 Zenk, "Contributions,"46. 3 0 Zenk, "Contributions," 46. 3 1 Zenk notes that the term "title" originates with George Gibbs, Tribes of Western Washington and Northwestern Oregon, vol. 2, Contributions to North American Ethnology (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1877). 3 2 Zenk, "Contributions," 2. 3 6 a form of organization would have provided a territory large and diverse enough to offer each local group sufficient access to an adequate range of subsistence resources, but at the same time it would have kept population suitably dispersed by preserving the separate existence of small local groups. The treaty territories indicated for the Kalapuyans seem to bear out the possibility that this was an aboriginal pattern: each 'tribe' or 'band' elsewhere documented to have probably been a dialectal-ethnic entity seems to occupy its own valley or basin formed by one of the larger tributaries of the Willamette Valley; each such major valley offered a range of riverine, lowland, and upland types of habitat.33 Historical and ethnographic sources indicate that "Ahantchuyuk" was the name of the Kalapuyan tribe that lived in the Pudding River watershed, an eastern tributary of the Willamette River. The name literally translated means "the ones belonging behind, away."34 Their territory roughly corresponded with the toponym "French Prairie," which is bounded on the north and west by the Willamette River, the Pudding River on the east, and the marshy Lake Labiche to the south (now drained). Synonyms of the name were "Hanchoiks" and "Hanshoke." Anglo-Americans referred to the Ahantchuyuk as the "Pudding River Indians" or "French Prairie Indians." Although Stephen Beckham identifies two Kalapuyan ethnic groups for the region, Champoeg and Ahantchuyuk, it is also possible that "Champoeg" (which may be based on a Kalapuyan term campuik) was the name of an Ahantchuyuk village originally located near the later French-Indian hamlet of Champoeg. Champoeg may well have been a local center for the various Kalapuyan tribes. The site was historically a 3 3 Zenk, "Contributions," 18. 3 4 Zenk, "Kalapuyans," 552. The only extant linguistic record in the Ahantchuyuk dialect of the Central Kalapuyan language is a short vocabulary list collected by Albert Gaschet in 1877. Zenk, personal communication, 2002. 3 5 Beckham, The Indians, 36; Zenk's writes: "There was a village somewhere near Champoeg State Park, on the north bank, or possibly both banks, of [the] Willamette River. While this village is mentioned in the Tualatin ethnography material (. . . giving cdmpuick as the name of a 'town' in the French Prairie area where Indians gathered to dig the root puicik), it is not mentioned as having been Tualatin - I thus speculate that it was hanciyuk [Ahantchuyuk] unless . . . it represents some undocumented entity" in Zenk, "Contributions," 4. Zenk's 1976 speculation is based on the ethnographic field notes of Albert Gatschet, collected in 1877, and Hussey's analysis of historical documentation from the testimony of American settler, William R. Rees, see Hussey, 17 and note #8, 341. Another hypothesis is that Gatschet's informant may have noted the name of the historical French-Indian town, Champoeg, rather than a contact era Kalapuyan toponym. Zenk, personal communication, 2002. 37 useful landing for river traffic because of the break in the dense gallery forests, which lined the Willamette River. The Ahantchuyuk's neighbors included both Kalapuyans and non-Kalapuyans. To the east were the Molala, a Penutian-speaking group, who occupied the foothills and both the western and eastern slopes of the Cascades. To the northeast Upper Chinookan peoples occupied the lower Willamette Valley, beginning with the coveted salmon fishing grounds at Willamette Falls. North and west across the Willamette was Tualatin territory, and due west across the river lived the Yamhill. Due south of the Ahantchuyuk Kalapuyans was the homeland of another Central Kalapuyan tribe, the Santiam. The territorial boundary between 36 the two Central Kalapuyan groups was north of present-day Salem. Kalapuyan Society In contrast to the hereditary caste system of the Chinookan peoples of the lower Columbia and lower Willamette (in which chiefly, free, and slave status, at least, were inherited), Kalapuyan society was apparently less stratified.37 The Kalapuyans dwelt in ethnically-related, autonomous villages, each with its own headman.38 A headman's position was based on wealth, rather than on heredity. Additional community leaders would include 3 6 Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 86. 3 7 Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 7; Zucker et al., Oregon Indians, 54-55. See also Leland Donald. Aboriginal Slavery on the Northwest Coast ofNorth America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997). 3 8 Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 186-187. Henry Zenk indicates that there may likely have been a historical shift with American colonization and the push for treaty negotiations in the 1850, which would have required identifiable chiefs to sign treaties with American officials. Zenk writes: "The villages of this [Tualatin] and other Kalapuyan tribes were apparently politically basically autonomous. Treaty documents, and some ethnographic sources, further suggests that the tribes themselves were political entities, headed by tribal chiefs. However, it may also be that tribal chieftainship was a historical development, the result of population considerations and government agents' demands to deal with authoritative representatives of tribes." Zenk, "Kalapuyans," 549. See also Collins, 48-49. Here he discusses the historic Chief Sande-am who apparently held sway over several hamlets. Again, this may the result of post-contact dynamics. Zenk, "Contributions," 15-16. 3 8 shamans and other members of wealthy families. The main cleavage in Kalapuyan society was between freeborn villagers and enslaved foreigners. Within the ranks of the freeborn were the headmen and their families, respectable commoners, shamans, and the poorer people of the hamlet (i.e., those with little material wealth). Wealth was not an absolute, since one might gain or lose wealth within the community. Thus, there was a possibility for social mobility.4 0 Santiam Kalapuyan informant John B. Hudson explained that what identified a "good" (wealthy) man was his dentalia money (trade beads in the post-contact era), and his ability to purchase wives and slaves.41 Slavery appears to have been more common amongst the Northern Kalapuyans, particularly the Tualatin, than amongst the Central and Southern tribes. This may have been a historical development resulting from the cross-cultural relations between the Northern Kalapuyans and their Chinookan neighbors, as there is evidence of both kinship and trade connections with the Upper Chinookans of the lower Willamette Valley. 4 2 The Tualatin supplied the Chinookan peoples, who relied heavily on slave labor, with slaves from both inside and outside the Willamette Valley. Slave trading was thus a distinctive component of the Tualatin economy. Since the Tualatin acquired slaves through kidnapping as well through trade, they—like the neighboring Molala to the east—apparently preyed upon the Central and Southern Kalapuyans 4 3 Beckham, The Indians, 45. 4 0 Zenk, "Contributions," 6. 4 1 Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 47. 4 2 Melville Jacobs, Clackamas Chinook Texts, vol. 2 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Research Center in Anthropology, Folklore, and Linguistics//wteA-«ariona/ Journal of American Linguistics, 1959), 517.; Zenk , personal communication, 2002. 4 3 Zenk, "Kalapuyans." 550. 3 9 In Kalapuyan society, as in other aboriginal societies in the Pacific Northwest, slavery was a hereditary social status whereby the descendants of foreign captives were slaves.44 In keeping with the more flexible Kalapuyan social structure, however, the status of the slave class was not quite equivalent to that of the Kalapuyans' Chinookan neighbors, for occasionally marriages did occur between freeborn and slave, which thereby freed the slave.45 There is evidence of infant head-flattening amongst the Tualatin Kalapuyans, a practice that distinguished the freeborn and from the slave. As with the Chinbokans, those with "beautiful" sloping foreheads were freeborn and those with "ugly" round heads were slaves 4 6 Ethnographic information suggests the Kalapuyan practiced patrilocal residence, exogamy, and had a preference for polygyny, especially amongst the more wealthy members of a community. Kalapuyan men married women from nearby villages or tribes. The Kalapuyans viewed marriage as an exchange between families, the groom's family securing the prospective wife with gifts to the woman's family. 4 7 As a result, a father with several daughters might increase his wealth through the marriage of his daughters. In the event of sexual assault or adultery, the guilty party might secure the transfer of the wife from the woman's husband. In the case of the death of a husband, the husband's family held possessory rights over the widow, which could be acquired through the exchange of gifts.48 The articles used in marriage exchanges included slaves and dentalia in the early contact period, and horses and cattle in the mid-nineteenth century. In return, the wife's family gave 4 4 Zenk, "Contributions," 6. 4 5 Zenk, "Kalapuyans," 550. 4 6 Collins, 90; Beckham, The Indians, 48. For the Kalapuyans who practiced this tradition, it appears to have begun to decline in the late 1850s following the move to the reservations. See Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 194-195. 4 7 Beckham, The Indians, 55; Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 45; Oglesby, 6; Zenk, "Contributions," 6. 4 8 Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 43-45. 40 the groom's family blankets, guns, and other trade items. When a woman joined her husband's family, she did not take any personal belongings with her.49 In his recollections about the Indians of western Oregon, Willamette Valley settler John Minto recalled that a man could change his mind about his wife, sending her wife back to her family, and demanding a return of the property he had exchanged. Minto also mentioned incidents of spousal abuse, enslavement, and murder of women by their husbands.50 In Robert Boyd's study of the historical demography and epidemiology of the Native Northwest Coast (1774-1874), he compiled the most detailed estimates for the Kalapuyan populations prior to the intermittent fever (malaria) epidemics of the 1830s. Using the small number of Euro-American estimates for this pre-1830 period, he concluded that the Kalapuyan population ranged between 8,000 and 9,500. The Lewis and Clark population count for the Kalapuyans in 1805 was 9,200 (2,200 Northern, 6,000 Central, 1,000 Southern) These numbers came from the Chinookans of the lower Columbia as the Corps of Discovery did not explore the Willamette Valley. In 1820, Jedediah Morse estimated the Kalapuyan population to be 20,000 (1,800 for the Northern tribes). Boyd identifies Samuel Parker's 1838 estimate, taken from Hudson's Bay Company records, as a late 1820s figure. Parker gave two estimates, the first 7,800 and the second 8,800. This second figure may include Chinookan villages below Willamette Falls and on the lower Willamette or perhaps the Yoncalla Kalapuyans of the Umpqua River Valley.51 4 9 Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 191-192. 5 0 John Minto, "The Number and Condition of the Natives Race in Oregon When First Seen by White Men," Oregon Historical Quarterly 1:3 (September 1900), 299. 5 1 Boyd, The Coming, 324-25. 41 Kalapuyan Cosmology and Religious Practice The Kalapuyan peoples shared many of the same spiritual and philosophical orientations as other Native groups along the North West Coast.52 The Kalapuyans recounted creation stories that explained how the world was formed, and how it remained flawed, always in need of improvement. In Kalapuyan cosmology, time was cyclical rather than linear. A central component of the origin stories was the narrative of transmogrification: at the close of the mythic age, the transformers became the flora, fauna, and landscape features of the Kalapuyans' world. This transmogrification provided the symbolic linkage between humans and the natural world. Peter Boag has characterized the relationship between the Kalapuyans and their environment as both a physical and spiritual kinship. The various elements—weather, physiography, ecology, fauna—were not distinctive from the Kalapuyans, but rather were important components of their culture, and ultimately their survival.53 Thus, Kalapuyan cosmology and religious practice interwove place, local history and lore, resource use, social behavior, and personal identity.54 At the core of Kalapuyan spirituality was the guardian-spirit power ("supernatural power" in the Central-Kalapuyan language). There were several types of such powers, related to fauna, supernatural creatures, natural phenomena, and inanimate objects. These sundry guardian-spirit powers varied in both strength and import with regard to human affairs, some powers producing positive outcomes, others inflicting harm. The Kalapuyans viewed 5 2 Beckham, 1-40; Dell Hymes, "Mythology," in Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 7, Northwest Coast, edited by Wayne Suttles (Washington, D.C.: 1990), 593-601; Kathryn Toepel, "Traditional Lifeways— The Western Interior," in The First Oregonians, edited by Carolyn Buan and Richard Lewis (Portland: Oregon Council for the Humanities, 1991), 15-20. 5 3 Peter G. Boag, Environment and Experience: Settlement Culture in Nineteenth-Century Oregon (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), 18. 5 4 The Kalapuyan ethnographic texts edited and published by Melville Jacobs are the main source of information on worldview and religious practice: Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts; see also Henry Zenk's essay "The Kalapuyans," 550. 42 important events or accomplishments as the result of the possession of such powers. Thus, the guardian-spirit powers helped shape human events. While it appears that all members of Kalapuyan society, women and men (even slaves) might acquire guardian-spirit powers, the ethnographic sources stress the necessity for such powers on the part of shamans, wealthy community leaders, and hunters.55 The onset of puberty was the common period in the Kalapuyan life cycle when individuals would undertake a vision quest to acquire the guardian-spirit power. A youth would venture to established power sites in the mountains and near lakes of the Willamette Valley for a five- day regimen of fasting, work, and finally, dreaming. If a guardian-spirit power came to the youth, it would manifest itself in human form during a dream. In 1914 William Hartless, a Chenepenfa (Mary's River) Kalapuyan, stressed the transformative effect of the acquisition of a guardian-spirit power: The people did not just merely become strong (have the power to do certain things). We went to the hills and to the water, and in consequence (of the acquisition there of spirit-powers) we were transformed into shamans, and wealthy headman, and hunters.56 In addition to the acquisition of guardian-spirit powers, another important religious practice was the winter dance held during the season when the Kalapuyans engaged in fewer subsistence activities. As the long rainy winter extended from November through March, villagers would sing power songs at these special occasions. Individuals, particularly shamans, would host the dances and invite other dancers and singers to aid in the quest to enhance a guardian-spirit power. The winter dances featured drums and rattles, ceremonial Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 345. Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 345. 43 headdresses, regalia, sashes, and dance costumes decorated with feathers, beads, shells, and human hair. Although shamans, who could be both male and female, often hosted special winter dances, their social position was ambivalent.57 This stemmed from an underlying combination of admiration for and fear of the shaman's guardian-spirit powers. Shamans would be called upon to heal the sick, though there was always a risk that a shaman might abuse his or her power, and bring distress upon an individual, family, or community. If patients continued to die under a shaman's care, he or she could become the object of a retaliatory murder. One way to avoid this end (in addition to flight from the community) would be to compensate the victim's family with a blood-money payment. This practice of shaman assassination would be one reaction to the introduced infectious disease epidemics visited upon the Kalapuyans beginning in the 1830s. The Kalapuyan Economy The Kalapuyans' pre-contact economy was based on several elements: subsistence patterns following seasonal migrations, the division of labor in food procurement and preservation, the use of fire for resource management, and participation in the regional aboriginal exchange network. Unlike the salmon-based Chinookan cultures of the lower Willamette and lower Columbia, the Kalapuyans lived in an inland valley and as a result, relied on a variety of plant, animal and aquatic resources. As hunter-gatherers, their 5 7 There is ethnographic evidence for transgenderism amongst the shaman class. The impetus to live as the opposite sex was itself a command from the shaman's guardian spirit. For examples, consult informant John B. Hudson's description of a male to female shaman from the Tualatin Kalapuyan tribe in Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 48; and Victoria Howard's description of her grandfather's sister, qa'nat'amax, a Tualatin shaman who dressed as a man, in Jacobs, Clackamas Chinook Texts, 517. 