No Stranger to Change /July 9 Draft

No Stranger to Change: The Oyster Bay of Katie Gale

For American History Society/Pacific Coast Branch/September 2014


LLyn De Danaan, Ph.D.

Emerita, The Evergreen State College

July 2014

“History is usually written by the winners. Their lives comprise the archival collections, and historically these have been white men enjoying political and economic privilege. So long as we rely on the materials at hand, we keep telling the same old stories.” — Jean Barman (BCBW, Volume 23, No 3, Autumn 2007)




I’ve taken the opportunity afforded by this conference to revisit a Native American woman whom I’ve studied and written about during the past decade. My book based upon her life was produced for a general audience and though well researched it is not as critical as it would have been for an academic audience.  Today I want to explore, though briefly, how Albert Hurtado and Ann Laura Stoler’s notes on “intimate frontiers” and the post colonial concept “aesthetic regime” offer interpretative strategies that are useful in understanding of Katie Gale’s life with her non-Native husband Joseph.

At the end of the piece, I’ll introduce, also briefly, two other layers of imposed sensibilties…the tourist eye and the nostalgic eye…as they molded and distorted the presentation of Native American women in late 19th and early 20th century.


The story of Katie Gale’s late 19th century life as an oyster farmer on Oyster Bay, Totten Inlet, southern Puget Sound is in some ways a uniquely new story. There were many women laboring in the rural west during this period. Some biographies examine these women’s lives in detail. Some novels such as Willa Cather’s My Antonia or Ole Edvart Rolvaag’s Giants in the Earth, have given these women an indelible place in literature.   Bold Spirit, the memorable story of Helga Estby by Linda Lawrence Hunt, makes us wonder what other tales we have yet to learn about. What is perhaps exceptional about the Katie Gale story is that she was a Native American woman, one of many whose lives off reservation during the early post treaty period are seldom examined or given treatment in our texts.


My representation of her life is also somewhat exceptional.[1] A straightforward biography of Katie Gale was not possible given the paucity of material about her or written by her. In fact, the only mark in the record decisively made by her hand is an X firmly inscribed on several court documents. Thus I strove to bring to what I knew of her life a perspective, and to work from what Monique Wittig [2]called an angle of approach that allows us to understand something of her in the context of her time if only from “out of the corner of the eye”. I have more particularly attempted in my book and in this essay to articulate when possible the dynamic interplay of gender, race, and class as these operated in her life. That is I have tried to understand her life from the perspective of a woman marginalized by the dominant culture not just by gender but also by race.   My depiction is a history from, so much as possible, “below,” that is, from the perspective of the margin and told from the point of view of a subaltern experience of the period.[3]

Though documents produced by either Gale are limited, I write try to place her in a particular place and time period, Oyster Bay in the mid to late 1800s. Oyster Bay is a kind of social historical laboratory…one that because it is in the developing west…offers many archival documents:  homestead and donation claim papers, censuses, some diaries and journals, some letters, newspapers, and reports and letters associated with the United States Indian agencies and their officers.  Thus it is not just Katie Gale’s life that I represent (and in no way does  it claim to be a story of the Coast Salish people or any particular band or tribe), but a depiction of maritime community of great diversity during the early commercialization and exploitation of its resources and statehood. The people of the bay in many ways did form a community of place and interaction in a shared historical period in a period of great change.

Karen Leong wrote an essay in which she rather optimistically said that biographical studies of non- white women have released a “plethora of unbound voices” that have reshaped the discourse of the western historical experience. [4]Still, most biography of western women is not analytical,[5] and the majority of these remain “fixated on white women.”[6] and, as Susan Armitage has said, do not challenge much at all.[7]

However critical attention to women’s stories, where it occurs, allows us to understand how gender and race, interacted with structures of power in the west. In Katie Gale’s case, these dynamics take on different significance due to her status in in the post treaty /early statehood period of Washington. Hers is not simply a tale of “survival” or a depiction of daily life on the “frontier” with all its challenges and tragedies.

