Request to Open Indian Lands 1857

Transcript of Original Document

To the Commissioner of the General Land Office

Your memorialists the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Oregon most respectfully represent: That by the treaty of the tenth of September 1853, made with the Rogue River tribe of Indians in southern Ore-gon, a Reservation was established on the North side of Upper Rogue River in said Territory, known and designated on the maps of the United States as the "Table Rock Reserve"; That said Reserve embraces about three town-ships of the best arable land in Oregon; That under late instructions from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the Indians located on said Table rock Reserve have been transferred to, and located on the "Grand Ronde Reserve in Northern Oregon, whereby said first mentioned reservation has become uninhabited by Indians-

Therefore your memorialists respectfully urge your Department to direct the completion of the survey of said Reserve; and that the efforts and influence of the same be used to have said reservation vacated and opened for preemption and purchase.

And as in duty bound will ever pray,

Adopted December 18 1857
L. F. Grover
Speaker of the House of Representatives
James K. Kelly
President of the Council

Background

In 1853, the Table Rock Reservation was established by treaty with the Rogue River Indians. After the Rogue River War ended in 1856, the Indians were moved to the Grand Ronde Reservation in the northern part of Oregon. In this document, the territorial legislature petitions the U.S. General Land Office to survey the Table Rock lands and open them for purchase. This pressure to settle lands occupied by Indians was a constant source of tension in Indian-white relations.

Words and Terms

arable
preemption
General Land Office

For Further Discussion

  1. What does the document say happened to the Indians who were on the Table Rock Reservation?
  2. What does this memorial ask the General Land Office to do?
  3. If you were an Indian from the Table Rock area, how would you react to this memorial? What could you do about it?
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Image of letter transcribed in body of page.
Document No. 7543 - Enlarge image