44 migration patterns were based on the seasonal exploitation of various ecological resources C O within their territories: riverine, lowland, and upland habitats. The Kalapuyans' subsistence calendar consisted of two cycles: one spent in the permanent winter villages, and the second spent in various temporary harvesting camps over the spring and summer months.59 For the men, the major subsistence activity during the winter months was game hunting; however, hunting might not bring in enough food to offset any drop in food stores. As a result, the late winter could be a time of hunger for the Kalapuyans.60 During the warmer, drier months from March through October, the women could once again set out on their subsistence grounds in the valley. Based in windbreak shelters or in the open air under stands of trees, they would migrate to various the microenvironments: to the wetlands and lowlands to harvest camas and wapato; to the dryer oak savannah, oak openings, and prairies to harvest tarweed seeds, hazelnuts, and acorns; and to the mountain forests to harvest understory berries. The fall was a particularly important period for the men and boys to engage in small- and large-scale hunts in order to procure meat for the winter. Following the completion of the harvest season, the Kalapuyans would return to their semi-permanent winter village sites, located along riverbanks or the confluences of tributary rivers and streams.61 Henry Zenk determined that the resource base of the Tualatin Kalapuyans, and other Kalapuyan groups more generally, was highly diversified as a result of the great variety of the Willamette Valley's flora and fauna. This "regional distinctiveness of Kalapuyan subsistence" distinguished them from their non-Kalapuyan neighbors, such as the salmon- 5 8 Collins, 39; Minto, 301. 5 9 Zenk, "Contributions," 42; Collins, 40-41. 6 0 Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 34. 6 1 Zenk, "Kalapuyans, 548. 45 based Chinookan peoples to the north.62 Zenk has outlined four major categories for the Kalapuyan subsistence base, emphasizing the primary role of vegetable resources and the secondary role of aquatic life and wild game. Vegetable foodstuffs included camas, wapato, tarweed (madia spp.), hazelnuts (Corylus cornuta), acorns, and various dried berries. Aquatic resources included Chinook salmon (Oncorhyncus tschawytscha), steelhead (salmo gairdnerii), lamprey eels (Entosphenus tridentatus), and non-anadromous fish such as trout (Salmo clarkii) and sturgeon (Acipenser spp.). The Kalapuyans' major large game animals included elk (cervus canadensis) and white-tailed (Odocoileus virginianus leucurus) and black-tailed deer (Odocoileus heminus columbianus). They also hunted small and medium- sized game various animals of all kinds, as well as waterfowl and birds. Finally, the Kalapuyans also included insects in their diet, such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, and yellow jacket larvae. This diversified resource base shared affinities with other regional aboriginal cultures, such as those of the Plateau (camas, roots, and berries) and California (acorns, hazelnuts, tarweed, grass seeds). Amongst the many vegetable resources, camas and wapato were the most important plants for their nutritive value and for their value as trade items with other Native groups.64 Women would harvest the blue camas lily using digging sticks. They would then roast the camas bulbs in pit-ovens specially constructed for that purpose. Afterwards, the roasted camas could be eaten immediately or dried and made into cakes for both trade and consumption during the wintertime. The other items Kalapuyan women dried and stored for the winter included Chinook salmon, dried eels, hazelnuts, acorns, tarweed seeds, berries, Zenk, "Contributions," 35. Boyd, "Indian Burning," 99 Zenk, "Kalapuyans," 547; Zenk, "Kalapuyans," 33; Boyd, "Indian Burning," 99. 4 6 roots, blossoms, and sprouts.65 Women produced a mushy dish from leached acorns that was served immediately, and bread made through a drying process using warmed rocks near the campsite fires.66 Hazel was important because women used the withes from the small tree for basket making, baskets being essential for harvesting and food storage. With great skill and knowledge, Kalapuyan women harvested hazelnuts in late summer and then stored them to be used in the wintertime. They and the children harvested an impressive array of nutrition rich and flavorful berries in many different ecological niches, systematically drying desirable varieties such native blackberry (Rubus ursinus), strawberry (Fragaria spp.), huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.), salalberry (Gaultheria shallon), blackcaps (Rubus leucodermis), thimbleberry (Rubus parvijlorus), and salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) not just for local use but possibly for trade. 6 7 For the Kalapuyans, successful food production relied on skilled and knowledgeable individuals, cooperative work parties, some level of processing, and possibly elaborate storage techniques.68 In addition to the essential plant food sources, harvested in the spring and summer, the Kalapuyans exploited their year-round access to a variety of animals: Black-tailed and white-tailed deer, elk; water-oriented mammals such beaver (Castor canadensis) and land otter (Lutra canadensis); small and medium-sized mammals such as rabbit (O. lagomorpha) grey and brown squirrels (Sciurus griseus and Tamiasciurus douglasii), and various carnivores; blue grouse (Dendragapus obscurus), mountain quail (Oreortyx picta palmeri), doves, band-tailed pigeons (Columba fasciata); and native waterfowl such as geese (Branta Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 190. 6 6 Beckham, The Indians, 49. 6 7 Boyd, "Strategies," 121. 6 8 For an overview of the importance of food production for the Native peoples of Northwest Coast, see Dianne Newell, Tangled Webs of History: Indians and the Law in Canada's Pacific Coast Fisheries (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), 32-43. 47 canadensis), swan (Olor sp.), and pheasant (Bonasa umbellus).69 Migratory waterfowl using the Willamette Valley lowlands as wintering grounds were another source of food in the wintertime. One such species was the band-tailed pigeon, which migrated to the region to feed on the prairie grass seeds.70 While year-round hunting likely involved single hunts, the Kalapuyans also organized large communal hunts in the fall. The prey of these communal events certainly included deer 71 and perhaps elk as well. Knowledge of animal biology led the Kalapuyans to time these hunts for the autumn. Nearing the cold winter months, the prized white-tailed deer were fattest because they had gorged themselves on the acorns that had fallen from oak trees in the valley. Seeking elk in a fall hunt also had a distinct advantage. Normally, elk are solitary creatures, but as autumn is their mating season, hunters would have occasion to find them in herds of ten to fifteen animals. After the hunt, women smoked the deer and elk venison and stored it for winter use. The Kalapuyans' great communal hunts in the fall involved several operations: the use of snares and large fires to drive the animals, which were cooperative efforts. Once a fire was lit, hundreds of men and boys herded the animals into an ever restricted common center. When the center was small enough, skilled hunters went in and shot the animals they judged appropriate. Around 1880, the journalist Samuel Clarke learned from John Hudson (Al-qe-ma or Yelkma), a Santiam Kalapuyan, and Quinaby, another Kalapuyan on the Grand Ronde Reservation, that the participants in the annual hunt had an intimate knowledge of how to manage the large game animals as a resource. "They preserved the best males, the very 6 9 Zenk, "Contributions," 38. 7 0 Towle, "Settlement," 17. 7 1 Boyd, "Strategies," 113. 7 2 Jerry C. Towle, "Settlement and Subsistence in the Willamette Valley: Some Additional Considerations," Northwest Anthropological Research Notes 13:1 (Spring 1979), 17. 48 young and the best animals with care. They could always find enough to answer their "IT purposes without exterminating the game." Aquatic resources played a complementary role in the Kalapuyan economy. Living along the streams and tributaries of the Willamette River, the Kalapuyans had access to year- round aquatic life, including non-anadromous fish species (trout, suckers, sturgeon), crabs, mussels, crawfish, and lamprey eels.74 Although the upper Chinookans appear to have prevented the Kalapuyans from engaging in large-scale salmon fishing at Willamette Falls, ethnographic information indicates that they did harvest the lamprey eels at the falls during the summer, as well as in the streams and creeks of the valley. They would eat some of their catch, and smoke the remainder for use in the wintertime. One method of storage was to put the dried items in soft bags and hang them in trees.75 Some scholars have argued that the Kalapuyans did not themselves harvest salmon, the regional anadromous fish, because it was not able to mount the barrier posed by the Willamette Falls, stressing that any salmon in the Kalapuyan diet would have been obtained through trade with Chinookan groups from the lower Willamette and Columbia.76 In support of this theory, there is evidence that the Chinookan peoples at Willamette Falls held the area as their territory and did not grant the Kalapuyans access rights, though they did trade with the Kalapuyans for items such as camas and wapato. For example, the Chinookans would prevent the Kalapuyans from using seines or spears to catch salmon at the falls.77 7 3 Oglesby, 5; S.A. Clarke, Pioneers Days in Oregon History, vol. 1, (Portland: J.K. Gill), 89-91; See also Boyd's comments, "Indian Burning," 111 and footnotes #51 and 52, 135 7 4 Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 18, 25, 188. 7 5 Jacobs, Kalapuya Text, 24-25. 7 6 Rick Minor, Stephen Dow Beckham, Phyllis E. Lancefield-Steves, and Kathryn Toepel, write that the Kalapuyans' position above Willamette Falls limited their access to salmon and smelt runs. See their volume, Cultural Resource Overview, 56. 7 7 Jacobs, Kalapuya Texts, 181. 49 Two anthropologists who examined the historical, ethnographic, and scientific evidence concluded that the question of anadromous fish above Willamette Falls in pre- contact times is too complex to provide a simple negative answer. Although the historical evidence from Euro-American sources is contradictory, hyrodology, biology, and ethnography suggest that a spring Chinook salmon run likely mounted the Willamette Falls 78 barrier and spawned in the upper Willamette River and its tributaries. The high spring water levels would have afforded spring Chinook the best opportunity to pass the falls. Henry Zenk has cautioned that this theory cannot rule out the migration of additional salmon runs during 70 other high water periods, such as the winter steelhead. Given this research and the ethnographic evidence, it is highly likely that salmon were a supplemental food source to the vegetable and game resources harvested and hunted by the Kalapuyans. If indeed salmon runs were light or poor in one year or in a season, the Kalapuyans' diversified economy put them in a position to exchange their food and craft products with the neighboring aboriginal groups for dried salmon. Since salmon products were high-value trade items throughout the Columbia-Willamette region, and the Northwest Coast, any exchange would have to be equitable. In the case of the Kalapuyans, their processed game, dried camas, and dried berries from the Willamette Valley would have been specialty items for such exchanges. Environmental resource management was an essential aspect of their traditional economy. As noted above, the Kalapuyans maintained the oak savannah-open woodlands complex of the upper Willamette Valley through controlled prairie fires. Robert Boyd, the most well-versed researcher in Kalapuyan burning practices, concluded that "with control over and knowledge of the ecosystemic effects of fire, the Indians established an important 7 8 Zenk, "Contributions," 69-74; F. Ann Mckinney, "Kalapuyan Subsistence: Reexamining the Willamette Falls Salmon Barrier," Northwest Anthropological Research Notes 18:1 (Spring 1984): 23-33. 7 9 Zenk, "Contributions." 69-74. 50 symbiotic relationship with their environment. Put in other words, the Kalapuyans, like other Native Americans, became an environmentally selective force, acting through their agent, fire."80 The evidence for this use of fire as a tool for resource management on a grand scale comes from historical sources and studies on the historical ecology of the Willamette Valley. Following the agricultural settlement in the mid-nineteenth century (when American settlers forced a cessation of the ancient practice), significant changes occurred in the valley landscape. Those areas not used for agricultural production or grazing witnessed an increase in woodland and forest cover. In the case of the Willamette Valley, the cessation of the burning led to a dominance of Douglas fir trees, which replaced the oaks.81 Researchers on the ecology of the Willamette Valley agree that the "potential vegetation" of the valley is a forest cover, not an oak savannah, because the major environmental barriers to tree growth are lacking, such as climatic and edaphic features. Carl Johannessen and his colleagues concluded that annual fires had likely directed the development of the Willamette Valley ecology for millennia, yielding the prairie and open-woodlands complex that was present prior to large-scale Euro-American colonization.83 The use of fire by aboriginal peoples has been documented for groups in North America and around the world. Omar Stewart's research on Native North America, which was inspired by the works of geographer Carl Sauer, revealed various motivations for landscape burning. In addition to facilitating the hunting and corralling of large game animals, fire was helpful for the following reasons: improving pastureland; increasing visibility; collecting of insects; raising the yields of seeds, berries, and native vegetable 8 0 Boyd, "Strategies," 128. 8 1 Towle, "Settlement," 15. 8 2Towle, "Settlement," 18. 8 3 Johannessen, "Burning," 292. 51 foods; thinning trees for better growth of accompanying species; clearing land for horticulture; assisting tobacco growth; thinning the populations of snakes and insects; and assisting with communication and warfare.84 One of the long-term objectives of the annual burning was to foster proper vegetation growth for future food gathering activities. Clearing the brush under oak trees aided with acorn gathering and made hunting individual deer much easier. By using an ethnographic analogy with the Shasta of California and southern Oregon, Robert Boyd has theorized that the burning aided the development of plants for basket-making materials, wild berries and root crops.85 Edible plants, seeds, and berries grew in the prairie savannah ecology. These included the native blackberry on the open range; the strawberry on the dry prairies; other prairie plants such as tarweed and the sunflower. Hazel is an understory plant in oak openings. In addition, oak trees provide a higher acorn yield in oak openings in contrast to forest settings. The annual firing reduced the growth of woody plants, opening the way for the different wild roots eaten by the Kalapuyans: liliaceous camas and wild onion and the tuber of the lupine and the rhizome of bracken fern. Some small areas were also fired for sowing tobacco seeds. A second major motivation for the annual fires was the maintenance of the desired animal habitats. Robert Boyd reached this conclusion by linking the Kalapuyan subsistence calendar with plant succession. This linkage provides the logic for the burnings as witnessed in the historical and ethnographic sources. The summer burning of the prairie grasses resulted in an important second growth in the fall. This second growth provided elk and deer with their primary winter forage. Boyd and Towle surmised that this second-growth grass 8 4 Boyd, "Strategies." 109-110. 8 5 Boyd, "Strategies," 116. 8 6 Boyd, "Strategies," 122. 52 provided a food source for year-round herbivore population that would not have been possible without the use of fire. The fall grasses were soft and highly nutritious because of the fertilization from ash. In contrast, without the annual burning, the native grasses would become "tough, unpalatable, or even dangerous (such as squirretail) for the large-game animals grazing in the valley."87 Towle also notes that the according to James Clyman's observations in the early 1840s, migratory flocks of geese passed the winter on these new gg grasses. Another component in the management of animal habitats was the maintenance of edge environments. These edge zones were home to a variety of plant and animal species. The frequent firings created the mixed ecotones favored by the native white-tailed and black- tailed deer.89 While the firing created a habitat conducive to deer, it was also used as a means to clear underbrush and thus, assisted with hunting deer. According to Towle, fire was significant in game management because it created different ecotones favored by game, which gave them access to both food and cover: "grove, gallery forest, and open prairies."90 As reconstructed by Robert Boyd, the Kalapuyans' annual burning schedule corresponded to their subsistence migration patterns. Over the late spring and early summer, they were busy at wetland and lowland prairie sites, harvesting and processing camas and wapato. The Kalapuyans would not have engaged in any burning during this period. In July and August, they lit occasional fires in conjunction with gathering local foods sources on the dry prairies, such as grass seeds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts and blackberries. A short-term result of these occasional fires would be to clear away unused plants with the long-term Boyd, "Strategies," 124. Towle, "Settlement," 19. Boyd, "Strategies," 119. Towle, "Settlement," 19. 