Katie Gale’s story is in fact primarily a story of gender, racial inequality and the power exerted over her, her kin, her work and her body by an occupying colonial force embodied by her husband, Joseph.  Indeed, Katie Gale’s life exemplifies, I believe, Hurtado’s notion of the “intimate frontiers” of empire “a social and cultural space where racial classifications were defined and defied, where relations between colonizer and colonized could powerfully confound or confirm the strictures of governance:” [8]


When I began work on Katie Gale’s story, everyone I spoke with and everything I found in print about her assumed that she was married “Indian style” to Joseph Gale or was at best his common law wife.  Indeed, I was told that white men married Indian women so that they could acquire their families’ tidelands. Oystermen, some prominent in the area, were known to have had such wives, legal or not, and fathered children by them, but the women are unacknowledged in local histories and biographies.  Katie Gale’s story does not follow this oft-repeated narrative and my guess is that many of these other women who have been dismissed from the history books would have a rather different and significant tale to tell.[9]


Katie Gale, probably from a village up river from Puget Sound, had lived through the  occupation of Oregon and Washington territory by colonial forces.  She and other western Washington indigenous people, those who lived in drainages of rivers and streams that flow to Puget Sound, had been forcibly removed to prison encampments when they embarked upon a war of resistance (1855-56) with complaints about treaty provisions and reservations. After the war, they were expected to go to reserves.  There, their customary activities, including hunting, gathering, and religious practices, were frowned upon if not outright outlawed. Promised goods and services, spelled out in the treaties made with the United States, were late in coming, if they came at all.  The peoples’ ways of relating to one another, the land and water, and their children were undermined by these new rules and the placement and condition of the reserves. Children were taken from the influence of their families and assigned to schools that sought to destroy every semblance of their past lives and values.

In addition, Katie Gale and other Native people had been subjected on all fronts to what the literature of colonization calls a new “sensory regime.” [10]All of the peoples’ lives and bodies including their senses/and sensory experience of home and land, were affected by institutional, white, western controls imposed upon them.  The “civilizing” political society made use of schools, churches, newspapers, and, on reservations, there were enforcers of change such as agents, doctors, farmers and schoolmasters.  It was during this post- treaty time, and after the war, that Katie Gale apparently joined her extended kin in the southern Puget Sound and with them sought work and livelihood off their inadequate reservation, Squaxin Island, and away from direct control of the agency administering the reservation. This is the context in which we must understand the life of Katie Gale and probably the lives and choices available to most Native women throughout the region during this period.

The imposition of EuroAmerican hegemony was unlike anything that had been experienced by Northwest peoples. It is not as if the indigenous people did not know of and experience differences. Through loose or temporary alliances, trade with others, travel, and intermarriage, they had a vast understanding of and familiarity with a large territory, one Whaley calls Illahee.[11] Contacts and trade included all the people of the Puget Sound, far north along the coast and into the interior with trails across the Cascades and along the Columbia and south at least to northern California. Many indigenous people were familiar with or fluent in several languages and some villages were bilingual. However, they did not organize for power or build empires or have rigid boundaries or borders but instead embraced relatively permeable home territories that were usually welcoming of others. They were especially welcoming to those with kinship ties for these extended rights to hunt or fish or gather. These were loosely structured social systems.[12]  The word “tribe” was a term that in its strictest definition did not accurately describe how indigenous people of western Oregon and Washington territories were organized. Bands or small villages on drainages did, upon occasion, become allies in times of war. But the appellation tribe was applied and became commonly used to refer to those bands of people that were consolidated on reservations and compelled to live together.[13]

BEGIN ORAL Presentation Here

Oyster Bay

Oyster Bay, at the head of Totten Inlet, was home to one of the richest native oyster beds in Puget Sound. In addition to the resident T’peeksin, a band of Coast Salish people that lived at the head of the Bay, the bounty of thumb- sized delicacies attracted Native American pickers from all around Puget Sound and beyond, probably for centuries. After treaties of the 1850s[14] and the arrival of homesteading Euro-Americans and Americans, things changed dramatically for the indigenous people and for Oyster Bay.


