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As It Was: Indian Agent Sees Reservation Improvements in 1897

In condescending, racially tinged language typical of the times, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in 1897 how the federal agent in charge of the Klamath Indian Reservation, Maj. C.E. Worden, was encouraging Indians to establish homes, raise cattle and grow crops.

The newspaper said Worden had reported on the “remarkable improvement” in the heart of the Klamath Basin in the condition of the Klamath, Modoc and “Pa-Ute” [Paiute] Indians, which he credited to his efforts and land allotments.

The newspaper article of June 27, 1897, headlined “Indians becoming good farmers,” went on to say:

“The Major expects to have all the Indians located upon their allotments this season.

“The Indians this season sowed 1,200 acres of grain. They have thousands of cattle, and they attend to their ranches like white men, branding their stock and keeping up fences and corrals.

“They are rapidly forsaking their old wild life and its customs, for they are quick to see the advantages of civilization, especially for their children.

“The Government supports two schools - one at the main agency, where 125 Klamath children are in regular attendance, and the other at (Camp) Yainax, which has 120 Modoc pupils.”
 

Source: “Indians becoming good farmers.” The Midge: Cultural Newsletter for the Klamath Basin. June 21, 2017.  Reprinted from San Francisco Chronicle: Evening Herald [Klamath Falls, Ore.): June 27, 1897.

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Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.