IV. Timeline



The British appoint the first Indian superintendents in their American colonies.


Proclamation of 1763 establishes a line between Indian and American territories in the British colonies, prohibiting white settlement in Indian lands.


Bruno de Heceta and Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra sail northward, landing and claiming territory at points in present-day Washington and British Columbia.


The Continental Congress approves the Articles of Confederation, ambiguously splitting responsibility for Indian affairs between the federal government and the new states.


The Northwest Ordinance is adopted, declaring that the United States would always exercise the “utmost good faith” in its dealings with Indians. The Constitution of the United States is drafted in Philadelphia.


June: Captain John Meares arrives off the coast of Cape Flattery to trade with the Makah and is turned away.


Congress passes the first Indian Trade and Intercourse Act. It tries to regularize trade relations with the Indians and allows the federal government to evict white settlers who try to usurp Indian lands.


May: A Spanish expedition led by Salvador Fidalgo arrives in Neah Bay to build a fort; they abandon the site a few months later.


In Cherokee Nation v. Georgia the U.S. Supreme Court defines Indian tribes as “domestic dependent nations” and says that they have a relationship with the United States that “resembles that of a ward to his guardian.”


In Worcester v. Georgia the U.S. Supreme Court agrees that the federal government—not the states—have the exclusive authority to negotiate treaties with Indians.


Cherokee Removal and the “Trail of Tears.”


The commissioner of Indian Affairs, T. Hartley Crawford, suggests dividing the Indian territories west of Missouri into two “colonies” to accommodate westward migration.


The United States and Britain come to agreement over the possession of the Oregon country, setting the international boundary at the 49th parallel and establishing the United States as a transcontinental nation.


The Mexican American War ends with the secession of half of Mexico—including California—to the United States. In his annual report, Indian Commissioner William Medill outlines a new policy to move Indians onto reservations.


Oregon Donation Land Act approved by Congress and signed by the president. It allows whites to claim Indian lands in the Oregon Territory without first extinguishing Indian title to the land.


The first permanent white settler arrives in Neah Bay.


Washington Territory is created out of the Oregon Territory. Isaac I. Stevens is appointed as Washington’s first territorial governor.


December 24: At Medicine Creek near Olympia, Governor Stevens begins negotiating treaties with Indians in the territory.


January 31: Governor Stevens signs the treaty with the Makah at Neah Bay. February 24–March 2: A treaty council with the Quinault, Queets, Satsop, Lower Chehalis, Upper Chehalis, Cowlitz, and Chinook Indians collapses when Governor Stevens cannot persuade the Indians to surrender their lands and move to an unspecified reservation in Quinault territory. July 1: Indian Agent Michael T. Simmons negotiates a treaty with the Quinault, Queets, Quileute, and Hoh on the Quinault River; the treaty establishes, but does not define, the Quinault Reservation.


January 25: In Olympia, Governor Stevens signs the treaty with the Quinault, Queets, Quileute, and Hoh.


March 8: Treaty with the Quinault is ratified. April 18: Treaty with the Makah is ratified.


The boundaries of the Quinault Reservation are proposed and forwarded to Washington, D.C. for approval.


Neah Bay Indian Agent Henry A. Webster “temporarily” extends the boundaries of the Makah Reservation and begins building on the new lands.


The Indian agent at Neah Bay urges his superiors to approve the extended boundaries of the Makah Reservation.


Neah Bay Agent E. M. Gibson reports that former reservation employees are staking out claims to lands within the still-unapproved extension of the reservation.


October 26: President Ulysses S. Grant approves extending the boundaries of the Makah Reservation. He will amend his order twice in the next year—on January 2 and October 21—to refine the final boundaries.


January 2: President Grant approves the extension of the Makah Reservation. June: Soldiers evict white settlers from the Makah Reservation at Neah Bay. November 4: President Grant establishes the boundaries of the Quinault Reservation.


Prompted by growing tensions between some white settlers and the Quileute Indians at La Push, Neah Bay Indian Agent W. L. Powell urges the government to establish a reservation for the Quileute


February 19: President Grover Cleveland issues the executive order establishing the Quileute Reservation. September: A fire destroys the Quileute Indian village at La Push.


April 12: President Cleveland creates a reservation for the Indians living at Ozette. September 11: President Cleveland signs the executive order creating the Hoh Reservation.


Indian Agent Samuel G. Morse reports that litigation to evict Dan Pullen from Quileute land at La Push has come to an end and the land restored to the Quileute Reservation.

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