Photo above: John Brown. Courtesy National Archives. Right: Engraving of U.S. Army raid against John Brown's fort led by Robert E. Lee. Courtesy Library of Congress.
Timeline - The 1850s
The Mexican War
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Detail - 1855
July 1, 1855 - Quinault River Treaty between the United States and the Quinault and Quileute tribes of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington Territory cedes their lands to the United States. It was a goal of territorial governors at the time to acquire land cession treaties with Native Americans.
It was one of the last, a treaty to separate the tribes of the Pacific Northwest, this time in the new Washington territory, with their lands. The Quinault and Quileute, plus their associate Hoh, tribes, located on the western Olympic Peninsula, would be granted a reservation, like in other treaties. It had been territorial Governor Isaac Stevens goal to gain these treaties. Yes, Isaac Stevens, later general of the Civil War. Preparations for the Quinault had begun between the tribes and the government; it would end with thirteen articles that consolidated the three tribes on Quinault land. They would be paid $25,000 for the land, miles and miles of land on the peninsula. And the land they would get as a reservation, ... well, it was up to the President to change its boundaries at any time in the future, and even require them to move to other reservation land. Great deal.
Fortunately, today the Quinault land is a large reservation and they weren't required to move. It is over two hundred thousand acres and includes twenty-three miles of Pacific coastline. The Quileute and Hoh did not like it from the start, with most refusing to move there. They would eventually get small reservations of their own; the Hoh reservation is only four hundred and forty-three acres with the Quileute just over one thousand.
While the treaty was first signed on the Quinault River on July 1, 1855 and at the territorial capitol of Olympia on January 25, 1856, Congress did not ratify the treaty until March 8, 1859.
Other Washington State Treaties
Governor Stevens had been negotiating treaties with the tribes of the territory for several years prior to that of the Quinault River. These cession treaties would basically gain the United States government control over the entire breadth of the territory, which had been carved out of the Oregon Territory on March 2, 1853. For ten years, the Washington Territory also included Idaho and parts of Wyoming and Montana. Some tribes, including the Spokan, refused to come to terms with Stevens, remaining outside the reservation system until finally forced by executive order onto the Spokane Indian Reservation in 1881.
Some of the dozen additional treaties negotiated by Stevens included ...
Treaty of Medicine Creek (December 26, 1854) - Lands near the head of Puget Sound. Tribes within the treaty included the Nisqually, Puyallup, Steilacoom, Squawskin, S'Homamish, Stehchass, T'Peeksin, Squi-aitl, and Sa-heh-wamish. 2.24 million acres ceded to the United States in exchange for three reservations.
Treaty of Hellgate (July 16, 1855) - Lands in western Montana. Tribes within the treaty included the Bitterroot Salish, Pend d'Oreille, and the Kootenai. Tribes paid $120,000.
Treaty of Neah Bay (January 31, 1855) - Northwest Olympic Peninsula. Makah tribe.
Treaty of Point Elliot (January 22, 1855) - Greater Puget Sound region. Tribes within the treaty included the Duwamish, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, Snohomish, Lummi, Skagit, and Swinomish. Four reservations were designated.
Point No Point Treaty (January 26, 1855) - Lands included the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula. Tribes within the treaty included the S'Klallam, the Chimakum, and the Skokomish. Tribes paid $60,000 and given small reservations.
Quinault River Treaty - Full Text
Articles of agreement and convention made and concluded by and between Isaac I. Stevens, governor and superintendent of Indian affairs of the Territory of Washington, on the part of the United States, and the undersigned chiefs, headmen, and delegates of the different tribes and bands of the Qui-nai-elt and Quil-leh-ute Indians, on the part of said tribes and bands, and duly authorized thereto by them.
ARTICLE 1. - The said tribes and bands hereby cede, relinquish, and convey to the United States all their right, title, and interest in and to the lands and country occupied by them, bounded and described as follows: Commencing at a point on the Pacific coast, which is the southwest corner of the lands lately ceded by the Makah tribe of Indians to the United States, and running easterly with and along the southern boundary of the said Makah tribe to the middle of the coast range of mountains; thence southerly with said range of mountains to their intersection with the dividing ridge between the chehalis and Quiniatl Rivers; thence westerly with said ridge to the Pacific coast; thence northerly along said coast to the place of beginning.