53 result of stimulating future growth of these same plants. During the close of the summer, the Kalapuyans would use fire as a means for harvesting tarweed and insects on the high prairies. October was the month for burning the oak openings after the gathering of acorns. The final prairie fires were the late autumn events meant to drive large game for the communal hunt. With a stock of dried deer and elk meat, the Kalapuyans would return to their riverine villages to wait out the wet valley winters.91 While the Kalapuyans' complex subsistence round use and their use of fire for resource management and remained central components of their economy through the early 1800s, a third element, participation in the regional aboriginal exchange network, introduced them to broader continental changes occurring as a result of Euro-American expansion. The Lower Columbia Region, 1790s to 1810 Since the Northern and Central Kalapuyans occupied the large upper portion of the Willamette Valley, the Columbia River's main tributary, their primary social and economic 92 • ties were to the region Yvonne Hadja has described as the Greater Lower Columbia. This part of the Northwest Coast included Chinookan, Salish, and Athapaskan communities on both sides of the Columbia River and its lower tributaries from the Dalles to the river's mouth, the Chinookan and Kalapuyan areas of the Willamette Valley, and the various coastal groups from the Quinault River in the north to the Alsea River in the south. While those groups living along the Columbia River tributaries and those located further away on the 9 1 Boyd, "Strategies," 127. 92 Yvonne Hadja, "Regional Social Organization in the Greater Lower Columbia, 1792-1830," (Ph.D diss. University of Washington, 1984), 1-3. This designation generally corresponds to Robert Boyd's lower Columbia, which he identifies as a region in the lower Columbia River drainage with several ethnolinguistic groups that experienced a similar disease history over the first 100 years of Euro-American colonization. See Boyd, The Coming, 231. 54 coast represented more peripheral components of the larger regional economy, all of these communities were connected to some degree to the ancient Pacific-Plateau trade corridor 93 along the great river. In the 1700s, and perhaps earlier, the Chinookan peoples who occupied strategic fishing and navigational sites along the Columbia and the lower Willamette played a central role in the flow of goods between the Plateau, the lower Columbia, and more distant regions such as Vancouver Island. European goods arrived into the lower Columbia region during the eighteenth century via the aboriginal trade networks as Europeans and Americans expanded their exploratory, commercial, and colonizing activities in the Northwest Coast and the interior regions of North America.94 The Chinook-proper, who lived on the north side of the Columbia River estuary, took a leading role in the maritime fur trade in the lower Columbia once it debuted in the 1790s. The maritime fur trade, which gave aboriginal groups greater access to European goods, essentially became integrated into existing regional exchange networks. These interlocking exchange networks were closely tied to the local salmon-based cultures. Access to the large seasonal salmon runs on the Columbia and its tributaries allowed the coastal and riverine peoples to pursue a specialized subsistence round, one that relied on sophisticated fishing techniques and storage practices.95 With the abundance of the 9 3 Jerry R. Galm, "Prehistoric Trade and Exchange in the Interior Plateau of Northwestern North America," in Prehistoric Exchange Systems in North America, edited by Timothy G. Baugh and Jonathon E. Ericson (New York: Plenum Press, 1994), 275-305. 9 4 Studies on European and American activities on the Northwest Coast include: Warren L. Cook, Flood Tide of Empire: Spain and the Pacific Northwest, 1543-1819 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973); James R. Gibson, Otter Skins, Boston Ships, and China Goods: The Maritime Fur Trade of the Northwest Coast, 1785- 1841 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1992); Barry M . Gough, The Northwest Coast: British Navigation, Trade and Discoveries to 1812 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1992). 95 Joseph Taylor, Making Salmon: An Environmental History of the Northwest Coast Fisheries Crisis (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999); Michael Silverstein, "Chinookans of the Lower Columbia," in 55 salmon harvests, these groups—and especially the Chinookans—developed a range of harvesting, processing, and storage techniques for generating surpluses that supported both subsistence and prestige exchange economies. Yvonne Hajda concluded that in common with Northwest Coast peoples generally, the aboriginal peoples of the lower Columbia region recognized two spheres of exchange during the period of initial contact with Europeans (1790s-1830s): one involving food and specialized raw materials, and the other involving valuables such as slaves and dentalia. Within the context of Native-Native relations, items of one group were not exchanged for items in another group. However, with the onset of the fur trade, European goods were exchanged for both sets of items.96 While the riverine peoples did exchange their surplus salmon for other foodstuffs harvested by the interior peoples, a primary focus of the regional trade was the acquisition of valuables. These valuables, in addition to property and resource-use rights and ceremonial privileges, were the regional marks of status and wealth.97 Strong trading links were thus essential to the maintenance of the system, and for this reason the regional trade largely, though not exclusively, operated through kinship ties. While the peoples of the lower Columbia region lived in a village-centered world, they maintained marriage ties beyond their local communities. These ties widened a family's sphere of influence, giving its access to additional prestige goods and resource use rights. Such regional kinship ties, characteristic of chiefly and upper class families throughout the Pacific Northwest, were also useful in times of armed conflict. If a conflict could not be resolved by the exchange of goods, the Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 7, Northwest Coast, edited by Wayne Suttles (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1990), 533-546. 9 6 Hajda, "Regional," 206-207. 9 7 Hajda, "Regional," 206. 56 leaders of opposing sides might request assistance from both nearby and more distant kin relations.98 When American maritime fur traders first arrived at the mouth of the Columbia and made contact with the Chinook-proper in early May 1792, the newcomers tapped into this long-standing, sophisticated trading system that linked the Chinook to peoples in the interior regions of Willamette Valley and the Plateau. The initial group of maritime traders, headed by Captain Robert Gray, visited the lower Columbia aboard the Columbia Rediviva on her second trading expedition from the port of Boston.99 New England merchants had turned their attention to the Northwest Coast following the Revolutionary War (1775-1781) after learning of a lucrative trade of otter pelts in Canton, China by members of Captain James Cook's third expedition in 1779. Although Gray had several violent encounters with Natives on the Northwest Coast during his second expedition, this first contact with the Chinook went relatively smoothly. The Columbia remained in the river's estuary for eight days from May 12 through May 20, 1792, during which time the Americans pursued a brisk trade with the Chinook and mapped the local area. Upon leaving the river, which Gray named the "Columbia" in honor of his ship, fifth mate John Boit noted in his log that the Chinook "Indians are very numerous, and appear'd very civill (not even offering to steal) during our short stay we collected 150 Otter, 300 Beaver, and twice the Number of other land furs."100 The expedition of British navigator George Vancouver soon followed in Gray's wake. After exploring the northern portions of the Northwest Coast, and meeting with Spanish 9 8 Hajda, "Regional," 212-221. 9 9 Although only one remnant of Robert Gray's official logs have survived, Frederic W. Howay completed a scholarly edition of the logs left by mates John Hoskins, Robert Haswell, and John Boit. See Frederic H. Howay, ed., Voyages of the "Columbia" to the Northwest Coast, 1787-1790 and 1790-1793 (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1941; rpt; Portland: Oregon Historical Society, 1990). 1 0 0 Howay, Voyages, 399. 57 officials at Nootka Sound, Vancouver ordered Lieutenant Broughton to explore the Columbia River in the fall of 1792. Vancouver himself proceeded to Monterey Bay for further consultations with the Spanish. Broughton, aboard the HMS Chatham, crossed the Columbia bar on October 2, 1792 and spent the next three weeks completing an extensive survey of the river's lower course.101 Upon the return of the Gray and Vancouver expeditions to their home ports, news of the "discovery" of the Columbia River soon spread and additional British and American trading expeditions began make yearly visits to the lower Columbia. From 1792 through the spring of 1811, contact between Euro-Americans and Natives of the lower Columbia was concentrated in the Columbia River estuary. British and American traders conducted trades from canoes, aboard ships, and in the local villages, since the newcomers did not establish seasonal or semi-permanent outposts. By virtue of the Chinook's geographic location at the mouth of the Columbia, their riverine culture, and their strong motivation to increase their wealth through the prestige exchange economy, they became middlemen in the regional maritime fur trade. They maintained a high degree of control over the flow of European goods along the Pacific-Pacific corridor and became a powerful force in the region. The Chinook's middlemen status was incumbent on their controlling access to the traders, and they proved quite tenacious in guarding their strategic position. The failure of the first Euro-American attempt to establish a permanent fur trade 1 0 1 The most authoritative account of Broughton's exploration of the Columbia can be found in George Vancouver, Voyage of George Vancouver, edited by W. Kaye Lamb, vol. 2 (London: Hayklut Society, 1984), 747-770. 1 0 2 The role of aboriginal peoples as middlemen in the North American fur trade was first recognized by Canadian economist Harold Innis. A number of scholars have since expanded on his seminal work. See: Harold A. Innis, The Fur Trade in Canada, with a new introduction by Arthur J. Ray, rev. ed (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1956; rpt, 1999); Arthur J. Ray, Indians in the Fur Trade (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974; rpt; 1998); Arthur J. Ray and Donald B. Freemen, Give us Good Measure: An Economic Analysis of Relations between the Indians and the Hudson's Bay Company before 1764 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1978). 1 0 3 Robert H. Ruby and John A. Brown, The Chinook Indians: Traders of the Lower Columbia River (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1976). 58 post in the lower Columbia was a testament to the Chinook's determination and ability to control trade relations between their interior Native partners and these newcomers. Over the winter of 1809-1810, two Americans, brothers Jonathan and Nathan Winship, prepared an expedition in the Hawaiian Islands that would establish a permanent for trade post in the Columbia River in the spring of 1810. On May 26, 1810, their ship, the Albatross, anchored three miles upriver from the Chinook territory and the expedition set about exploring the lower Columbia for a useful settlement site. The Winships finally settled on a location on June 4, and despite heavy rains over the next week, their party began to build a permanent post on the south bank of the Columbia near the old Oak Point. Within a few days the Winships decided to relocate the post onto higher ground a quarter of a mile upstream. However, at that point they encountered a large armed party of Chinook ostensibly on a mission to attack another local village. The Chinook quickly expressed their opposition to the establishment of a for trade outside their territory and put increasing pressure on the Winship party. After several tense discussions and intimidating actions by the Chinook, the Winship decided to abandon the attempt to establish a permanent post, fearing that their small party of some twenty-five men (mostly Hawaiians) could not adequately defend themselves against an armed attack by the Chinook and their allies. The Albatross left the Columbia on July 19, 1810.104 In the spring of 1811, another American trading vessel arrived in the Columbia, bringing some forty men to make a second attempt at a permanent for trade outpost in the lower Columbia. These men, who were partners and employees of John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company, would prove more successful than the Winship brothers, at least for a , 0 4 Ruby and Brown, The Chinook, 119-124. See also William Dane Phelps, "Solid Men of Boston," in Fur Traders from New England: The Boston Men in the North Pacific, 1787-1800, edited by Briton C. Busch and Barry M . Gough (Spokane, WA: Arthur H. Company, 1997), 52-73. 59 time. They would establish a close trade relationship with the dominant Chinook, while also looking to expand trading links with groups farther inland. In their forays into the Willamette Valley, the Astorians would encounter the Kalapuyans, and in so doing, come into direct conflict with the Chinook over the structure of the overland fur trade—a trade involving the permanent presence of Euro-Americans rather than their occasional visits aboard sea-going vessels. With their complex hunter-gather economy, the Kalapuyans would themselves over the next decade maintain the upper hand and thereby challenge the fur traders' notion about the future of intercultural relations in the Willamette Valley. bo CHAPTER TWO "THEIR SOLE EMPLOYMENT IS DIGGING ROOTS, CAMMASS, WAPTOES": FUR TRAPPER-KALAPUYAN ENCOUNTERS, 1812-1822 Over the spring and summer of 1811, the Kalapuyans of Oregon's Willamette Valley received reports about a group of foreigners at the mouth of the Columbia River. Meeting resident Upper Chinookan groups at Willamette Falls during trading expeditions, the Kalapuyans learned of the efforts of the Astorians from the Pacific Fur Company (PFC) to erect their first establishment, Fort Astoria, on the south shore of the great river. News of the foreigners' activities had traveled along the indigenous exchange networks that connected the interior Willamette Valley to Chinook communities at the mouth of the Columbia River. Since the Chinook-proper, a Lower Chinookan people, were the long-time middlemen in the regional maritime fur trade that debuted in the 1790s, the Kalapuyans may not have anticipated direct relations with the landed newcomers. However, a year after the Astorians' arrival at the mouth of the Columbia, the Kalapuyans encountered the foreigners for the first time. These initial encounters began a process of social change that would ultimately have a dramatic, irrevocable impact on Kalapuyan society, and lead to the unopposed establishment of the first bi-cultural colonial settlement in the valley by 1830. The fur traders whom the Kalapuyans met over the first decade, from 1812 to 1822, represented two North American enterprises, the Pacific Fur Company (1811-1813) and the North West Company (1813-1822). Although an American-owned company, the PFC's labor force resembled that of other prominent fur trade firms, notably the North West Company (NWC) and the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC). The PFC's managerial or officer class of partners and clerks included a small number of Americans and a majority of Canadian 61 residents, educated emigrants originally from Scotland and England. Many of the Canadian partners and clerks were also veterans of the Montreal-based fur trade. They supervised a multi-ethnic laboring class comprised of French Canadians originally from Lower Canada, Hawaiians recruited in the Hawaiian Islands, and a few Americans. The multi-ethnic character of the fur trade labor force, dominated by an Anglo-Celtic officer class, continued under the North West Company when it assumed control of fur trade operations in the Columbia River basin in the fall of 1813. A number of eastern Natives (Iroquois, Abenaki, Nippissing) and Metis (of French Canadian and Indian ancestry) also worked as hunters and trappers for the NWC in the Columbia region.1 Our knowledge of the first decade of Native-newcomer relations in the Willamette Valley remains clouded due to a fragmentary source record. However, the surviving record reveals that as an interior valley primarily accessible by water and bordered by mountain ranges to both the east and west, the Willamette Valley proved a unique contact zone. Cultural misunderstandings between Kalapuyans and the newcomers led to frustration, sometimes conflict, and finally, to a measure of accommodation. The fur traders brought their cultural biases—as well as their previous experience east of the Rocky Mountains—to bear on their relations with the Kalapuyans. As the vanguard of an expanding market economy, the fur traders viewed the Pacific Northwest as a region rich in natural resources. The newcomers were unrestrained by any philosophical barriers to exploiting these resources since they did not perceive the indigenous population as retaining pre-existing property or 1 NWC records for the Columbia region are scattered and fragmentary. H. Lloyd Keith is currently editing a volume of all the extant materials. The only attempt at a comprehensive study of the laboring class in the Columbia region can be found in Charles E. Simpson's extensive ethnography of the Snake Country trapping parties under the NWC and the HBC: "The Snake Country Freemen: British Free Trappers in Idaho," (MA thesis, University of Idaho, 1990). 