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As It Was: Oklahoma Modocs Seek Return to Scene of 1872-73 War

Descendants of the Modoc Indians, who were torn from their ancestral lands at the end of the 1872-73 Modoc War and shipped to Oklahoma, want to return to the Tulelake region of Northern California.
After the Modoc War, the government forced 42 men, 59 women and 54 children into railroad cars that delivered them as prisoners to the Quapaw Indian Reservation in Oklahoma.  Their descendants have since received federal recognition as the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma.

Recently, a tribal lawyer related to one of the Modoc War warriors, Blake Follis, reported the tribe had paid $250,000 for 800 acres of land near the location of the Modoc War.

In 1872, a band of 60 Modocs under the leadership of Keintpoos, also known as Captain Jack, fled to the Lava Beds, where they held off as many as 600 federal troops for months before fleeing and being captured.  Six were tried for the murder of a general.  The Army hanged Keintpoos and three others after a show trial without defense lawyers.

Follis said the tribe wants to invest in the region, but doesn’t “want to displace anybody like they displaced us.”

Source: Juillerat, Lee. "Oklahoma Modocs Buy 800 Acres." Mail Tribune, 22 Oct. 2017 [Medford, Ore.] , local ed.

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.