Friday, January 08, 2016

eastern oregon once had a malheur indian reservation, guess what happened?


dailykos |  For most of the 1800s and earlier, Eastern Oregon was largely the territory of the Northern Paiute. The Malheur Indian Reservation was created in 1872 to set aside a small part of their former territory exclusively for Native Americans. The reservation was established by executive order of President Ulysses Grant. This was necessary since Congress refused to ratify the 1868 treaty negotiated with the Paiute (there’s rarely been any political benefit to treating Indians fairly).
Much like the right-wing extremists of today, settlers to the area flouted federal rules and began to illegally graze their cattle on Indian lands:
[...] to make matters worse, local stockmen had begun encroaching upon reservation lands. Some were so bold, [Agent W.V.] Rinehart wrote his 1878 report, “that they have even taken up their residence within the limits of the reservation, and make no secret of their intention to occupy and use the land.”
And yes, that’s exactly what Cliven Bundy is doing on federal lands in Nevada and what his son Ammon Bundy is advocating in OregonThe illegal encroachment by Euro-American settlers in the 1870s inevitably led to conflict with Indians. This then led to settlers agitating for the Federal government to remove the Indians and redistribute their land to Euro-Americans. They succeeded. 
In 1879, the reservation was closed and the land opened up for Euro-American settlement (Asian-Americans and African-Americans also settled in the area). The closure was precipitated by the Bannock War of 1878 in which the Northern Paiute were peripherally involved. Most Paiute Indians resident in the area were forcibly moved to the Yakima reservation in Washington state and not permitted to return till 1887. Today, the Wadatika band of the Paiute continues to inhabit the small Burns-Paiute reservation

You can find a fascinating set of maps of the region and the forced removals at this University of Oregon course website: Decolonizing research — The Northern Paiute History.
Here’s Indian Country’s succinct roundup:
President U.S. Grant established the Malheur Indian Reservation for the Northern Paiute in 1872. It is no coincidence that the historical reservation shares a name with the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, site of the current armed standoff.
White settlement nibbled at the Malheur Indian Reservation until the Bannock War in 1878, which ended with surrendered Paiutes and Bannocks on the reservation being removed, officially to the Yakima Reservation in Washington Territory. Unofficially, Paiutes had scattered all over the Western States that comprised their aboriginal lands. The Burns Paiute Reservation is the remains of the Malheur Reservation and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge is an alternative use for the federal land, for those who believe the federal government exists.