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  1. Treaties And War

From the recording Qualchan

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When General Isaac Stevens was appointed the first governor of Washington Territory in 1853 his duties were to set up a territorial government, complete a railroad survey and make peace with the tribes of the Pacific Norwest. On May 29, 1855 over 2,000 Indians from the Cayuse, Yakama, Palouse, Walla Walla and Nez Perce Tribes met with Stevens near Fort Walla Walla. In essence, Stevens demand that all tribes be placed on specific reservations and the rest of their traditional lands would be open to settlement. When the Walla Walla Council was over, the tribes were very disappointed, bitter and angry about the treaty, especially the Yakama Tribe. Chief Kamiakin and his council made the decision that their people would fight if any Americans came into Yakama territory. That decision was soon tested when gold was discovered in the Colville region. Qual Chan, took the initiative in enforcing the decision of the council. He and five of his relatives killed six miners on the Yakama River. Hearing about the attack, Indian Agent A.J. Bolon went alone to see Kamiakin. He and his horse were killed and then burned. When Bolon did not return, a friendly Des Chutes chief was sent to talk with Kamiakin. He returned and reported that Kamiakin was prepared to fight forever if necessary. That was the beginning of the Yakama War. Eventually the Walla Walla and Cayuse Tribes were drawn into the war.

by Robert Singletary