History of Oregon

Nez Perce warrior

This illustrated article provides interesting facts, information and a history timeline of the Native American Indians of Oregon.

The climate, land, history, environment and natural resources that were available to the indigenous Indian tribes in Oregon resulted in the adoption of the Northwest culture. In Northeast and Central Oregon some Indians adopted the Plateau Culture

Discover the history, interesting facts and information about the way of life of the Oregon Indians before the arrival of the white European settlers and colonists.

History of Native Americans
Native Indian Tribes Index

History of Oregon Indians
Factors that contributed to the history of the state are detailed in the History Timeline. The history timeline shows the impact of the new comers to the state.

Stone Age History of Oregon
The American Native Indians who lived in what is now the present state of Oregon led a Stone Age lifestyle - they only had stone tools and weapons, had never seen a horse and had no knowledge of the wheel. The history of the Oregon Indians are detailed in this article.

Map of Oregon
The map of Oregon provides a bird's eye view of the location of the tribal territories and homelands of the Oregon Indians in relation to the present day United States of America. The map indicates the location of the State and the American Native Indians of Oregon.


State Map of Oregon

State Map showing location of Oregon Indians

State Map showing location of Oregon Indians


Names of the Oregon Indian Tribes
Oregon is a state of the northwest United States in the Pacific Northwest. There are many famous Native American tribes who played a part in the history of the state and whose tribal territories and homelands are located in the present day state of Oregon. The names of the Oregon tribes included the Ahantchuyuk, Alsea, Bannock, Calapooya, Cayuse, Chastacosta, Chetco, Clatsop, Cowlitz, Hanis, Kathlamet, Kuitsh, Miluk, Modoc, Nez Perce (see above picture), Shasta, Snake, Takelma, Tillamook, Walla Walla and Yamel.

Fast Facts about the History of Oregon Indians
The way of life and history of Oregon Indians was dictated by the natural raw materials available in the State of Oregon. The natural resources and materials available provided the food, clothing and houses of the Oregon Indians. Fast facts about the history, culture and life of the State of Oregon Indians. Discover facts and information about the history of the State of Oregon Indians.

  • Name of State: Oregon
  • Meaning of State name: The name of this state is believed to come from the Spanish word "oregano" for the wild sage which grows in eastern Oregon
  • Geography, Environment and Characteristics of the State of Oregon: Coastal plain, river valley Cascade Mountains and plateau area
  • Culture adopted by Oregon Indians: Northwest Cultural Group. In Northeast and Central Oregon some Indians adopted the Plateau Culture
  • Languages: Athabaskan, Algonquian, Siouan, Caddoan and Uto-Aztecan
  • Way of Life (Lifestyle): Hunters and Fishers
  • Types of housing, homes or shelters: Pit houses, tepees, tule-mat lodges

History Timeline of the Oregon Indians
The history and the way of life of Oregon Indians was profoundly affected by newcomers to the area. The indigenous people had occupied the land thousands of years before the first European explorers arrived. The Europeans brought with them new ideas, customs, religions, weapons, transport (the horse and the wheel), livestock (cattle and sheep) and disease which profoundly affected the history of the Native Indians. For a comprehensive History timeline regarding the early settlers and colonists refer to the
Colonial America Time Period. The history of the State and of its Native American Indians is detailed in a simple History Timeline. This Oregon Indian History Timeline provides a list detailing dates of conflicts, wars and battles involving Oregon Indians and their history. We have also detailed major events in US history which impacted the history of the Oregon Indians.

Oregon History Timeline

History Timeline of the Native Indians of Oregon

10,000 BC: Paleo-Indian Era (Stone Age culture) the earliest human inhabitants of America who lived in caves and were Nomadic hunters of large game including the Great Mammoth and giant bison.

7000 BC: Archaic Period in which people built basic shelters and made stone weapons and stone tools

1738: 1738 Pierre Gaultier de la Vérendrye (1732-1739), lead the first known Euro-American expedition into Oregon

1773: 1775 - 1783 - The American Revolution.

1776: July 4, 1776 - United States Declaration of Independence

1803: The United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France for 15 million dollars for the land

1812: 1812 - 1815: The War of 1812 between U.S. and Great Britain, ended in a stalemate but confirmed America's Independence

1824: Alexander Ross was the leader of the Hudson's Bay Company's 1824 trapping expedition into Snake Country during the fur trade era in Shoshone country 

1829: William Lewis Sublette (1799–1845) took the first wagon trains along the route (Oregon Trail) to the Rocky Mountains 

1830: Indian Removal Act

1832: Department of Indian Affairs established

1848: Cayuse War (1848–1855) the influx of disease and settlers to Oregon.

1855: Winna's expedition against Snake Indians, Oregon 

1855: Klamath and Salmon River Indian war

1855: 1855 - 1856 Rogue River War in Oregon. Indian tribes were attacked in an attempt to start a war that would enable unemployed miners to work. Survivors were forced on to reservations.

1861: 1861 - 1865: The American Civil War.

1862: U.S. Congress passes Homestead Act opening the Great Plains to settlers

1864: The Snake War (1864–1868) was fought by the U.S. army against the "Snake Indians" which was the settlers term for Northern Paiute, Bannock and Western Shoshone bands who lived along the Snake River. Fighting took place in Oregon, Nevada, and California, and Idaho

1865: The surrender of Robert E. Lee on April 9 1865 signalled the end of the Confederacy

1865: 1865-1868 - Campaign against Indians in southern Oregon, Idaho (Territory) and northern California.

1872: 1872 - 1873 Modoc War in California and Oregon when led by Captain Jack Native Indians left their terrible reservation and fought for 6 months, Captain Jack was hanged

1877: Nez Perce War in Oregon, Montana and Idaho. After fighting against the Americans Chief Joseph led his tribe 1700 miles to Canada but were forced to to surrender near the border

1878: Bannock War

1887: Dawes General Allotment Act passed by Congress leads to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Indian lands to white settlers

1969: All Indians declared citizens of U.S.

1979: American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed

History Timeline of the Native Indians of Oregon

State of Oregon History Timeline

History of Oregon Indians - Destruction and Decline
The history of the European invasion brought epidemic diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, influenza, measles and smallpox. The Native Indians of Oregon had not developed immunities against these diseases resulting in huge losses in population. Exploitation including the leverage of taxes, enforced labor and enslavement were part of their history, taking their toll on the Oregon Indians.


  • History of Oregon Indians
  • Interesting Facts and information about the Oregon Culture and History
  • Names of indigenous Oregon tribes of Indians
  • Fast Facts, History Timeline and info
  • Map of Oregon
  • History Timeline of the Oregon Indians

State of Oregon Indians - Additional Pictures and Videos
State of Oregon Indian History. Discover the vast selection of pictures and videos of Native Americans. The pictures show the clothing, weapons and decorations of various Native American tribes that can be used as an educational history resource for kids and children. We hope that this article on the History of Oregon Indians  will assist in your studies or homework and that you will enjoy watching the videos featuring many pictures of the Native Americans. A great historical educational resource for kids on the subject of the History of Oregon Indians..


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