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Letter from Anson Dart to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1851. Adapted from McChesney, et. al. The Rolls of Certain Indian Tribes in Washington and Oregon.

I intend to start for the Rogue river country in a few days, with the view of making a treaty with the Indians of that region for all their lands; upon my return I may be able to make a full report of the state of affairs in that quarter. . . .

The Clatsops are a band of the Chinooks, occupying the country on the Pacific coast, from the mouth of the Columbia river, about thirty miles south. Their lands are considered very valuable; they include what are called the Clatsop plains. Nearly all their territory is already claimed and occupied by settlers. They number in all eighty, and have ceded their lands to the United States. The Chinooks are divided into five other small bands occupying both sides of the Columbia, from the mouth about sixty miles up. They number one hundred and forty-two of which thirty-six are slaves. In 1828, they were thought to number nearly twenty thousand. All their lands have been lately ceded to the United States. They all speak a language called the Chinook, which is not spoken by any white person, and also the common jargon of the country. The whole country bordering on the Columbia, as far up as the Dalles, was formerly owned and occupied by this tribe.

For a distance of about eighty miles from the Cowlitz river to the Cascades, there are now no real owners of the land living. It is occupied by the Vancouver Indians, of whom it will have to be purchased. Their band number in all sixty.

Two small remnants of bands, called the Wheelappas and Quillequaquas, have ceded to the United States a considerable tract of country, north of that bought of the Chinooks, bordering on the Pacific, and extending east nearly to the Cowlitz river. They number thirteen. The Tillamooks, living on the Pacific coast south of the Clatsop, and occupying the country between the coast range of mountains and the ocean, have ceded their lands to the United States. Their territory extends from forty-five to fifty miles south of that of the Clatsops. Their total number is one hundred and fifty. . . .

RECAPITULATION

Clatsops, 37 males, 34 females ..................................................... 71

Chinooks, 70 males, 72 females ...................................................... 142

Vancouvers 23 men, 37 women and children ................................ 60

Wheelappas or Quillequaquas ........................................................ 13

Tillamooks ....................................................................................... 150

Clackamas, 19 men, 29 women, 40 children ..................................... 88

Tum-Waters, 5 men, 6 women, 2 children ........................................ 13

Molallas, 40 men, 60 women, 23 children ........................................ 123

Calklapooyas ...................................................................................... 560

Umpquas, 67 men, 104 women, 32 boys, 40 girls ............................. 243

Shasta or Rouge river ......................................................................... 000

Cascades, 45 men, 75 women and children ....................................... 120

Clickatats, 252 men, 75 women and children .................................... 492

Cowlitz, Nesqually, Cheehales. . . .

Recapitulation of tribes east of the Cascade mountains.

Wascopan, two bands at the Dalles,, 129 men, 206 women, 147 children .... 482

Deschutes band, 85 men, 115 women, 90 children ........................................ 300

Walla Wallas, 52 men, 40 women, 38 children .............................................. 130

Waulatpas or Cayuses, 38 men, 48 women, 40 children ................................ 126

Sahaptins or Nez Perces, 698 men, 1,182 women and children ..................... 1,880

Palooses, 60 men, 62 women, 59 children ...................................................... 181

Spokans or Flat Heads-

Sinhumanish band, 71 men, 85 women, 38 boys and 38 girls.......................... 232

Mission band 70 men, 85 women, 40 boys and 40 girls .................................. 210

Upper Pond Orrilles, 480; Lower do., 520 Couer d'Alienes, 200 .................... 1,200

Rock Island, 300; Collvill, 320; Okonqagon, 250 ............................................ 870

Yackimas (estimated) ........................................................................................ 1,000

. . . .

Soon after the commencement of the rainy season last fall, the Indians belonging to the various bands of the Spokans, began to assemble in and about Oregon city in numbers much larger than usual. Sixty of them were visiting me at one time. Their object in coming into the Willamette valley was twofold. In the first place they came to ask my aid in procuring a missionary to reside in their country, who would teach them the precepts of the clothing for themselves and families.. They all appeared industrious and civil, and were very strict in keeping up the forms of worship morning and evening at their encampment.

Large numbers of the Wascopans, Clickatats and Cascade Indians were also encamped near this place at the same time.

