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2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium-Helena Klein

Helena Klein The Return to Oregon: The Northern Paiute Exodus from the Yakama Reservation and Reception by Agent Smith at Warm Springs 1880-1884

Abstract
After suffering abuse at the Yakama Reservation, many members of the Northern Paiute tribe tried repeatedly to escape. Twenty-four members were finally successful, escaping to the Warm Springs Reservation in September 1880. Previous histories skipped over this critical time. Even the most complete history of the Warm Springs Reservation, a dissertation by Thelma Cliff, contains only a few sentences discussing the Northern Paiute. Through examination of correspondence between Agent John Smith and his superiors, and reports on his Agency, I argue Smith tried to reunite Paiute families, and actively disobeyed and delayed orders in an attempt to help the Paiutes on his reservation. I use decolonizing methodologies including oral histories from Northern Paiute elder, Myra Johnson, to paint a novel picture of the Paiute exodus to Warm Springs Reservation. Agent Smith’s actions shaped Paiute life on this new reservation, which has many repercussions for the Paiute people living there today.

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