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Treaties and Treachery
The Northwest Indians' Resistance to Conquest
Distributed by the University of Nebraska Press for Caxton Press
The seven years from 1853 to 1859 are probably more important to the Pacific Northwest than any period of its recorded history. It was in the 1850s that officials began carving the Oregon Territory into the states. It was the period when most Native American tribes signed treaties that were supposed to protect their future. It was also when the natives of the region learned that no matter what the treaties promised, they would have little control over their destiny. So they fought a hopeless battle to preserve their way of life.
Both settlers and Natives Americans believed they were God’s chosen people. With hindsight, we can see with clarity the injustices done. But neither side can claim purity of action. Atrocities were committed by both.
For almost every major tribe of the Northwest, the 1850s marked the end of their way of life. This is the story of how cultures clashed. This is the story of one corner of our country, and how its history shapes its course today.