ARTICLE 2. - There shall, however, be reserved, for the use and occupation of the tribes and bands aforesaid, a tract or tracts of land sufficient for their wants within the Territory of Washington, to be selected by the President of the United States, and hereafter surveyed or located and set apart for their exclusive use, and no white man shall be permitted to reside thereon without permission of the tribe and of the superintendent of Indian affairs or Indian agent. And the said tribes and bands agree to remove to and settle upon the same within one year after the ratification of this treaty, or sooner if the means are furnished them. In the meantime it shall be lawful for them to reside upon any lands not in the actual claim and occupation of citizens of the United States, and upon any lands claimed or occupied, if with the permission of the owner or claimant. If necessary for the public convenience, roads may be run through said reservation, on compensation being made for any damage sustained thereby.
ARTICLE 3. - The right of taking fish at all usual and accustomed grounds and stations is secured to said Indians in common with all citizens of the Territory, and of erecting temporary houses for the purpose of curing the same; together with the privilege of hunting, gathering roots and berries, and pasturing their horses on all open and unclaimed lands. Provided, however, That they shall not take shell-fish from any beds staked or cultivated by citizens; and provided, also, that they shall alter all stallions not intended for breeding, and keep up and confine the stallions themselves.
ARTICLE 4. - In consideration of the above cession, the United States agree to pay to the said tribes and bands the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars, in the following manner, that is to say: For the first year after the ratification hereof, two thousand five hundred dollars; for the next two years, two thousand dollars each year; for the next three years, one thousand six hundred dollars each year; for the next four years, one thousand three hundred dollars each year; for the next five years, one thousand dollars each year; and for the next five years, seven hundred dollars each year. All of which sums of money shall be applied to the use and benefit of the said Indians under the directions of the President of the United States, who may from time to time, determine at his discretion upon what beneficial objects to expend the same; and the superintendent of Indian affairs, or other proper officer, shall each year inform the President of the wishes of said Indians in respect thereto.
ARTICLE 5. - To enable the said Indians to remove to and settle upon such reservation as may be selected for them by the President, and to clear, fence, and break up a sufficient quantity of land for cultivation, the United States further agree to pay the sum of two thousand five hundred dollars, to be laid out and expended under the direction of the President, and in such manner as he shall approve.
ARTICLE 6. - The President may hereafter, when in his opinion the interests of the Territory shall require, and the welfare of the said Indians be promoted by it, remove them from said reservation or reservations to such other suitable place or places within said Territory as he may deem fit, on remunerating them for their improvements and the expenses of their removal, or may consolidate them with other friendly tribes or bands, in which latter case the annuities, payable to the consolidated tribes respectively, shall also be consolidated; and he may further, at his discretion, cause the whole or any portion of the lands to be reserved, or of such other land as may be selected in lieu thereof, to be surveyed into lots, and assign the same to such individuals or families as are willing to avail themselves of the privilege, and will locate on the same as a permanent home, on the same terms and subject to the same regulations as are provided in the sixth article of the treaty with the Omahas, so far as the same may be applicable. Any substantial improvements heretofore made by any Indians, and which they shall be compelled to abandon in consequence of this treaty, shall be valued under the direction of the President, and payment made accordingly therefor.
ARTICLE 7. - The annuities of the aforesaid tribes and bands shall not be taken to pay the debts of individuals.
ARTICLE 8. - The said tribes and bands acknowledge their dependence on the Government of the United States, and promise to be friendly with all citizens thereof, and pledge themselves to commit no depredations on the property of such citizens; and should any one or more of them violate this pledge, and the fact be satisfactorily proven before the agent, the property taken shall be returned, or in default thereof, or if injured or destroyed, compensation may be made by the Government out of their annuities. Nor will they make war on any other tribe except in self-defence, but will submit all matters of difference between them and other Indians to the Government of the United States, or its agent, for decision and abide thereby; and if any of the said Indians commit any depredations on any other Indians within the Territory, the same rule shall prevail as is prescribed in this article in case of depredations against citizens. And the said tribes and bands agree not to shelter or conceal offenders against the laws of the United States, but to deliver them to the authorities for trial.
ARTICLE 9. - The above tribes and bands are desirous to exclude from their reservations the use of ardent spirits, and to prevent their people from drinking the same, and therefore it is provided that any Indian belonging to said tribes who is guilty of bringing liquor into said reservations, or who drinks liquor, may have his or her proportion of the annuities withheld from him or her, for such time as the President may determine.