62 use rights.2 Familiar with the Indian groups of the Great Lakes and in the interior region of North America, who had had over 100 years of contact with Euro-Americans, the traders also expected that the Indians whom they encountered would willingly hunt fur-bearing animals in exchange for European goods. When approached by the fur traders in the 1810s, the Kalapuyans of the Willamette Valley expressed little interest in trapping fur-bearing animals for trade. For the Kalapuyans, such an activity would direct precious resources away from their complex subsistence round. In fact, the Kalapuyans were initially primarily interested in obtaining foodstuffs, and only secondarily interested in European goods. The Willamette Valley Natives also demonstrated various forms of resistance in response to the fur traders' trading and hunting expeditions in the valley. Although the Kalapuyans had yet to acquire firearms, and therefore, relied on the bow and arrow, they did join forces with Upper Chinookans groups at Willamette Falls in an attempt to gain a measure of control over the developing fur trade economy. Thus, in this first decade, while tensions arose, occasionally leading to armed conflict, both groups were able to attain a degree of accommodation in their relations with one another. For their part, the fur traders had to adapt their operations by dispatching fur hunting brigades into the valley. The presence of the fur trapping parties would later have long-term consequences for the development of a colonial settlement in the Willamette Valley. The Pacific Fur Company Enterprise The story of the Pacific Fur Company expedition to the Columbia River country is rooted in imperial ambitions and mercantile capitalism. By the turn of the nineteenth century, 2 Robert Bunting, The Pacific Northwest Raincoast: Environment and Culture in an American Eden, 1778-1900 (Lawrence: Kansas University of Kansas Press, 1997), 24; Elizabeth Vibert, Traders Tales: Narratives of Cultural Encounters in the Columbia Plateau, 1807-1846 (Norman: Oklahoma University Press), 83. 63 the maritime sea otter trade along the Northwest Coast, which had debuted with third expedition of British explorer James Cook in 1779, was dominated by Americans sailing primarily from the port of Boston. During the same period that witnessed an expansion of the maritime fur trade, explorers from British North America made their way west from Montreal, seeking an expanded overland fur trade that would reach across the North American continent.3 A central figure in this vision of imperial conquest was the British-American explorer Peter Pond, who expressed the "fundamentals" of an "imperial geography" in the 1780s after his exploring expeditions to the Athabasca country.4 These fundamentals included water routes across the continent to the Pacific, fur trade posts along these routes, trade with China, and monetary support from the British government. The young Alexander Mackenzie, who accompanied Pond on his Athabasca trip, was greatly influenced by Pond's continental vision. Mackenzie later built upon Pond's explorations in his voyages to the Arctic Ocean in 1789 and to the Pacific in 1792-93. While Pond's vision and Mackenzie's later voyages inspired the Montreal-based North West Company to expand its operations across the continent to the Pacific, they also fired the imagination of an American entrepreneur who dreamed of individual wealth and national expansion, German-American fur trade baron John Jacob Astor.5 Astor's quest to build a continental fur trade company sprang from the much older struggle for imperial 3 Richard Somerset Mackie, Trading Beyond the Mountains: The British Fur Trade on the Pacific Coast, 1793- 1843 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1997), xvii. 4 James P. Ronda, Astoria and Empire (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990). 13. 5 For the most recent scholarly treatment of the Pacific Fur Company enterprise, see Ronda, Astoria. For Astor and his times, see John Denis Haeger, John Jacob Astor: Business and Finance in the Early Republic (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991) and Kenneth W. Porter, John Jacob Astor: Business Man, 2 vols. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1931). 64 conquest in the North America, as well as the more recent eighteenth-century adventurers of maritime explorers and fur traders seeking passages across the continent to the Pacific.6 James Ronda makes a persuasive case that previous American historians writing on the Pacific Fur Company, influenced by nationalist sentiment, have overstated the connection between the Lewis and Clark expedition and Astor's enterprise. Astor's experiences in Montreal, which pre-dated the American expedition by more than ten years, were direct influences on his developing plans. Ronda describes the linkage between Lewis and Clark and Astor as "more subtle, something like a catalytic reaction" that crystallized thoughts Astor would have previously encountered in his discussions with the Montreal traders.7 Beginning in the late 1780s, Astor began making annual visits to Montreal to buy pelts. There he made contacts with the leading figures of the Montreal fur trade, including Joseph Frobisher and Alexander Henry the Elder, and learned of the exploits of Alexander McKenzie to reach the Pacific Ocean through present-day British Columbia. Influenced by the accomplishments of the British North Americans, Astor decided to establish an American fur trade enterprise that would operate on a global scale. Astor's company would establish a central depot at the mouth of the Columbia, and additional inland posts and coastal expeditions to gather the bulk of the furs. Astor would send an annual ship to the Columbia from New York around Cape Horn. This ship would bring supplies and trade goods, which would then be exchanged for furs to be traded in the China markets. The annual ship would return to the Atlantic seaboard with Asian goods for European and American markets. A string of forts across the trans-Mississippi West, serving as communication route between 6 Glyn Williams, Voyages of Delusion: The Quest for the Northwest Passage ONew Haven: Yale University Press, 2002). 7 Ronda, 24-25,29-31. 65 New York and the Columbia, would be the final component in Astor's intercontinental enterprise.8 Given his commercial and social ties in Montreal, Astor initially sought a joint- venture with the North West Company in order to head-off future competition with the formidable institution. During his trip to Montreal in the summer of 1809, Astor proposed that the North West Company take a one-third share in his future enterprise to the Columbia and in return Astor would buy a half-share of the NWC subsidiary, the Michilimackinac Company.9 Negotiations with the North West Company dragged on for a year, from 1809 through 1810, before the Montreal partners finally decided to pursue their own plans to expand operations into the Columbia country despite the affirmative vote of the wintering partners at Fort William to accept Astor's offer. A year prior to approaching the Montreal traders, Astor had begun making overtures to the administration of President Thomas Jefferson. Although Jefferson ultimately declined to provide either financial or military support to Astor's enterprise, Astor pushed forward and began laying plans for the establishment of the Pacific Fur Company in the spring of 1809.10 Astor hired Wilson Price Hunt, a St. Louis merchant, as the organizing partner, and signed partnerships with several former Northwesters in Montreal, including John Clarke, Duncan McDougall, Alexander McKay, Donald McKenzie, David Stuart, and Robert Stuart. Ronda, 39; D. W. Meinig, The Great Columbia Plain, 2nd ed., (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995), 48. 9 Ronda, 55. 1 0 Edgeley W. Todd produced a scholarly edition of Washington Irving's classic account of the Astorian enterprise. See Washington Irving, Astoria, or Anecdotes of an Enterprise Beyond the Rocky Mountains, edited by Edgeley W. Todd (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964). For overviews of Irving's method and contribution as a historian, see Todd's introduction in that volume and Richard Dilworth Rust's introduction, Washington Irving, Astoria, or Anecdotes of an Enterprise Beyond the Rocky Mountains (New York: G.K. Hall & Co., 1976; rpt; Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982), xxi-xxxiv. For discussions of the narrative conventions of Jacksonian era writing present in Irving's Astoria, see I.S. MacLaren, "Washington Irving's Problems with History and Romance in Astoria," CRAS 21:1 (Summer 1990): 1-14; and Alan Leander MacGregor, '"Lords of the Ascendant:' Mercantile Biography and Irving's Astoria," CRAS 21:1 Summer 1990): 15-30. 66 Arrangements were made for ships, financing and supplies, and Hunt set about hiring clerks and voyageurs for the expedition. By 1810 the Pacific Fur Company expedition was set to begin its journey to the Columbia River. Astor sent three groups to the Northwest Coast, one by land and two by sea. (see Appendix 1, Pacific Fur Company Personnel in Oregon, 1811-1814). The first contingent aboard the Tonquin left New York harbor on September 6, 1810 and arrived at the mouth of the Columbia on March 22, 1811 1 1 After spending several weeks crossing the Columbia bar and searching for a post site, the four partners aboard the Tonquin (McKay, McDougall, and the Stuarts) settled on a site on the south shore of the estuary near present- day Smith point (then known to the Astorians by the British name, Point George), located in the territory of the Clatsop, a Lower Chinookan group. The Astorians embarked at the site on April 12, 1811, and the next day began construction of Fort Astoria. While the laborers and clerks built the fort, the partners set to work cementing trade relationships with the Lower Chinookans, the local Clatsop, and the Chinook-proper, who lived on the north shore, and with various Upper Chinookan groups living several miles farther upstream, including the Cathlamet and Wakicum. In keeping with the PFC's strategy of establishing trading posts farther inland, several parties of Astorians set out on exploratory trips along the Columbia River and its tributaries over the course of the next year. The overland party under the command of Wilson Price Hunt and Donald McKenzie journeyed from Montreal to St. Louis over the summer of 1810, engaging additional 1 1 Robert F. Jones, Annals of Astoria: The Headquarters Log of the Pacific Fur Company on the Columbia River, 1811-1813 (New York: Fordham University Press, 1999), 1-3. 1 2 Jones, 4-10; Ronda, 197-201. 1 3 Jones, 12-13. 67 voyageurs at Michilimackinac. Delayed in St. Louis while seeking additional men, supplies and boats, the overland party did not leave the city until October 1810. After spending the winter of 1810-1811 near the mouth of the Nodaway River in present-day Andrew County, Missouri, the overland expedition began its long, troubled trek across the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains to the Columbia region. A party of sixty-four departed the Arikara villages in the Upper Missouri country in mid-July 1811. This next leg of the journey was arduous, beset by many hardships, including bad weather, hunger, illness, leadership quarrels between Hunt and McKenzie, ill-fated navigational decisions, and personal tragedy. Five members became separated or left the expedition, and another five were killed en route to Astoria. The remaining fifty-four overlanders, broken into smaller groups, finally reached Fort Astoria between January and February 1812.14 The third group of Astorians departed from New York aboard the Beaver on October 13, 1811, and arrived at Astoria on May 10, 1812. This party consisted of twenty-six individuals: partner John Clark, five clerks, fifteen artisans and laborers, and six French Canadian voyageurs.15 The Beaver brought much needed news, supplies and trade goods to the Astorians, who had not had contact with Astor since leaving New York and Montreal in 1810. Astorians in the Willamette Valley, 1812-1813 1 4 Washington Irving provides an extended description of the overland party's travails in Astoria, 119-329. For a more succinct treatment, see Ronda, 116-195; Jones, 68. 1 5 Seton, 30. 68 Researchers have previously concluded that PFC partner Robert Stuart led the first Astorian party to reconnoiter the Willamette Valley in December 1811 1 6 This conclusion is based upon just one source, clerk Gabriel Franchere's published journal of the PFC enterprise. However, the recent publication of the Fort Astoria log and the journal of clerk Alfred Seton, both previously unpublished, provide compelling evidence that the first group of Euro-Americans to venture into the Willamette Valley above the falls was in fact Donald McKenzie's expedition in the spring of 1812. An in-depth discussion of this new evidence can be found in Appendix 2, The First Astorian to the Willamette Valley. Donald McKenzie's party set out for the Willamette Valley on March 31, 1812 with clerk William Wallace Matthews, and six laborers in two canoes.17 After portaging Willamette Falls, the group spent over a month exploring the valley, ranging more than 100 miles south from the mouth of the Willamette River to its upper forks. This party was well armed to resist possible attacks from the Natives; however, no conflicts were recorded in the valley above the falls.18 The most serious concern recorded by the Astorian chroniclers was an unnamed illness that struck the crew and forced Mackenzie to turn back before exploring the headwaters of the Willamette River and the Upper Umpqua watershed.19 It should be noted here that McKenzie sometimes adopted a confrontational and retaliatory attitude in 1 6 Ronda, 238; See W. Kaye Lamb's footnote #1, page 96 in Gabriel Franchere, Journal of a Voyage on the North West Coast of North America during the Years 1811, 1812, 1813, and 1814, edited by W. Kaye Lamb, translated by Wessie Tipping Lamb (Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1969), 96; Fred S. Perrine, "Early Days on the Willamette," OHQ 15:4 (December 1914), 303; Ff. H . Bancroft, History of the Northwest Coast, vol. 2, (San Francisco: A.L. Bancroft & Co., 1884), 177. 17Jones, 79; Franchere, 112. 1 8 Alexander Ross records a rather vague account of a "slight quarrel" between French Canadian Joseph Gervais and some Upper Chinookan villagers at the mouth of the Willamette. Gervais was reported to have beaten a Native man, for which his fellow villagers sought revenge. Donald McKenzie apparently used a ruse to escape a possible confrontation with the villagers. See Ross, Adventures, 231-233. 1 9 Philip Ashton Rollins, ed., The Discovery of the Oregon Trail: Robert Stuart's Narratives of His Overland trip Eastward from Astorian 1812-13 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1935), 32. Fred S. Perrine concluded that Donald McKenzie stopped at the east fork of the Willamette Valley, now known as McKenzie River. See Perrine, "Early Days," 303. 69 dealing with perceived injustices from Native peoples along the Columbia River and in the Plateau region. It appears then, that if the Kalapuyans had adopted a similarly confrontational attitude in response to the arrival of the Euro-American strangers into the Willamette Valley, McKenzie likely would have met such a confrontation directly forcefully. Although L. J. Burpee celebrates Mackenzie's boldness in dealing with the Native peoples of the Columbia and the Plateau, the fur trader's actions can be alternatively interpreted as poor diplomacy based on bullying tactics. Burpee's interpretation, dating from 1919, is thus more reflective of a celebratory, imperialist tradition of Canadian historiography. In Robert Stuart's travel memoranda, he wrote that Mckenzie reported that the 21 Kalapuyans' "behaviour to him was respectful and obliging in the extreme." William Wallace Matthews remembered that the McKenzie party was the first group of Euro- Americans that the Indians of the Willamette Valley had ever encountered. He describes the Kalapuyans as timid and friendly in their dealings with the Astorians. This may be due to the fact that the Kalapuyans had experience with outside groups making forays into the valley for the purpose of hunting the local game. Matthews mentioned that Kalapuyans told the Astorians about the "Shoeshoonees," a Native group on horseback from beyond the valley who would occasionally "extend their incursions into this part of the country," which would cause "the inhabitants to seek safety in the woods." Stuart also refers to the "Shonshonas," a variation on the term "Shonshone," which Lewis and Clark had employed six years before to describe the Natives of the Willamette Valley. Here "Shonshone" might refer to Northern Shoshone and Bannock bands from southern Idaho, or the Western Shoshone from 2 0 L . J. Burpee, "A Forgotten Adventure of the Fur Trade," Queen's Quarterly 26:4 (April-June 1919), 368-369. 2 1 Rollins, 33. 22Jesse S. Douglas, ed. "Matthews' Adventures on the Columbia: A Pacific Fur Company Document." OHQ 40:2 (June 1939), 126. 70 northeastern Nevada. However, since the northern Paiute were the closest mounted Great Basin group, living east of the Cascade Mountains in present-day southeastern Oregon, they may also have ranged into the Willamette Valley in search of wild game. The valley's landscape and its flora and fauna appear to have made a singular impression upon the Astorians. Since Stuart's words are the first recorded for the Euro- American newcomers, I quote the passage in full: The country to the Falls resembles that on the main River, but from then upward, it is delightful beyond expression, the bottoms are composed of an excellent soil thinly covered with Cottonwood [black Walnut, Birch, Hazel] & Alder & White Oaks, Ash, and the adjoining Hills are gently undulating, with a sufficiency of Pines to give variety to the most beautiful Landscape in nature - the bottoms are inhabited by innumerable herds of Elk, and the Uplands are equally overstocked by Deer and Bear - Few or no Fish are found in its waters above, & the Salmon [& Sturgeon] ascend no farther than the foot of the Falls, this want is however well compensated for, by the incredible numbers of Beaver who inhabit its banks which exceeds (from all accounts) any thing yet discovered on [either side of] Continental America.23 McKenzie's party returned to Astoria on May 11, 1812 with the beaver they had trapped. McKenzie gave a "favourable" report on the valley, noting that "game, beaver, and fish abound there."24 Like the Cowlitz Valley, the Willamette Valley would prove a useful hunting ground for the Astorians, providing beaver pelts and needed food stores. In the fall of 1812, the partners at Fort Astoria decided to send a larger group to winter in the Willamette Valley with the tasks of collecting furs and procuring needed venison, while also reducing the number of mouths to feed at Fort Astoria. On November 20, 1812, preparations began in earnest for the group's departure. Clerks William Wallace and 2 3 Rollins, 32. 