"I look at this land, this earth; it is like my mother, as if she was giving me milk, for from it I draw the food on which I live and grow." The plea of an Oregon Indian Chief.
"These poor people, relying on the promises of their 'Great Father' for protection, prefer to keep their little homes and die by the graves of their fathers, and nothing remains but to do them simple justice and protect them in their rights." The Response of One Good Man in Authority.
FIFTY years ago, the Indians living in the valleys and mountains where Oregon, Washington, and Idaho meet, first heard the white man's cry of Gold. Onward came the excited miners, reckless with gun and regardless of rights, and away sped the Indians' game. The Indians gazed in wrathful consternation. What should they do?
"Fight," said the chiefs. "Fight for the land of our fathers!" echoed the warriors. And fight they did, with the desperate ferocity of men who know that in the end they must lose. And they lost.
Then in 1859 the Government gathered up the remnants of three tribes,—the Walla Wallas, the Cayuse, and the Umatillas,—made a treaty with them, and placed them all together on a reservation in northeastern Oregon.