They all claimed the honor of making me a formal visit, upon which occasion they were supplied with provisions for the day. Each one received a present of bread, tobacco, &c., upon their departure for their distant homes. When agents become established in these distant parts of Oregon, there will not be such a disposition among the Indians to leave their homes.

These last mentioned tribes had become alarmed at the report that the government intended to remove all the Indians west of the Cascade mountains and locate them among the tribes east of those mountains. Having satisfied myself that such a removal could not be made with the consent of the Indians, I could not do less, in answer to their daily inquires, than promise to meet them at the Dalles of the Columbia in June, and there tell them the result of the negotiations that were about to be made by the commissioners appointed to make treaties with the Indians west of the Cascade mountains. . . .

Having made previous arrangements for riding and pack-horses to be furnished us at the Dalles, we embarked the 30th of May, at Oregon city, on board the steamer "Lot Whitcomb," destined to the Cascades. Our company consisted of the superintendent and secretary, two interpreters, three packers and a cook; besides these there were two carpenters and a cook who were going with us for the purpose of the building and agency house.

The prices paid these men were as follows: First carpenter, seven dollars per day, E. Walker, interpreter, six dollars; secretary, one interpreter, on carpenter and three packers, five dollars each; two cooks, each one hundred dollars per month.

On the morning of the second day we arrived at the Cascades. Our passage and freight thus far (eighty miles) amounted to three hundred dollars.

After two days hard labor in making the portage, at a cost of one hundred and fifty dollars, we embarked in two large boats for the Dalles, and arrived there late in the evening of June 2. The cost of getting from the Cascades to this place (forty miles) was nearly one hundred dollars. Here we found awaiting our arrival delegations from many of the Indian tribes of upper Oregon. On the 4th a council was held with them which lasted three hours, at which a variety of arguments were made use of to demonstrate the wrong that would be inflicted upon their tribes were the government to send among them the Indians west of the mountains. The habits and customs of the fishing tribes of the lower Columbia and its tributaries, were all unlike theirs; besides, those tribes were diseased and dying off rapidly. They did not wish their people subjected to those loathsome disorders, &c.

In reply, I stated to them that the government did not intend to force the Indians west of the mountains among them, nor would their lands be taken from them without a fair and just equivalent. . . .

I had made arrangements, before leaving Oregon city, to have all letters that arrived from Washington in my absence forwarded to me by express. As we were about to take up our march for the Spokan country, an Indian arrived with letters, informing me that I had been selected as one of the new board to make treaties with the Indians west of the mountains.

In order to accomplish as much as possible in this capacity during the dry season, I deemed it advisable to return at once to Oregon city. Accordingly, we commenced our homeward march early on the morning of the 30th; reached the Dalles on the 9th of July, where our company separated, a part going by the emigrant road over the mountains, myself and a few others going down the river. Passed the Cascades the 11th, and arrived at Oregon city the 13th, having been absent just forty-four days.

The geography of this country is but little known, even by its oldest white inhabitants. Therefore the few remarks that the limits of this report will allow me to make on this subject, will be confined entirely to my own observations.

Nearly all that part of Oregon west of the Cascade mountains is what might be called a timbered country; there are, however, large tracts of land that are open, the most of which are on or near streams, and are mostly flat or level lands. Of the timber, I should think seven-tenths of it is of the different species of fir, and the remainder long-leafed pine and white cedar. I do not think there is a white pine tree growing in Oregon. The accounts that have been given of the immense size of the trees growing in this country are highly exaggerated. There are a few of these very large trees, but generally the trees are no larger than are found in other countries, although they are straighter and taller than any I have seen elsewhere. Away from the river-flats the country is rolling, or very hilly; but on the whole, there is much less waste and useless land in Oregon than is generally supposed. The lands upon the highest hills are as rich as those on the bottoms. No better wheat or fruit country can be found in the United States.

That part of Oregon east of the Cascade mountains is an open rolling prairie country, everywhere except upon what are called the Blue mountains, which are from one hundred to one hundred and fifty miles east of the Cascade range. On these are large quantities of yellow pine.

The open prairie lands extend across the whole width of Oregon, from north to south, and, I think is a good wheat country, and, as stated in my travels, well adapted to the raising of sheep, cattle, and horses.

Two of the buildings that I was instructed to have built for the government will soon be finished. I will, upon their completion, forward full vouchers for labor done on them, and for such materials as have not been already accounted for.

I have the honor to remain you most obedient servant,

ANSON DART,

Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon Territory.

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