2 4 Franchere, 116; "An account of events at Fort Astoria during more than one year (1811-1812)," in Rollins, 280. This account, published by John Jacob Astor in France in the review Nouvelle Annates des Voyages in 1821, was based on company documents and the journals of the Astorians, including that of Wilson Price Hunt. Hunt's diary was apparently lost after Washington Irving used it as a source for his Astoria, or Anecdotes of an Enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains (1836). Phillip Rollins has included an English translation of the account in as Appendix A. The Fort Astoria logbook records a similar "satisfactory account" given by McKenzie on the resources of the Willamette Valley, see Jones, 89. 71 From Hussey, Champoeg: Place of Transition. Reprinted with permission from the Oregon Historical Society Press. This map, produced by the Oregon State Highway Commission in the 1960s, is a modern map based on historical sources. 72 John C. Halsey commanded the party that left Astoria in two canoes on November 24, 9S 1812." The group also included John Day, "two Indian Hunters [Ignace and Dorion] with their families, and twelve men." On December 20, 1812, a company of Cathlamet Chinookans recently arrived at Fort Astoria to trade fresh salmon reported that the Astorians 97 had safely portaged the falls and arrived at their final destination. Upon their arrival in the mid Willamette Valley, the Astorians set to work constructing a house, later named Wallace House, on an upland prairie on the eastern bank, approximately fifty miles from the mouth of the Willamette River. Testimony given by Nathaniel J. Wyeth in 1832 and later historical research indicate that Wallace House was located near the territorial line between the Ahantchuyuk and Santiam Kalapuyans, on the 9R southern boundary of French Prairie (at the north end of the present-day town of Salem). During their winter and spring months spent in the Willamette Valley, the Astorians trapped beaver, hunted wild game, and traded with the Kalapuyans for additional foodstuffs. They may have ranged as far south as the Upper Umpqua watershed, home to the Yoncalla Kalapuyans and the Upper Umpqua. Alexander Ross suggests this when he remarks that the "finest hunting ground on the Walamette is toward the Imp-qua."29 Back at Fort Astoria, partners Duncan McDougall and Donald Mackenzie determined that they needed to relieve pressure on the company's food stores at Astoria. Over the course of the winter, the partners sent several parties out to forage, and established rationing at Astoria. On January 31, 1813, the partners authorized "a treat" to be given to those headed 2 5 Jones, 136-137. Franchere gives November 23 as the departure date, see Franchere, 116. 2 6 Jones, 137. 2 7 Jones, 140. The Cathlamat had received their information from some of their people who had recently returned from the Willamette Valley. They also erroneously reported that one of the Astorians had been killed by a "White Bear" (a grizzly). 2 8 Franchere, 118; Perrine, 305-311; J. Neilson Barry, "Site of Wallace House, 1812-1814," OHQ 42:3 (September 1941): 206-207. 2 9 Ross, 231. 73 for the Willamette, perhaps to raise morale amongst the men. The "effects of the [men's] frolic" was felt the next day. Two days later on February 2, 1813, a second party, which consisted of clerks John Reed, Alfred Seton, and Thomas McKay, two trappers, and thirteen men, departed for the Willamette Valley. Although there is apparently no surviving account of the Astorians' initial residence in the Willamette Valley, the Astoria logbook does record a curious attempt by the Chinook 31 headman, Comcomly, to influence the Astorians' intercourse with the Kalapuyans. Early in the forenoon on February 13, 1812, Comcomly crossed the Columbia River in a small canoe, bringing a few eulachon fish for trade. However, as PFC partner Duncan McDougall noted in the post journal, the real reason for his visit was to communicate "a most sorrowful account concerning Messr. Wallace, Halsey & party whom he says are all destroyed by the natives inhabiting that part of the country where they had settled themselves."32 According to Comcomly, he was simply repeating a story transmitted by the Upper Chinookan Cathlakamaps (or Cathlahcumpus), whose village was located at the southern end of Multnomah Channel near the channel's entry into the Willamette River. The Kalapuyans in Comcomly's tale are particularly treacherous. They decide to rid themselves of the Astorians soon after the newcomers' arrival in the Willamette Valley, accomplishing their objective through duplicity. They appear friendly, offering the Astorians advice on where to search for the coveted beaver. Once the Astorians are isolated from each other at different trapping locations, the Kalapuyans then ambush the Astorians in small groups. Comcomly, "with much earnestness," assured those at Fort Astoria that his account 3 0 Jones, 151. 3 1 Alfred Seton journal's only begins to record his experiences in the Willamette Valley in July 1813. He had abandoned his journal for an interval of fifteen months, from May 1812 to July 1813. 3 2 Jones, 155. 74 was true. He even emphasized his own sorrow at this sad tale, insisting that the news of the oo disaster, coupled with the news of a relative's recent death had "kept him crying for days." Later that day, a Clatsop man, who had previously worked for the Astorians as an interpreter, visited Fort Astoria. He, however, presented a rather different version of the fate of the Wallace and Halsey party. On this man's recent trip down the Columbia, he had not heard that the Willamette Valley party had been harmed, but that some unnamed Natives had formulated plans to "cut them off."34 The Clatsop man apparently did not want to contradict Comcomly, so he added that the Chinook headman's accounts "were undoubtedly true and everything would take place as he had mentioned." Alarmed at possible violence against the Wallace and Halsey party, McDougall dispatched a messenger to clerk Gabriel Franchere and his fishing party encamped at Oak Point, near the Upper Chinookan village of Qaniak, located on the south shore of the Columbia. McDougall ordered Franchere to visit the Cathlakamaps further upstream and ascertain the accuracy of Comcomly's information. If there was truth to Concomly's story, Franchere was to enlist the support of the headman Casino to send some of his villagers to warn the Reed and Seton party, which had set out for the Willamette Valley on February 2, 1813.36 After contacting the Cathlakamaps headman Casino, Franchere sent word back to Fort Astoria that Comcomly's tale about violence in the Willamette Valley was unfounded, "only a fabrication of some of the Indians."37 Franchere himself makes no reference to this Jones, 155. Jones, 155. Jones, 155. Jones, 156. Jones, 158. 75 incident in his narrative, noting that the reason for his trip upstream on February 13 was to T O procure sturgeon for Astoria. On February 27, 1813, a fortnight after his previous visit, Comcomly returned to Fort Astoria with further news of the Willamette Valley expeditions. It seems that his original information had been incorrect, and so he related a second version of the Astorians' encounters with the Kalapuyans, this one replete with dramatic elements, including thievery, cross-cultural conflict, inter-tribal negotiations, and gift-giving. I quote the passage at length to give a flavor of Comcomly's storytelling as filtered through Duncan McDougall: It so happened at the establishment of the party that all hands were sent out to bring in meat of Elk and Deer (of which they had killed a great number) leaving only two S.[andwich] Islanders in charge of the store. During their absence the natives near at hand, in considerable numbers (whom he denominated Calapoyas) visited the place and finding only those two to guard it, rob'd and took away all the principal goods, as Blankets, Cloths, etc., etc., without offering any violence to the 2 S. Islanders, who probably being overpowered in numbers made no resistance. On the return of Wallace & party he, with most of his number repaired immediately to the lodges of the Indians in order to secure the goods, who, instead of offering to return them, were all assembled with Bows & arrows ready for an assault. On discovering this movement, the whites proceeded instantly amongst them, seized some and broke their bows or cut the strings, wich [sic] brought on a general scuffle. Wallace's party it appeared had taken the precaution to load their Muskets with Powder only, and on perceiving the extremity to which they were reduced fired among the Indians which instantly frightened & dispersed them, and greater part of the goods were obtained. Ka-es-no, the Chief of the Cathlakamaps, hearing of what had taken place repaired immediately to the Calapoya, harangued them, pointed out the great impropriety of such conduct & the consequences that would follow, told them in what manner himself & other chiefs on the river treated the whites & the goods effects arising from it, and exhorted them without delay to return the remaining articles stolen. After hearing him, they followed his counsel, the things were all brought, and him (Kaesno) charged as mediator to return them & make up the breach. For which services Wallace had rewarded him with 2 fathoms Blue Cloth, 2 Wool Hats, and two Blankets. This would appear had been performed by Kaesno & the news reached Comcomly, since Mr. Franchere was up to his village.39 In response to this latest report from Comcomly, on March 1, 1813 McDougall sent three men to recontact Gabriel Franchere at Oak Point (Qaniak). They were to instruct him to Franchere, 118. Jones, 160. 76 make a second inquiry amongst the Cathlakamaps about the veracity of Comcomly's stories, and if necessary, to ask the headman Casino to send a party for some written word from William Wallace.40 Franchere arrived back at Fort Astoria on March 8th. He had visited the Cathlakamaps the previous week and reported that the "story last received from Comcomly proves wholly without foundation." In fact, Casino knew nothing about the story. Rather than hold Comcomly responsible for the fabrication, McDougall attributed the deception to "some artful Indians," who wished to disrupt the close relations between the Euro-Americans and the Chinooks.41 i On March 18, 1813 John Reed and Alfred Seton and the other members of their party returned to Astoria from Wallace House. They confirmed that the stories about conflict with the Kalapuyans were quite untrue. In fact, They live upon very amicable terms with the natives, who visit them daily & trade roots (their only article of trade) for meat. Indeed, they seem so far from having a wish to pillage their goods that they seemed to look with more desire upon the contents of the provision store than that of the goods, were the Bales still remain in the same state as when they took them in. 4 2 The fictitious Kalapuyans in Comcomly's story are ignorant, duplicitous, violent, and above all, desirous of European trade goods and technology. In contrast, the documented encounters between the Kalapuyans and the Astorians during the winter of 1812-13 indicate that the Kalapuyans remained quite comfortable with their own technology and products, exhibiting a limited interest in European trade goods. This suggests that thirty years of indirect contact following the rise of the maritime fur trade did not appear to have greatly impacted the Kalapuyans. In addition, since they were hunter-gatherers and the Astorians met them during Jones, 161. Jones, 162. Jones, 165. 77 the long winter months, which would be the season the Kalapuyans would most likely face hunger, it is not surprising that their main interest was securing additional foodstuffs. In light of the fictitious nature of Comcomly's tales and the discrepancy between his depiction of the Kalapuyans and the Astorians' experiences in the Willamette Valley, what explains Comcomly's ruse? Perhaps it is best to read Comcomly's words as a warning to the Astorians. Since the late eighteenth century, Lower Chinookans at the mouth of the Columbia River, and in particular, Comcomly and his people, the Chinook-proper, had played a prominent role as middlemen in the maritime fur trade along the Columbia River. Utilizing the aboriginal trade networks that extended inland to the Plateau region, Comcomly and the Chinook, had increased their wealth, power, and prestige in the Columbia country. The Astorians' strategy of establishing inland posts to trade directly with Native groups was therefore a threat to Comcomly's economic and social position. The logbook at Fort Astoria details Comcomly's initial responses to this shift from a maritime to an overland fur trade, and his ongoing efforts to retain control of the lucrative trade along the Columbia River corridor. For example, on August 23, 1811, four months after the Astorians' arrival in the Columbia, Duncan McDougall noted that a party of Chehalis, a southwestern Coast Salish people who lived northeast of the Columbia estuary, visited Fort Astoria. When asked why they did not regularly travel to the fort to trade furs, the Chehalis replied that they had been "cautioned by the Chinooks, against coming, as we were very inveterate against their Nation, for their conduct to former Visetors [sic] they did not wish to put themselves in our power." McDougall assured the Chehalis that this was "an egregious falsehood imposed upon them by the Chinooks, merely to monopolize the Trade."43 Jones, 44. 78 In response to the Astorians' threat to trump Comcomly's control of trade networks to the Willamette Valley, Comcomly sought to play upon the Astorians' fears of being attacked by poorly-known Natives. His tales are in fact more reflective of Euro-American encounters with Upper Chinookan groups in the Columbia River corridor from the Dalles to the Cascades.44 Beginning with the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805-06, and continuing with the Pacific Fur Company, relations between the newcomers and the Natives peoples along this stretch of the river were often fraught with tension, violence, and "thievery."45 The basis for this mutual misunderstanding was the Euro-Americans' unfamiliarity with the riverine Indians' customs of gift-exchange, tribute, and established kinship ties that afforded distant and neighboring groups access rights to the Columbia River corridor. For the Upper Chinookans along the river from the Cascades and the Dalles, these traditions were not only important social and cultural practices, they were also essential to their economy by providing them with goods, services, marriage partners, and slaves via the great trade that flowed to the lower Columbia from the Plateau, and vice versa. Like the Lower Chinookans at the river's mouth, the Upper Chinookans exploited their geographic position to their advantage. However, the Euro-Americans—first the Lewis and Clark expedition and the later Astorians—understood waterways as open transportation routes in keeping with customary Western European legal principles. They did not recognize local Native notion of territorial rights, and the need to exchange gifts or establish kinship ties in order to have access rights through a group's territory, especially when that territory included 4 4 For a rendering of Upper Chinookan villages and ethnic affiliations of this part of the Columbia River, see David Ff. French and Katherine S. French, "Wasco, Wishram, and Cascades," in Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 12, Plateau, edited by Deward E. Walker (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1998), 362- 363. 4 5 Alexander Henry the Younger, The Journal of Alexander Henry the Younger, edited by Barry H. Gough, vol. 2 (Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1992); James Rhonda, Lewis and Clark among the Indians (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984; rpt; 2002), 163-213; David Thompson, David Thompson's Narrative, 1784-1812, edited by Richard Glover (Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1962). 7 9 an important waterway.46 Here it is important to note that the Euro-Americans' inability to recognize the tribute, or toll, expected by the Upper Chinookans at the Cascades and the Dalles was also a result of the Euro-Americans' historical experience east of the Rocky Mountains. In the Canadian and Midwestern watersheds, fur traders did not regularly encounter Native groups that exacted tributes for river traffic through their territories.47 In the second, modified tale, Comcomly portrayed the Kalapuyans as perhaps slightly less violent, but still quite ignorant of how to cultivate the proper relations with "the whites." As a result, the Cathlakamaps headman Casino journeyed to the upper Willamette Valley to instruct the Kalapuyans on proper fur trade etiquette, and arrange a peace between the Natives and newcomers. In both cases, Comcomly employed storytelling to educate the Astorians on the need to cultivate trade relations using the established aboriginal trade and kinship links. If not, the Astorians would run the risk of conflicts with the less savvy Natives of the Willamette Valley, much like the fur traders had encountered in the Columbia River corridor. This interpretation of Comcomly's ruse is in keeping with the lower Columbian cultural norms and geopolitics of the early nineteenth century; as well with Cicely's own character as a shrewd political leader ever vigilant about safeguarding his own interests and those of his people. Ultimately, Cicely's diplomatic ruse did not prevent the Astorians from establishing direct contact with interior Native groups. This was a result of the fur traders' determination to implement the logistical strategy long practiced by French colonial coureurs de bois and 4 6 John Phillip Reid offers a case study of the differing legal traditions of the Euro-Americans and the Oregon Country Indian peoples, see "Restraint of Vengeance: Retaliation-in-Kind and the Use of Indian Law in the Old Oregon Country," Oregon Historical Quarterly 95:1 (Spring 1994): 48-92. Reid offers additional examples of the cross-cultural miscommunication that resulted in conflictual, often violent relations between the Chinookans of the Columbia River in Patterns of Vengeance: Crosscultural Homicide in the North American Fur Trade (Pasadena, CA: Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, 1999). 