Imperialism in the Pacific Northwest

By Andrew Walsh and Cherise Fuselier

Terms Defined
Pacific Northwest: WA, OR, ID, parts of Alaska and B.C. Oregon Country, pre-1846: WA, OR, ID, parts of MT, WY, B.C.

Tribes of the Pacific Northwest

Lewis and Clark
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1803: commissioned by President Jefferson 1804-6: 7,000 mile journey from Missouri river to Oregon Country and back Peaceful coexistence through commerce Interpreter misnamed Nez Perce tribe  Kate McBeth’s documentation Reaffirmed importance of land from 1803 Louisiana Purchase Gathered information Strengthened claim to Oregon Country

“For a colonized people the most essential value…is first and foremost the land…” – Frantz Fanon
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Land Treaties

1803 Louisiana Purchase Treaty of 1818 1834 Intercourse Act 1846 Oregon Country acquired from UK 1848 OR territory; 1859 statehood
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1850 Oregon Donation Land Claim Act 1855 Isaac Stevens declares OR territory open to settlers
1853 WA territory; 1889 statehood

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1854 Treaty of Medicine Creek
1855 Treaty of Point Elliott (pictured) 1855 Nez Perce
1863 revised treaty 1889 individual allotment of lands

1887 Dawes Act

Progression of Native Lands Ceded

Nez Perce, Yakama, and Ceded  Nez Perce Lands
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1855 treaty ceded lands 1863 further cessions of land 1889 individual allotments of land 1855 treaty ceded lands


Indian Wars

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1847 Whitman massacre  Oregon Trail  Measles 1855 Yakama 1857 Coeur d’Alene 1858 Battle of Four Lakes 1858 Bear River Massacre 1877 Nez Perce  Battle of Bear Paw  Chief Joseph: “From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”

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Encouraged assimilation Northwest Coast missionaries sought to end potlatch ceremonies Potlatch ceremonies outlawed for several generations 1870’s Kate McBeth: Presbyterian missionary for the Nez Perce
1830s: Nez Perce delegates sent to St. Louis

Boarding Schools
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Five successive generations, 1880-1990 33 boarding schools in PNW Objective to assimilate

“Kill the Indian, save the man”

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Forced attendance Forced labor Vocational training schools

Fueled cheap labor for wage-labor economy

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Sexual predation Torture Conditions worse in Canada 50% death rate in Canada

Lack of statistics in US

Residential School Syndrome

Contributing to maladies today?

Modern Statistics

1980 rates of death
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Alcohol, 6x higher Suicide, 14% higher Homicide, 50% higher Tuberculosis, 4x higher

About 28% poverty rate in PNW Family income disparities

“Without salmon returning to our rivers and streams, we would cease to be Indian people.” –Salmon and his people (1999)

Negative impacts:
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Canneries Dams Various other enterprises

Hanford Nuclear Site

Natives and whites in area forced to leave Pollution Indirectly created dams Still emitting radiation

Western Representations

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Major Lee Moorhouse’s photos Film, novels, television Sports mascots Standard texts Native writers ignored and/or omitted

Popular culture
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Racist Representations


Forms of Resistance
 Political

Makah whaling controversy

 Literature

Sherman Alexie: Seattle author and Spokane Native

Native writings: “instruments of resistance”

 Cultural


Canoeing, acting, blanketing, salmon/whales, language, education

Heritage University

Yakama reservation Accredited, non-profit Mission statement Cultural preservation/revival