A Chronology of Tribal Economy in Oregon
Thousands of years before present
Approximately 100 tribes of Native Americans inhabit the region we define as Oregon today.
1700s
Spanish galleons explore the coast of Oregon.
1788
Capt. Robert Gray trades with Native Americans in Tillamook Bay.
1804—1806
Captains Lewis and Clark travel with their party from Missouri to the mouth of the Columbia River. President Thomas Jefferson believes a settlement at Astoria will be a key to expanding the American empire west all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
1800s
Oregon's streams, rivers, and lakes teem with beaver, and trade in beaver pelts attracts explorers, trappers, and traders to the region. Native Americans trap beaver pelts and trade them to European traders.
1811
Astoria is established by the Pacific Fur Company.
1824
U.S. War Department creates separate department to handle Indian affairs.
1830
Fever epidemic causes death of many Indians.
1842
Methodist missionaries create Indian school in Salem, which later becomes Willamette University.
1843
Civil government is established in the Oregon Country. Major immigration to Oregon begins along the Oregon Trail, with over 53,000 people traveling the Oregon Trail between 1840 and 1850.
1846
Oregon Treaty affirms U.S. sovereignty to Pacific Northwest.
1847
Measles decimate native tribes. Cayuse Indians attack Whitman Mission. Cayuse Indian War begins.
1848
The Oregon Territory is organized. The Organic Act of 1848 confirms all Indian land titles.
1849
U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs is transferred to Department of Interior.
1850
Congress passes Oregon Donation Land Act. Reservation policy is adopted by U.S. government. Five Cayuse Indians are hanged in Oregon City—first capital punishment in Oregon.
1851—52
Gold is found along Jackson Creek in southern Oregon. Mining causes problems for Indians by destroying spawning grounds and taking over Indian settlements. Increased pioneer farming and plowing destroy the camas lily, a food source of Indians, and threaten good relations with Indians.
1853
Joel Palmer becomes Superintendent of Indian Affairs with goal to "civilize" Indians. He negotiates the first binding agreements with Indian tribes in the Pacific Northwest: the Cow Creek and Rogue River Treaties.
1854
Volunteers massacre Coquille Indians. Legislature bars testimony of "Negroes, mulattoes, and Indians, or persons one half or more of Indian blood" in proceedings involving a white person.
1855
Treaties are signed with the Umatilla, Warm Springs, and Nez Perce tribes, which give up most of their lands but reserve exclusive rights to fish within their reservations and "at all usual and accustomed places?" Rogue River and Yakima Indian Wars begin. President James Buchanan creates Siletz Reservation.
1856
President James Buchanan creates Grand Ronde Reservation. U.S. Army orders closure of settlement east of Cascades because of dangers of warfare with Indians.
1859
Congress ratifies the Oregon State Constitution, and Oregon accepts the congressional proposal to be admitted to the Union.
1862
Congress passes the Homestead Act, allowing 160 acres to those who will live on and work the land. Gold is discovered in eastern Oregon, in Baker and Grant counties.
1864
Treaty creates the Klamath Reservation.
1872
Modoc Indian War. Malheur Reservation is created.
1877
Nez Perce Indian War. Chief Joseph's people are moved to Oklahoma and Kansas.
1878
Bannock-Paiute Indian War in southeastern Oregon.
1881
Bureau of Indian Affairs opens Chemawa School near Salem.
1883
The transcontinental railroad is completed.
1885
Chief Joseph's Nez Perce band locates on Colville Reservation.
1887
General Allotment Act is passed and reservation "surplus land" is sold to encourage single-family farming. Reservation land base is reduced by one-third.
1917
The United States enters World War I. Distinguished military service of Indians is noted.
1924
Indians become United States citizens, and are recognized as also being citizens of their tribes.
1929
The Great Depression begins.
1934
Indian Reorganization Act ends allotments. Allows tribes to recover lost lands and form corporations for their own economic development.
1936
Grand Ronde Indian Community, Inc. is formed.
1938
Bonneville Dam, the furthest downstream of the mainstem dams on the Columbia, is completed. This site now delineates the treaty fishing area, located upstream from the dam, from the nontreaty commercial fishing area downstream. Warm Springs Tribes adopt a constitution and incorporate.
1941
The United States enters World War II.
1954
Congress terminates Western Oregon Indian tribes, ending all federal services and selling any tribal lands.
1956
Congress terminates Klamath Indian Tribe. Grand Ronde and Siletz reservations are closed.
1957
The Dalles Dam is completed, which floods Celilo Falls, the major Indian fishing area on the Columbia River. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs invest part of their $4 million Celilo Falls settlement to develop a recreation facility called Kah-Nee-Ta.
1964
Kah-Nee-Ta resort is opened by Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
1969
Federal District Court in Sohappy v. Smith affirms Indian treaty fishing rights in Columbia River.
1970
The National Environmental Policy Act is implemented.
1972
Efforts begin to restore tribal rights. (Burns-Paiute 1972, Cow Creek Umpquas 1974, Siletz 1977, Cow Creek 1982, Grand Ronde 1983, Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw 1984, Klamath 1986, Coquille 1989.)
1973
Statewide land use planning is approved. Congress passes the Endangered Species Act.
1979
Federal District Court in Kimball v. Callahan affirms Klamath Indian hunting and fishing rights within former reservation. Congress creates new Siletz Reservation.
1988
Congress creates new Grand Ronde Reservation. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is passed.
1992
First Oregon gaming compact for casino signed with Cow Creek and Umpqua Tribe of Indians.
1994
The Columbia River is closed to commercial salmon fishing by non-Indians.
1996
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber issues an Executive Order calling for state agencies to work with individual tribes as "sovereign tribal governments."
2000
Spirit Mountain Casino earns $63 million in profits for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. It is the most-visited tourist destination in Oregon.
Head of Bureau of Indian Affairs apologizes for the agency's "legacy of racism and inhumanity" toward Native Americans.
2001
Chinook Indian Tribe is formally recognized by U.S. government.
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