ARTICLE 10. - The United States further agree to establish at the general agency for the district of Puget Sound, within one year from the ratification hereof, and to support for a period of twenty years, an agricultural and industrial school, to be free to the children of the said tribes and bands in common with those of the other tribes of said district, and to provide the said school with a suitable instructor or instructors, and also to provide a smithy and carpenter's shop, and furnish them with the necessary tools, and to employ a blacksmith, carpenter, and farmer for a term of twenty years, to instruct the Indians in their respective occupations. And the United States further agree to employ a physician to reside at the said central agency, who shall furnish medicine and advice to their sick, and shall vaccinate them; the expenses of the said school, shops, employees, and medical attendance to be defrayed by the United States, and not deducted from their annuities.
ARTICLE 11. - The said tribes and bands agree to free all slaves now held by them, and not to purchase or acquire others hereafter.
ARTICLE 12. - The said tribes and bands finally agree not to trade at Vancouver's Island or elsewhere out of the dominions of the United States, nor shall foreign Indians be permitted to reside on their reservations without consent of the superintendent or agent.
ARTICLE 13. - This treaty shall be obligatory on the contracting parties as soon as the same shall be ratified by the President and Senate of the United States.
In testimony whereof, the said Isaac I. Stevens, governor and superintendent of Indian affairs, and the undersigned chiefs, headmen, and delegates of the aforesaid tribes and bands of Indians, have hereunto set their hands and seals, at Olympia, January 25, 1856, and on the Qui-nai-elt River, July 1, 1855.
Isaac I. Stevens, Governor and Sup't of Indian Affairs.
Tah-ho-lah, Head Chief Qui-nite-'l tribe, his x mark. (L.S.)
How-yat'l, Head Chief Quil-ley-yute tribe, his x mark. (L.S.)
Kal-lape, Sub-chief Quil-ley-hutes, his x mark. (L.S.)
Tah-ah-ha-wht'l, Sub-chief Quil-ley-hutes, his x mark. (L.S.)
Lay-le-whash-er, his x mark. (L.S.)
E-mah-lah-cup, his x mark. (L.S.)
Ash-chak-a-wick, his x mark. (L.S.)
Ay-a-quan, his x mark. (L.S.)
Yats-see-o-kop, his x mark. (L.S.)
Karts-so-pe-ah, his x mark. (L.S.)
Quat-a-de-tot'l, his x mark. (L.S.)
Now-ah-ism, his x mark. (L.S.)
Cla-kish-ka, his x mark. (L.S.)
Kler-way-sr-hun, his x mark. (L.S.)
Quar-ter-heit'l, his x mark. (L.S.)
Hay-nee-si-oos, his x mark. (L.S.)
Hoo-e-yas'lsee, his x mark. (L.S.)
Quilt-le-se-mah, his x mark. (L.S.)
Qua-lats-kaim, his x mark. (L.S.)
Yah-le-hum, his x mark. (L.S.)
Je-tah-let-shin, his x mark. (L.S.)
Ma-ta-a-ha, his x mark. (L.S.)
Wah-kee-nah, Sub-chief Qui-nite'l tribe, his x mark. (L.S.)
Yer-ay-let'l, Sub-chief, his x mark. (L.S.)
Silley-mark'l, his x mark. (L.S.)
Cher-lark-tin, his x mark. (L.S.)
How-yat-'l, his x mark. (L.S.)
Kne-she-guartsh, Sub-chief, his x mark. (L.S.)
Klay-sumetz, his x mark. (L.S.)
Kape, his x mark. (L.S.)
Hay-et-lite-'l, or John, his x mark. (L.S.)
Executed in the presence of us; the words "or tracts," in the II. article, and "next," in the IV. article, being interlined prior to execution.
M. T. Simmons, special Indian agent.
H. A. Goldsborough, commissary, &c.
B. F. Shaw, interpreter.
James Tilton, surveyor-general Washington Territory.
J. Y. Miller.
H. D. Cock.
Jan. 25, 1856. Ratified Mar. 8, 1859. Proclaimed, Apr. 11, 1859.
Photo above: Two Quinault tribe members fishing from canoe, 1913, Edward S. Curtis. Photo below: Spokan camp, 1910, Edward S. Curtis. Both photos courtesy Library of Congress. Info source: Treaty Text - Access Washington, Official State Government Website, Governor's Office of Indian Affairs; Library of Congress; Spokane Tribe of Indians, Socioeconomic Profile 2012; Wikipedia Commons.