4 7 Reid, Patterns, 154. 4 8 J. F. Santee, "Comcomly and the Chinooks," OHQ 33:3 (September 1932), 271. 80 Montreal-based fur traders which entailed collecting furs at interior posts and then transporting those pelts to a central depot (here Fort Astoria) using a brigade system. However, as the episode demonstrates, the Astorians operated within the constraints of an aboriginal geopolitical system. While local leaders such as Comcomly sought to adapt to changes in the developing economic system, the Astorians continued to rely on Natives for trade, labor, and information. Clearly outnumbered in the Columbia Country, the fur traders remained in a vulnerable position, as evidenced by McDougall's alarm over the possibility of Native aggression contained in Comcomly's stories.49 The geography of the Willamette River at the falls was such that the local Native groups had the potential to disrupt the Euro- Americans' activities in the valley as had their Upper Chinookan relations in the Columbia River corridor. Indeed Comcomly's tales might be viewed as a prelude of eventual tensions between Euro-Americans and Natives over resources and access rights in the Willamette Valley. During the early 1810s, the Astorians continued to trap, hunt, and trade in the valley, viewing the region "as a vast commons, a spacious arena free and open to newcomers, irrespective of the presence and cultural worlds of natives people"50 Although there is one recorded violent incident between Euro-Americans and the Kalapuyans of Willamette Valley in mid December, 1813—with the fur trappers in question retreating rather than returning fire— the various Kalapuyan groups of the Willamette Valley and their neighbors downstream do not 4 9 For a larger discussion of the fiir traders' vulnerability in the Columbia region during this early period, see Mathias David Bergman, "Crosscultural Interactions, Interdependencies, and Insecurities in the Lower Columbia River Valley Frontier, 1810-1855," (MA thesis, Washington State University, 2000), 32-86. 5 0 William G. Robbins, "Introduction," to Ross, Adventures, xiii. 81 appear to have prevented the Euro-Americans from trapping in the valley for the first several years of their presence in the region.51 Upon their return to Astoria in March 1813, John Reed and Alfred Seton reported that the parties sent to the Willamette Valley to forage for their own food did quite well there because of the availability of wild game. The experienced hunters in their group were able to provide a continual supply of meat for all the men. Reed and Seton also confirmed the presence of beaver, but indicated that the trappers were having difficulty capturing the animals due to the "frequent rising & falling of the River, which overflows its banks almost with every shower."52 On June 2, 1813, William Wallace and John Halsey returned with their party to Fort Astoria.53 The party consisted of twenty-six people, including laborers, hunters, and their families. They spent over seven months in the Willamette Valley and returned with nineteen bales of dried meat and seventeen packs of beaver pelts (roughly 45 pelts per pack). The PFC inventory for the trapping expedition records this as 621 beaver skins, seven land otter pelts, and 154 beaver skins from the freemen Alexander Carson and Pierre Dulaunay.54 William Wallace reported that he had led exploring parties to the southern tip of the Willamette Valley, nearly to the source of the river. Beaver were abundant throughout the valley, but he noted nothing of additional importance about the physical geography of the valley. 51Seton, 135. 5 2 Jones, 165. 53Jones, 186. Franchere places their return to Astoria at the end of May, Franchere, 119. The Pacific Fur Company Inventory for McKay's [Willamette River] lists the return as June 1, 1813, see Porter, John Jacob Astor, 531. 54Jones, 186; Porter, John Jacob Astor, 531. Alexander Carson and Pierre Duluanay had joined the overland Pacific Fur Company expedition in the Upper Missouri Country around May 11, 1811. They left the company in September 1811 and thereafter contracted as free trappers. See Kenneth Wiggins Porter, "Roll of Overland Astorians, 1819-1812," O//043:2 (June 1933): 101-112. 82 The attitudes of the PFC's officer class toward the Kalapuyans are most clearly articulated in the reports of clerk William Wallace and the narrative of Alexander Ross. Although Ross demonstrates a more complex viewpoint, both men perceived the Kalapuyans through the lens of Euro-American cultural values. As hunter-gatherer society practicing a complex subsistence economy, the valley Natives appeared less advanced, less productive, and less wealthy than the mounted hunters of the Plateau and Plains.55 William Wallace expressed views more negative than those his colleagues Halsey and Seton, referring to the Indians of the Willamette Valley as a "set of poverty-strick beings, totally ignorant of hunting Furs and scarce capable of procuring their own subsistence."56 Clearly, the Kalapuyans' disinterest in trapping beaver was a source of frustration for the Astorians. In his memoirs written during the 1840s, Alexander Ross devotes a short passage on the first encounters between the Astorians and the Kalapuyans of the Willamette Valley, classifying them as the "great nation" of the "Col-lap-poh-yea-ass," which likely alludes to the size of their population in the 1810s. Like Wallace, Ross saw the Kalapuyans as terribly poor in a land exceedingly rich in natural and animal resources. He describes them as an "indolent and sluggish race."57 Ross relates their apparent lack of productivity to their "minimal" needs. The Kalapuyans were ostensibly able to meet their subsistence needs with little exertion, so in Ross' eyes, their society produced little of value. What they do accomplish Ross attributes to leadership of local headmen. Ross, like other fur trappers, expressed annoyance at the Kalapuyans' behavior in response to the Astorian hunting parties. Rather than leave the Astorians to their prey, the Natives immediately responded to the sound 5 5 Elizabeth Vibert, Traders Tales: Narratives of Cultural Encounters in the Columbia Plateau, 1807-1846 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997), 119-126. 5 6 Jones, 186. 5 7 Ross, Adventures, 230. 5 8 Ross misidentifies the Cathlakamaps headman Casino as a Kalapuyan leader. Ross, Adventures, 230. 83 of gunfire, following the "sound like a swarm of bees, and feast and gormandize on the offal of the game, like so many vultures round a dead carcass."59 At this point in their relations with the Kalapuyans, the fur traders did not weigh the impact of their hunting and trapping on the Indians' local resources.60 While hunting would deplete the Kalapuyans' wild game resources, beaver trapping would greatly alter the local ecosystem by affecting surface water. Alfred Seton, like the other Astorians who wrote about the Willamette Valley, was impressed by both the physical landscape, and the natural resources available. In describing the Willamette Valley as a prime location for Euro-American settlement, Seton noted that the Kalapuyans were "peaceable," which would make the area all the more appealing.61 He believed that the Willamette Valley was an ideal place for American settlement, given the open prairies, the wild games, and the proximity of the river for transport and travel. This was the notion echoed by Alexander Ross when he wrote that the "Willamitte quarter has always been considered by the whites as the garden of the Columbia, particularly in an agricultural view, and certain animals of the chace."63 During the mid-summer months of 1813, the activities of the Astorians quickened in anticipation of sending an overland party eastward to update Astor in New York. As a result, several trading parties were sent out to various Native trade marts to gather the needed food stores for the overland party's journey, this in addition to keeping a supply of food and furs flowing into Astoria. Several additional groups were dispatched throughout the summer on short forays to the Willamette Valley. By mid-summer, Duncan McDougall began to consider selling the Pacific Fur Company to the North West Company. On July 1, 1813, he 5 9 Ross, Adventures, 230. 6 0 Jones, 186, footnote #71. 6 1 Seton, 122. 6 2 Seton, 121-122. 6 3 Ross, Adventures, 228. 84 sent another party back to the Willamette Valley "to spend the season hunting & await the arrival of Mr. [Donald] McKenzie in a few weeks."64 The party included Alfred Seton, nine engages, three hunters, and a youth named Guillaume [William] Perrault. On July 1,1813 Alfred Seton and William Wallace set out again with another hunting party to the Willamette. They passed a month of intense hunting to gather stocks for the winter, from July 5 to August 4, on which date Seton and four others returned to Astoria with 33 bales of dried meat.65 On August 10, 1813, Seton returned to Wallace house. From July 6 through July 16, 1813, a small party from Astoria spent time in the Willamette "trading for provisions."66 This group included clerks Thomas McKay and John Halsey. They may have gone only a far as the Willamette Falls, for when they returned, they brought back dried salmon, some fresh salmon, and a few elk skins.67 By September 15, 1813, Seton and his party were back at Fort Astoria. On October 10, 1813 the group of Astorians set off up the Columbia, but along the way they met a large contingent of Northwesters and they, along with the Northwesters, returned to Astoria to determine the fate of the Pacific Fur Company. The North West Company on the Columbia The North West Company was the most prominent successor to the French fur trade developed during the French colonial regime. This system relied on the St. Lawrence River, the Great Lakes, and a chain of fur trade posts extending westward into the Canadian Shield. Following the defeat of the French in 1760, and the separation of North America into British and American spheres of influence after the Revolutionary War (1776-1781), British- 6 4 Jones, 198. 6 5 Seton, 116. 6 6 Jones, 200. 6 7 Jones, 202. 85 American and Anglo-Celtic traders and merchants came to dominant the fur trade flowing through Montreal. Several competing merchants and traders joined forces to found the North West Company ( N W C ) in 1783. A t the time the company was a straightforward partnership with sixteen shares. Not a chartered institution, it is best described as a "common-law company," a type of business customary in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. 6 8 Over the course of the next several decades the N W C underwent several structural changes, including the coming and goings of partners, increases in the number of shares, and a remarkable geographic expansion. The N W C continued to face competition from its main rival, the Hudson Bay 's Company, as well as threats from smaller splinter enterprises such as X Y Company and American companies and traders operating in the Great Lakes, and Upper Missouri Country. Many of the well-known Canadian explorers and cartographers from this period were connected with the N W C , including Simon Fraser and David Thompson. With the reunion of the X Y Company with the North West Company in 1804, the company partners turned their attention with renewed vigor to extending the fur trade beyond the Rocky Mountains. 6 9 The Northwesters also sought a water route from the North American interior to the Pacific Ocean, which would allow access to fur markets in China, and thereby reduce the high operating costs associated with the N W C ' s long supply lines to Montreal . 7 0 Although Simon Fraser's three-year expedition (1805-1807) through present-day British Columbia proved that the Fraser River was not navigable to the Pacific, he did succeed in expanding the company's chain of forts west of the Rockies. In 1806 David 6 8 Gordon Charles Davidson, The North West Company (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1918; rpt; New York: Russell and Russell, 1967), 13; W. Stewart Wallace, ed., Documents Relating to the Northwest Company (Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1934), 4-12. 6 9 After 1802, the X Y was officially known as "Sir Alexander Mackenzie and Company." See Russell Anthony Pendergast, "The X Y Company, 1798-1804," (Ph.D diss., University of Ottawa, 1957), 37. 7 0 H. Lloyd Keith, North of Athabasca: Slave Lake and Mackenzie River Documents of the North West Company, 1800-1821 (Montreal: McGill-Queen's Press, 2001), 10. 86 Thompson set out to continue expanding the fur trade westward and reconnoitered a water route via the Columbia to the coast. Over the next five years, Thompson mapped the Columbia River, founded additional fur trade posts in the region, and located overland two passes (Howe and Athabasca) across the Rockies.71 The explorer and a crew of eight men subsequently arrived at Fort Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia on July 15, 1811. There Thompson informed McDougall about a prior decision by the NWC wintering partners at Fort William to support Astor's initial offer of a joint venture by the PFC and the NWC. However, Thompson's information was outdated, as the Montreal-based owners had decided 79 instead to aggressively compete with the PFC in the Columbia River basin. By the summer of 1812 preparations were underway for additional expeditions to the lower Columbia region. London representatives of the NWC in communication with British officials argued that if the PFC proceeded unopposed on the Columbia River, the American company, and thus the American state, would control trade along the great river of the west. While John Jacob Astor failed to secure assistance for his Columbian enterprise due to British naval superiority and a blockade of American ports, the Northwesters were able to garner some support from the British government. Here a crucial element was the outbreak of war between the U.S. and Britain in June 1812, which convinced the British government to send the frigate H.M.S. Phoebe to accompany the NWC ship the Isaac Todd on its voyage to the Columbia River. The two vessels departed Portsmouth, England on March 25, 1813. This maritime expedition was beset with problems while en route; however, the H.M.S. Racoon did arrive at Fort Astorian in place of the Phoebe on November 30, 1813. The Isaac Todd 7 1 Ronda, 23. 7 2 Ronda, 59-64; Jones, 33. 87 finally reached the Columbia on April 23, 1814, thirteen months after her original departure.73 While the Isaac Todd took longer than expected to reach the Columbia River, news of her voyage preceded her. In mid January 1813, Donald McKenzie and his party arrived at Fort Astoria from their post on the Clearwater River with word of the Isaac Todd and the outbreak of hostilities between the United States and Great Britain. Mackenzie had learned of these developments a few weeks earlier while visiting John Clarke's party stationed at Fort Spokane. The news originally came from Northwester John George McTavish, who met the Astorians at Fort Spokane in late December 1812. By the early spring of 1813, it appears both McDougall and Mackenzie believed the PFC enterprise should be abandoned. The partners' concerns increased with the arrival of the group of eighteen Northwesters headed by McTavish, Joseph Laroque, and Michel Bourdon at Astoria on April 11, 1813.74 The military backing of the British government, coupled with Astor's inability to resupply Astoria and the strong presence of the Northwesters, effectively isolated the PFC and led to the Astorians' decision to sell their company to the NWC partners in 1813. The four PFC partners present at Astoria in the summer of 1812, Duncan McDougall, Donald Mackenzie, John Clarke, and David Stuart, agreed to dissolve the company on July 1, 1813. On Oct. 16, 1813, all the surviving partners, including Wilson Price Hunt, now returned to Astoria, signed the agreement with the NWC representatives, thereby selling the PFC and its assets to the Canadian company. All the employees were released from their contracts and given the option to enlist with the NWC. The remaining Astorians left the Columbia with Barry Gough, "The 1813 Expedition to Astoria." The Beaver 304:2 (Autumn 1973): 44-51. Ronda, 264-278; Jones, 172-173. 88 either Wilson Price Hunt aboard the Pedlar in March 1814, or with the NWC brigade, which departed for the East in April 1814.75 The North West Company in the Willamette Valley. 1814-1822 Several groups of fur traders spent the winter of 1813-1814 in the Willamette Valley. These groups included former Astorians awaiting passage home, NWC personnel, and free trappers working on contract for the NWC. Among those who elected to trap for the NWC in the Willamette Valley were Joseph St. Amant, Etienne Lucier, Francois Martial, Jacques Harteau, John Day, Moses Flanagan, Micajah Baker, Richard Milligan, Alexander Carson, and William Cannon. These free trappers departed for the Willamette in two parties on October 17, and October 19, 1813,76 The first group of Northwesters to pass the winter in the Willamette Valley, headed by clerk William Henry, arrived by mid-November. Although Alfred Seton declined to engage with the NWC, he decided to join William Henry's party to the Willamette Valley as he did not wish to spend the winter in the company of Duncan McDougall at Astoria. According to Seton, the group had no fixed abode for the first few months, moving about the valley camping at various locations.77 In mid-November, William Henry sent word to the partners at Fort George that there was "something bad in agitation among the Natives" of the Willamette Valley. However, since there was a communication problem between the Northwesters and the unnamed Kalapuyans, presumably because one or both groups did not speak Chinook Jargon (the lingua franca of the Northwest fur trade), William Henry was unable to determine the exact problem. In response, the North West partners, including the 7 5 Jones, 222; Ronda, Astoria, 277-301; T.C. Elliot, "Sale of Astoria, 1813," OHQ 33:1 (March 1932): 45-50. 