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A History of Treaty-Making and Reservations

A History of Treaty-Making and
    Reservations on the Olympic Peninsula

  •  The Quileute Stay Put

Quileute doubts about the treaty, however, had begun almost immediately-one recent account asserts that tribal leaders said in 1856 that they had been tricked into selling their lands. Those doubts were evident in 1872 when R. H. Milroy, the superintendent of Indian Affairs for Washington Territory, provided a brief synopsis of them in his annual report to the commissioner of Indian Affairs:

The Quileutes, Hohs, and Quits reside at different points and distances from the coast north of the [Quinault] reservation, and say they never agreed to sell their country, nor did they, to their knowledge, sign any treaty disposing of their right to it. That they were present at the time the treaty with them is alleged to have been made, but that the paper that they signed was explained to them to be an agreement to keep the peace with citizens of the United States, and to accord them the same rights to come into their country and trade for furs, &c. as had previously been accorded to the Hudson Bay Company, and that the presents and payments in goods that they then received, and have since been receiving, were believed by them to be in consideration of their observance of that agreement, They therefore refuse to leave their homes and localities in which they then and still reside, and move on the reservation which they (the Quileutes, Hohs, and Quits) regard as the homes and property of the Quinaielts. (See Report of the Washington Superintendency, 1872.)

Although Milroy had noted earlier in his report that whites were beginning to stake out homesteads on the lands that the Quileutes still claimed, he now recommended that, as the land the Quileute, Hoh, and Queet occupied had "no attractions for white settlers," that the Quinault Reservation be expanded to include their homelands. There is no indication that his recommendation was seriously considered.

If the Quileute and the Hoh questioned the legitimacy of the treaty, white settlers found the Native inhabitants largely accommodating. Special Indian Agent G. A. Heney reported in 1874 that:

The tribes of Hohs and Quillehutes are still living upon lands north of the limits of the reservation. I have conversed frequently with them upon the subject of residing on the reserve. Although they express themselves friendly, and willing that the whites should occupy their land, or so much of it as is fit for settlement, they did not understand when they signed the treaty that they were giving up their homes. They are very peaceable, and in several instances have been of great assistance to individuals who have been wrecked and cast upon their coast, always treating them kindly.

There are but few settlers in that country, not more than five families, and letters from them assure me that the Indians are not troublesome, but in many ways are of assistance to them. (See Quinaielt Agency Report, 1874.)

Three years later Indian Agent C. A. Huntington, stationed at Neah Bay, noted the same Native resistance and advocated leaving the Quileute alone-for now. "I do not expect they can be induced to come to the reservation to reside permanently," he reported. "They are much attached to their ancient home." (See Neah Bay Agency Report, 1877.) Huntington's successor, Charles Willoughby, foresaw the day when the Quileute would need to be forced onto to the reservation but, until then, he urged that they be allowed to stay where they were as "the settlers need their services, and have no difficulty in obtaining them; in fact it is in the settlers best interests that these people remain." (See Neah Bay Agency Report, 1879.)

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