7 6 Jones, 222. 7 7 Seton, 129-132. 89 recently arrived Alexander Henry the Younger (William's uncle) and Alexander Stewart, dispatched clerk William Wallace and ten men as reinforcements to William Henry's party. On November 29, 1813, William Henry's party established themselves near the Ahantchuyuk Kalapuyan village of Champoeg, on the east bank of the Willamette River. The group included William Henry's Indian wife and child, and twenty-nine men "composed of divers [sic] nations & languages": six Hawaiians, four Iroquois, one Mississauga, one Nippising, sixteen French Canadians, and one American, Alfred Seton. The next day, the party began erecting a post, designated "Fort Calipuyaw" (Fort Kalapuya) in Seton's journal. A little over a week later Seton noted that William Henry was busy "trading some roots with the Calipuyaws along side of me, for Beads, who not thinking the quantity s[ufficient]t, are loudly asking for [more]."79 The first recorded armed conflict between the fur traders and a Kalapuyan group occurred soon afterward, in mid-December 1813. A group of trappers, presumably free trappers, got into a melee with some unnamed Kalapuyans further upriver on the Willamette. They arrived at Fort Kalapuya on December 19 t h and reported that a group of Indians had fired their arrows at a smaller party of three men, though none of the trappers was harmed. Rather than return fire and "laying the Indians dead at their feet," the trappers hastily retreated in their canoes downriver, "which when the Natives saw, they justly concluded the White Men were afraid of them." As recounted by Alfred Seton, the trappers presented themselves as victims of Kalapuyan aggression. Unfortunately, the full text of the introductory sentence for this passage is not able available due to damage in the original manuscript. The first portion of 7 8 Henry, 611. 7 9 Seton, 134. 8 0 Seton, 135. 90 the sentence suggests that trappers believed that the unnamed Kalapuyans had treated the trappers improperly: "the reason of the h[urry]ing down was on acct. of the Indians, who [had] behaved to them . . . [text damaged]." The trappers ostensibly hurried away, avoiding a confrontation because, as a party of three, they were greatly outnumbered. Clearly though, the trappers had considered returning fire and would have regarding the killing of their attackers as a justifiable course of action. Their flight response was one directed by prudence rather than any ethical or diplomatic concerns. On December 25, 1813 clerk Thomas McKay, freeman Registe Belair, and a third man arrived at Astoria from the Willamette Valley bearing letters from William Henry. William Henry's reports about the Kalapuyans may explain some of the tension between the two parties. Alexander Henry, paraphrasing his nephew's letter, wrote: Intelligence from that quarter is [that] beaver are numerous, but the Natives, who are also very numerous, will not hunt them; their sole employment is digging Roots, Cammass, Waptoes & c. and stealing the Beavers that are caught in traps when opportunity offers. 8 1 Additionally, William Henry relayed his annoyance at the Kalapuyans' "theft" of deer killed by the Northwesters, the Indians having been attracted to the sound of the newcomers' guns. He also reported that the Natives "are exceedingly fond of Meat and will barter everything they have for it. They prefer it to any of our Goods." The tensions between the two groups flowed from differing cultural perceptions about resource ownership and use rights. Like the Astorians before him, William Henry viewed the Willamette Valley as unclaimed territory free for the taking. He neither recognized the Kalapuyans' access rights over the wild game resources in their territories nor that the "theft" 1 Henry, 628-629. 2 Henry, 629. 91 of deer carcasses may have be a stratagem employed by the Kalapuyans to force the foreigners to respect those territorial rights. The Willamette Valley Natives would have perceived the fur traders as interlopers because the newcomers had not established kin relations with the Kalapuyans, the customary means for gaining resource use rights in a territory. The Northwesters took Kalapuyan cultural values and territorial claims lightly due to the Euro-Americans' sense of ethnic and military superiority. Clearly, they did not feel it necessary to ally themselves through marriage to the Kalapuyans, as had Duncan McDougall with the family of Chinook headman Comcomly.83 This may have been the result of the fur traders' low opinion of the Kalapuyans in general, and the view that the Willamette Valley was more of a provisioning area than a zone rich in beaver. Additionally, unlike the Kalapuyans, whose labor input in the form of a managed ecosystem was not readily apparent to the Euro-Americans, the fur traders associated property and resource rights with the production of marketable commodities such as furs. After a month's work on Fort Kalapuya at Champoeg, a small group of Northwesters moved into the post on December 29, 1813. The establishment, a log cabin with mud covering the crevices between the logs, had two rooms, a chimney, and windows covered by deer skins. William Henry and his family had the larger room and William Wallace and Alfred Seton the smaller one. The other laborers, hunters, and freemen continued to camp and trap throughout the valley. In January 1814, a group of Upper Chinookans from the lower Willamette brought news that two ships had arrived at the mouth of the Columbia. Jones, 203. See also. David Peterson del Mar's discussion of intermarriage between fur traders and Lower Chinookans in the early contact period: "Intermarriage and Agency: A Chinookan Case Study," Ethnohistory 42:1 (Winter 1995): 2-7. 92 They subsequently recounted a story of armed conflict between the vessels, prompting discussions about the possibility of a battle between an American and a British ship.8 4 This discussion gave rise to some furious talk by the French Canadians. Seton quotes the French Canadians as saying that i f the Americans had killed some of their compatriots, they were prepared to kill some Americans: "Si les Bostohes ont tue mon Frere, ma conscience de Bon Dieu, J'entuerai d'autres." However, when pressed by William Henry about their attitude toward Seton, whom the French Canadians referred to as "la tete blanche" (the white-haired one), they replied that they would "not silence him" (lui nous ne le tairons pas)."85 Seton and the others later learned that the Chinookans' tale was quite embellished. There was only one ship, the Racoon, whose captain had taken possession of Astoria, renaming it Fort George. The purported maritime battle was in fact an accident that occurred when some of the men on the Racoon were practicing firing and accidentally lit gunpowder, killing eight men and injuring nineteen.86 This minor episode reveals the ethnic tensions that existed, as well the role of personal relationships in shaping relations between the different national groups within the regional fur trade. The outbreak of hostilities between the United States and Great Britain weighed on the minds of all the fur traders, Americans, French Canadians, and Scottish Canadians alike. Rumors of conflict in the Columbia River were quickly interpreted by the French Canadians as evidence of American aggression. And although the French Canadians were not averse to responding in kind to such aggression, they were not prepared to go so far as to take retribution on one of the resident Americans whom they knew personally, Alfred Seton. The French Canadians' attitude was motivated by a sense of ethnic solidarity rather 8 4 Seton, 140. 8 5 Seton, 141. 8 6 Seton, 143. 9 3 support for the British Crown, yet even this ethnic solidarity might be tempered by a personal connection. Despite the current tensions resulting from the War of 1812, the French Canadians reached across the cultural divide. In mid-January 1814, a NWC hunter, known as the Grand Nippissing (possibly Joseph Mochomau), encountered a group of horsemen from the Plateau region approximately four miles from Fort Kalapuya. Although the Plateau group is not clearly identified in the text, there are several indications that the horsemen may have been Northwest Sahaptins, possibly Klickitat, a group which dwelt in the Columbia River Valley between the White Salmon and Klickitat rivers.87 There are two version of the Grand Nippissing's encounter, one from Alfred Seton and one from Alexander Henry. The Nippissing hunter was alone when he spied the horsemen, who would have been distinguishable from the Kalapuyans, given that the Kalapuyans owned few if any horses at this time. In Seton's version the encounter is very dramatic, with the Indians dressed in full war regalia and paint, riding hard toward the hunter; Henry's account is terser. Seeing the mounted Natives, the hunter took refuge in a wooded thicket, his gun pointed at the party of Natives. There was a tense moment before an elderly man, possibly a headman, came forward and communicated with the Nippissing hunter using signs. The old man explained that Euro-Americans' hunting in the Willamette Valley was having a negative impact. The horsemen were hungry from not having caught any deer or elk because the "White Men 8 7 The two passages from Alexander Henry's journal suggest that the horsemen were a Northwest Sahaptin group such as the Klickitat, Kittitas, Yakama, or Taitnapam. The first reads: "These people I am left to suppose are of the tribe called Scie to gas [camas eaters]. They dwell to the westward of the Shaehaptins [Sahaptian] or Nez Perce Indians are very numerous (Henry, 663). The second reads: "They say they are of the Walla Walla Shat as la and Halth-oy-pum natives" (Henry, 672.). "Xwalwaipam" is the indigenous name for the Klickitats and historical source point to a movement of the Klickitat into the Willamette Valley during the early days of the nineteenth century. I thank Andrew Fisher for his assistance with the identification of the Northwest Sahaptin names. He notes that Euro-Americans would often group all Sahaptins together as "Walla Walla." The Sahaptian language family encompasses the Nez Perce and the Northwest Sahaptin languages. 8 8 Seton, 144-145; Henry, 663. 94 hunting with guns . . . scared them away." They added that they were having difficulty killing the animals with bows and arrows. Such complaints are instructive, for they point to another impact of the fur traders' activities in the Willamette Valley. The newcomers' use of guns disrupted traditional hunting practices by scaring the animals, which also explains fur trader accounts of Natives following gun fire and helping themselves to the dead animals, prey of which they had been deprived by the introduction of firearms.90 The Plateau Indians who cornered the Nipissing hunter insisted that the outsiders must to leave the valley, or else the horsemen would drive them away. In response, the Nippissing hunter threatened the Natives, stating that there were additional white men nearby who would avenge any harm that might befall him. However, the hunter consented not to hunt in that location any longer if they would go and leave him unmolested, which they agreed to do. Seton's version has the old man waiting with the hunter until the rest of the party had left, whereas Henry's version states that the group simply departed after an agreement was reached. This tense encounter between the Grand Nipissing and the Northwest Sahaptins indicates that by the winter of 1813-14 the extended presence of the Northwesters in the Willamette Valley was beginning to have a noticeable impact on the availability of wild game resources. The fur traders disregarded local protocols about resource use, and they came armed with a significant technological advantage in the quest for wild game. In contrast to the Natives' use of traditional lithic hunting technologies, the Northwesters were able to collect more game over a wider area, an approach that further decreased the availability of animals by scaring them away. This instance of direct resistance to the Northwesters' 8 9 Seton, 144. 9 0 For a comparative view, see Arthur J. Ray, The Indians in the Fur Trade (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974; rpt; 1998), 75. 9 5 activities parallels the Kalapuyans' response of "stealing" the carcasses of animals hunted by the fur traders. The response of the Sahaptins, however, was complex. In late January 1813, after Alexander Henry had made his own visit to the Willamette Valley, the same Northwest Sahaptins visited Fort Kalapuya and asked the Northwesters to establish a post father inland nearer their own territory.91 This suggests that the Natives wanted more direct access to European goods, firearms being one a trade item that would put them in a stronger position vis-a-vis their neighbors. The disruptions from the fur trade may have forced the Native to adopt more aggressive attitudes towards their neighbors in order to expand into new territories and thus recoup previous losses resulting from regional economic changes. After several years of armed conflict between Indians and fur traders in the central Columbia region, the NWC established Fort Nez Perces (later Fort Walla Walla) in 1818 9 2 Of all the documentary sources for the NWC period in the Willamette Valley (1813- 1822), the journal of Alexander Henry the Younger provides the most detailed information on the attitudes of Euro-Americans towards the Kalapuyans, the dynamics of intercultural relations, and Kalapuyan attitudes towards the fur trappers. Alexander Henry, with William Wallace Matthews, led a party to the Willamette Valley, which departed Fort George on January 22, 1814, and arrived on January 23th. They passed three days in the vicinity of Fort Kalapuya (later known as Willamette Post) before departing on January 27th. On their way to the upper Willamette, Alexander Henry's party had their first recorded encounter with a group of Yamhill Kalapuyans. After portaging the falls, Henry's party met the Yamhill on the upper bank; they were on their way to trade camas with the local Clowewalla Upper Chinookans. In contrast to the 9 1 Henry, 672. 9 2 Theodore Stern, Chiefs and Chief Traders: Indian Relations at Fort Nez Perces, 1818-1855 (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 1993), 3-11. 9 6 Clowewalla, whom Henry described "tolerably disposed towards the Whites," the fur trader develops an instant dislike for the Yamhill, characterizing them as "the most miserable and rascally looking tribe I have seen on this side of the mountains." Henry's poor opinion of the Yamhill stemmed from his own physical aversion to their appearance and comportment. Although Henry was an experienced trader and close observer of Indian lifeways, his own fastidious, self-possessed character often led him to criticize both Natives and lower-class laborers who did not meet his high standards of personal hygiene, social decorum, or self- control.94 Four of the seven Yamhill whom Henry met "had some defect in his [sic] eyes" and they were scantily clad only in deer skins robes, with "a small round bonnet of wattap [wapato] on their heads, with a sharp point on the top about three inches high."95 In his later comments about the Kalapuyans, Henry describes them as "a wandering race, who have neither horses nor homes, and live in the open air in fine weather and under the shelter of large spreading pines and cedars during foul weather."96 Henry compares the Kalapuyans to the Plateau peoples, and he finds the Kalapuyans wanting. The Willamette Valley Natives own few horses; they are "too wretchedly poor to have anything."97 In comparison, the Plateau peoples live better, since they have horses and are "well provided with everything necessary for a Savage life." Henry is impressed with not only the animal husbandry and technology of the Plateau peoples, both also with their appearance, for he refers to them as "well dressed in leather shirts and leggings garnished with porcupine quills."99 9 3 Henry, 658. 9 4 Barry Gough, "Introduction," to Henry, vol. 1, lxvi-lxvii. 9 5 Henry, 658. 9 6 Henry, 659. 9 7 Henry, 663. 9 8 Henry, 663. 9 9 Henry, 663. 97 Henry's feelings of repugnance towards the Yamhill in particular, and the Kalapuyans in general, is emblematic of the attitudes of the fur trade officers and reflects the high value western Europeans, especially those from the British Isles, placed on horse cultures. As Elizabeth Vibert has demonstrated with regard to fur trader-Native relations in the Plateau region, the English-Scots officers held to distinctive notions about Euro-American superiority and social organization that colored the ways in which they perceived the various Native groups. When the officers recorded their encounters with Indians of the Plateau, they portrayed the regional mounted buffalo hunters as industrious and commendable, a departure from the long-standing archetype in both colonial and fur trade literature that depicted Indians as lazy, weak, and unproductive.100 In contrast to the mounted Plateau groups that Henry held in some regard, his perception of the Kalapuyans corresponded to the stereotypical view that hunter-gathers who range over a wide area are not industrious. It is this view that later led Henry to misunderstand the attitudes and actions of Willamette Valley Natives. The first meeting between the Yamhill and Henry's party was in fact not cordial. After speaking with three Clowewalla men who had brought provisions to trade with the Northwesters, one of the Yamhill women "set up a lamentable yell in crying and bawling," and the rest quickly took up their loads and departed. Henry reports that the Yamhill men "eyed" the Northwester "narrowly" after speaking with the Clowewalla. Henry did not know the reason for the Yamhill's reactions, but he surmised that it may have been linked to the death of an old Clowewalla chief, or perhaps the news of the deaths of the several Columbia River Chinookans killed by a party of Northwesters a few days earlier. Henry and his party, 1 0 0 Vibert, Traders' Tales; Elizabeth Vibert, "Real Men Hunt Buffalo: Masculinity, Race, and Class in British Fur Traders' Narratives," Gender andHistory 8:1 (April 1996): 4-21. 98 worried about trouble, quickly departed without incident.101 Later, on his return trip to Fort George, Henry received some secondhand information from the Clowewalla indicating a growing distrust of the foreigners on the part of the Yamhill. While stopped at Willamette Falls on his return trip to Fort George on January 26, 1814, Henry noted that the "Yam he las, it seems had told the Indians here of their intention in sending our people from the River." When the Clowewalla asked the Northwesters if this were true, if they intended to vacate the Willamette Valley, Henry's group told them that they would not be leaving the valley in the face of this threat. Alexander Henry's encounters with the Yamhill in January of 1814 might be viewed as an echo of Comcomly's stories of the Kalapuyans recounted to Duncan McDougall some two years before. However, here it is not the Yamill Kalapuyans who are ignorant of the proper protocols for relating to the fur traders (as Comcomly had suggested), but rather Henry who lacks clear insight into the attitudes of the Yamhill. They may well have been leery of Henry and his party because of recent fur trader-Chinookan violence on the Columbia River, worried that the foreigners had come to cause similar problems in the Willamette Valley. The Yamhill's talk of forcing the Northwesters from the valley may have also stemmed from concerns about losing control over their territories and resources. Once established at the NWC Willamette Valley post, Henry set about establishing trade relations with the local Kalapuyans. Like fur traders before him, he looked upon his experiences in the valley with some disappointment. Henry reckoned the Kalapuyans did not know the value of trade goods, not recognizing that they might be as shrewd traders as their Chinookan relatives in the Columbia. In his journal he noted his frustration with a headman Henry, 658. Henry, 664. 99 who was amenable to Henry's offer to buy the man's horse. However, after Henry learned the headman's price of ten blankets, which Henry saw as exorbitant, he withdrew his offer. He also remarked that the Kalapuyans "have no idea of the value of our goods," and seem to care little about anything further than a few blue beads." Yet, he later wrote that the Kalapuyans preferred deer flesh to any other item.104 Henry's negative reaction—that is, blaming the Natives for their disinterest in trading—stemmed from the fact he did not come prepared for the local trade. He was annoyed that the Kalapuyans could not be persuaded to hunt beaver, which were abundant throughout the Willamette Valley: "small lakes and ponds we found swarming with beaver still they will not attempt to kill them."105 The Kalapuyans were uninterested in trapping beaver because such an activity neither fit into their complex subsistence round (as outlined in Chapter One), nor meshed with their long-standing exchange practices within the lower Columbia region. Since the Kalapuyans did not have a passion to acquire European goods in this early contact period, aside from blue beads, they had no motivation to trap beaver. Trade between the Northwesters and the Kalapuyans remained a modest affair in 1814. Henry noted that the Kalapuyans usually came in small trading parties of two or three families to Fort Kalapuya (Willamette Post). Henry's journal contains no reports of Kalapuyan headmen with the same stature as the Chinookan leaders Comcomly and Casino. In their relations with the Kalapuyans, the Northwesters conducted trade outside the small post. Given the size of the outpost, this may been a logistical necessity, or, alternatively, it may have been a response to safety concerns. Indeed, Henry reported that on January 25, 1 0 3 Henry, 662. 1 0 4 Henry, 661. 1 0 5 Henry, 662. 100 1814, three freemen formerly of the Pacific Fur Company, likely Milligan, Flanagan, and Baker, returned to the Willamette post and reported adversely on the behavior of the Kalapuyans in the valley: a group of Kalapuyans had wanted to "steal" the freemen's property. However, their fear of the Euro-Americans' guns, led them to "act in a more clandestine manner and prevents them using open violence to pillage."106 Thus, while the fur traders may have held a technological advantage thanks to their firearms, they remained outnumbered by several thousand Kalapuyans within the inland valley, and were a day's journey from reinforcement at the main post at Fort George (formerly Fort Astoria). After Alexander Henry's party returned to Fort George, a group headed by clerks William Wallace and Thomas McKay, which included a number of laborers and freemen, remained in the Willamette Valley to continue trapping. When the party of Wallace and Thomas McKay finally returned to Fort George on March 25, 1814, they reported a shift in the attitude of the Kalapuyans. Henry noted that Willamette Valley Indians seemed "much more reconciled" to the presence of the Northwesters. They expressed regret at the fur traders' departure and asked them to return again the Willamette Valley. A local Ahantchuyuk headman, possibly from a village near the Champoeg area, agreed to take the Willamette Post under his charge, including the four horses and two hogs left there. This headman apparently wished to maintain positive relations with the Northwesters, as Henry writes he was "well inclined toward" the Northwesters.107 In addition, a few days before the departure of the Wallace and McKay party, a group of thirty Yamhill visited the Willamette Post to trade a large quantity of baked camas. They also urged the Northwesters to return to the Willamette Valley. Henry, 662-663. Henry, 704. From Mackie, Trading Beyond the Mountains. Reprinted with permission from the University of British Columbia Press. This map is a modern map depicting historical information. 102 Owing to a lack of contemporary sources, we do not have a clear picture of the developing relations between the Kalapuyans and the fur traders immediately following these reports of this shift in the Yamhill's attitude in the spring of 1814. Tragically, Alexander Henry's journal for the Columbia region ends in May 1814, following his death from drowning at the mouth of the Columbia. The only other extant documentary sources that shed some light on for trader-Kalapuyan relations in the Willamette for the remainder of the NWC period (1814-1822) include the narrative of clerk Alexander Ross, Fur Hunters of the Far West, originally published in 1855, and to a lesser extent, the memoranda book of James Keith, the NWC partner in charge of Fort George.108 The Ross narratives are problematic sources, due to their late publication date, the dictates of Victorian travel literature, and the fur trader's own personal prejudices. However, when combined with other sources on the region, Ross' account of violent confrontations at Willamette Falls in 1816-1817 appears plausible, if less dramatic than he would have his readers believe. Ross spent most of his years on the Columbia in the interior; however, from the summer of 1816 through fall of 1817, he served as assistant to James Keith at Fort George.109 For this period, Ross recounts a series of problems with the Natives of the Willamette Valley. Although he does not clearly identify the Indian group, it appears that the Clowewalla Upper Chinookans at Willamette Falls, possibly in alliance with some Kalapuyan groups, attempted to block the Northwesters' access to the valley. The tension ostensibly began with a group of 1 0 8 Memoranda Book of James Keith (1811-1821), James Keith Papers, National Archives of Canada, Ottawa, A-676, A-2; Alexander Ross, Fur Hunters of the Far West, edited by Kenneth A. Spaulding (Norman: University of Oklahoma Pres, 1956). The 1956 Spaulding edition of Fur Hunters is based on an original manuscript in the Beinecke Library, Yale University. The succeeding footnotes refer to this edition. In 1924 Milo Quaife published a re-edited version of the first edition (1855): Alexander Ross, Fur Hunters of the Far West, edited by Milo Milton Quaife (Chicago: Lakeside Press, 1924). 1 0 9 Ross, Fur Hunters, 56-81; Frits Pannekoek, "Alexander Ross," in The Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Volume VII, 1851-1860, edited by Francess G. Halpenny and Jean Hamelin (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985), 849-852. 103 ten men who set out to trap beaver in the Willamette Valley at the same time that Donald McKenzie's brigade left for the interior posts in early October 1816.110 The NWC party bound for the Willamette subsequently encountered Native resistance "on their way up to the place." This short phrase suggests that the encounter took place in the lower Willamette River below the falls, since they party would have to portage the falls to arrive to reach the upper Willamette Valley, their intended destination. In keeping with Chinookan customs within the lower Columbia region, these Natives warned the outsiders that they would not be allowed to hunt in the valley without immediately paying a tribute. Since the Clowewalla controlled access to the falls, and thus the hunting grounds of the Willamette, this is another possible clue to their identity. The only evidence that the Kalapuyans might have been party to these events is a comment by Ross, who wrote that the Kalapuyans of the Willamette Valley "were always considered by the whites as a quiet and inoffensive nation, dull and unassuming in their behavior, but, when once roused, not deficient in courage."111 According to Ross, the North West party was neither prepared nor willing to pay a tribute—a kind of river access user fee—to the Indians. Instead, the fur trappers took the warning as a bluff rather than as a serious threat, which was a miscalculation on their part. The following morning, the Northwesters found themselves facing Natives armed with bows and arrows on both sides of the Willamette River. They again made the mistake of thinking the Natives were only trying to scare them, and so they paddled down the middle of the river. However, they soon faced a "shower of arrows," one of which wounded a Northwester. The party reversed course and returned fire, killing one of the Natives. The group thereupon i 1 1 0 Ross, Fur Hunters, 72. 1 1 1 Ross, Fur Hunters, 77. 104 returned to Fort George without further incident, and "the project of hunting in the 117 Wallamitte was relinquished for some time." The next attempt to send a trapping party to the Willamette Valley occurred some time later, during the winter of 1816-17. A larger group of twenty-five men under a clerk 113 "was sent to pacify the natives, and to endeavor to penetrate the hunting ground." Upon their arrival at the place of the first violent encounter, the Northwesters learned that they had killed a Native headman and that the Indians demanded a blood payment for the death. The Northwesters gave the Indians merchandise in compensation and proceeded on their way upriver, confident their problems with the Natives had been solved. However, the Northwesters soon quarreled with a group of Natives, possibly the same group as before. They responded by firing upon the Indians, killing three. That night the Northwesters camp was infiltrated by the Natives and a fight ensued between the two groups. The Indians seriously injured one Northwester before the fur trader beat a speedy retreat under the cover of darkness. Ross concludes that "by the disaster of this trip, every avenue was for the present shut up against our hunters in the Wallamitte."114 Quantitative data from James Keith's memoranda book indicate that this event did adversely affect trade. It suggests that there was a drop off in trapping returns for the Willamette Valley for Outfit 1816 (1816-1817), though it did not affect the overall returns for Fort George district or the larger Columbia region (see Tables 2 and 3 below). 1 1 2 Ross, Fur Hunters, 72-73. 1 1 3 Ross, Fur Hunters, 73. 1 1 4 Ross, Fur Hunters, 73. 105 Table 2. Abstract & Comparative Statement of Indian Trade and Trapper Hunts at Fort George Outfit Apparent Indian Trade Trappers Hunts TTotalsl 1814 1741 578 2319 1815 2599 1800 4217 1816 3096 897 4240 1817 2595 2295 4864 1818 2527 1507 4002 1819 . 3163 2556 6022 1820 3337 2933 6500 Source: Memoranda Book of James Keith. 60. Table 3. NWC Returns for Columbia Region, 1814-1821 Outfit Interior Fort George Totals 1814 4192 2319 6511 1815 5285 4217 9502 1816 5665 4240 9905 1817 6672 4864 11536 1818 8668 4002 12670 1819 9940 6022+ 158 16120 1820 7808 6500 14308 1821 11772 5593 17364 Note: Outfit 1821 returns included 669 from 1819 and 1820 Snake Parties, brought out in 1821. Source: Memoranda Book of James Keith, 30, 60-61 For Outfit 1816, the NWC were able to make up of the difference by acquiring more pelts through trade with the local Native groups. However, there was a loss of some 900 furs as compared with the year before. Thus, while Ross may have overstated the impact of the conflict in the Willamette Valley, it was significant. According to Ross, James Keith was determined to find a solution to the Willamette Valley problem. Keith, who would have 106 wanted to maintain access to the valley, while also smoothing relations with the valley's indigenous population, decided upon negotiation rather than a punitive approach.115 Alexander Ross placed himself and Peter Skene Ogden at the head of a team that traveled to the Willamette to negotiate with the Natives in the winter of 1816-1817. Here Ross clearly errs because Ogden did not arrive in the Columbia region until 1818 (most likely with the fall brigade). 1 1 6 Ross was himself stationed at Fort Thompson in 1817, and later assisted Donald McKenzie to establish Fort Nez Perces in 1818 1 1 7 According to Ross, the 1816-17 mission to the Willamette Valley was outfitted "sufficiently strong to guard against a miscarriage and give weight to our measures."118 He described it as a "half- diplomatic, half-military embassy" that included forty-five men. At this point in the narrative, Ross finally mentions that the location for the parlay was Willamette Falls, where the Natives had gathered to prevent the ascent of the NWC hunters into the Willamette Valley. The party encamped on the rocky west bank of the Willamette River at the falls. On his first attempt to speak with the Natives, Ross was rebuffed. Instead, the Indians "continued to sing their war songs and danced their war dance."119 Two days passed as the Northwesters waited patiently to open negotiations. On the third, a group of headmen and warriors from the Clowewalla village on the east bank of the river crossed over and gathered themselves at distance from the Northwesters. Ross went to meet the group with a flag in his 1 1 5 Ross, Fur Hunters, 74. 1 1 6 Glyndwr Williams, "Peter Skene Ogden," in The Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Volume VII, 1851- 1860, edited by Francess G. Halpenny and Jean Hamelin (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985), 732- 736; T. C. Elliot, "Peter Skene Ogden, Fur Trader," OHQ 11:3 (September 1910), 239. A letter from Joseph F. Laroque to J.G. McTavish indicates that Ogden was in charge of Spokane House in the fall of 1818: HBCA, F.3/2, folio 190. I would like to thank H. Lloyd Keith for bringing these sources to my attention. For discussion of the NWC's Columbia brigade system, see James R. Gibson, The Lifeline of the Oregon Country: The Fraser- Columbia Brigade System, 1811-47 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1997), 7-11. 1 , 7 Williams, "Ross," 850. 1 1 8 Ross, Fur Hunters, 74. 1 1 9 Ross, Fur Hunters 74. 107 hand. As he was gaining on the group, the Natives began a "loud and clamorous scene of mourning," and the headmen and warriors formed "a ring, squatted down, and concealing 1'/'ft their faces with their garments, remained silent and motionless" for a half an hour. The first time Ross offered the "principale chief a peace pipe he refused. However, later after asking what the Northwesters wanted, Ross explained that they wanted peace and he again offered the peace pipe. Ross gave the man the flag as a token of friendship. Ross then set down to smoke the pipe with the headmen gathered there. For several hours, several headmen gave speeches, detailing their grievances against the fur traders, their demand for redress, and their determination to prevent the Northwesters from going to the Willamette Valley. After the speeches, the negotiations moved to the Northwesters' camp, where Ross stated their case, "opposing the Indians' determination to prevent us from ascending the Wallamitte."121 Ross attempted to refute the headmen's objection, pointing out that the Natives were the aggressors because they had attacked first. However, this principle of a "first aggressor" was not consistent with the Chinookans' (or Kalapuyans') territorial claims. Rather the Northwesters were the aggressors because they had entered Chinookan (Kalapuyan) territory without paying tribute or acknowledging the Native's territorial rights. The Natives would not recognize the Northwesters' principles of unlawful aggression and of the land as unclaimed territory, and insisted instead that the Northwesters' recognize Native principles on Native land. Ross finally conceded the Northwesters' error in judgment and agreed to pay a compensation for the dead according to 2 0 Ross, Fur Hunters, 75. 1 2 1 Ross, Fur Hunters, 76. 108 the Native custom if the Indians would compromise on other points, especially their wish to permanently deny the Northwesters access to the Willamette Valley. After discussions amongst themselves, the headmen agreed to an oral tre