In the post war era, Katie Gale and her kin and friends, some from bands resident in the South Sound pre-treaty and some not, were picking and selling Oyster Bay shellfish to non Natives and making a life off reservation by lumbering, farming, fishing, and working for non-Native settlers.  Women were fully engaged in this work and some had their own “picking grounds.”[15] They were forging their own livelihoods in the post 1856 treaty economy.

Oyster Bay lay largely within what was then called Sawamish County[16], named after a band of Native Americans who inhabited the territory. The earliest census figures for the area (post-1856) lists a population that includes Native Americans plus people from Scotland, Ireland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick (not part of the Canada Federation until 1867), Northwest Territory (joined the Canadian Confederation in 1870), Russia, and France. Many were farmers or small scale loggers, relatively benign neighbors and friends to indigenous people. By 1870, some Swedes and Norwegians had joined the mix. In 1878, what Raban calls the  “the great self-important juggernaut of American capitalism” [17] came to Oyster Bay in the guise of Joseph Gale and his partner. Joseph joined forces with Katie Gale whose family provided a work force, and had the resources, and the skills with which to cultivate and harvest oysters. Thus began commercial oystering on Oyster Bay. With this came more intensive gathering and parceling out of tidelands to non-Natives (and some Natives) as well as new territorial and then state laws (post 1889) governing the cultivation and harvesting of oysters.  At the same time, other institutions were well established or become established: fraternal lodges, transport, banks, newspapers (one bank rolled by Joseph Gale), steamboats, mills, bridges, and churches. The work of settlement and colonization was in full swing now, and the population grew with people intent on making this territory their own. By 1879, there were Danes, Newfoundlanders, Italians, an Australian or two and some Swiss. There were eight Chinese, a number that remained steady until 1889, the year of the Chinese Exclusion Case. Still, Chinese came back quickly: twenty-three on the census rolls, by 1892. There was a floating Chinese laundry on Oyster Bay and a upland one at New Kamilche. Katie Gale and Joseph had Chinese workmen and a foreman who was Cowlitz/Chinese mix. During that same period, the early 1890s and beginning in the late 1880s, right after Washington became a state, there was a large influx of “Canadians” and Norwegians.[18] More than 300 Canadians were on the census roles in 1892. [19]

Thus Katie Gale’s Oyster Bay, where she lived and worked from around 1860 to her death was cosmopolitan and rapidly changing. People from Europe and elsewhere who applied for homesteads would be working for citizenship at the same time in order to qualify and “prove” their claim. [20]They would not be leaving.

The Gale union, a formally legalized and documented marriage, was one of the countless cross- cultural marriages that involved Native American women and European or Euro American men in the region and on Oyster Bay. These marriages or common law unions are recorded in journals, diaries and letters from the early days of Fort Astoria, Fort Vancouver, and Fort Nisqually to name a few.[21]Through these “tender ties”[22] bonds were made between and among whole groups of people. Though much of the discussion in the literature concerns the marriages between trappers, esp. French and indigenous women, a fair amount has been published that depicts Native women in alliance with men who were either in positions of leadership, in Hudson Bay Company, at Fort Astoria, or in nascent European villages or towns, and or rose to those positions during the relationship. [23] In many ways, these cross-cultural marriages could be positive and could change the climate or character of a community from one exclusively Eurocentric to one decidedly more cosmopolitan (given that the woman usually joined the husbands business or home). They could shift the meaning of home to one that was local rather than distant for the male. They certainly could and often did establish a reciprocating bond with the local indigenous community of the wife’s family. They also provided for intimacy for both partners. For the woman, given the depredations of the era, the loss of home and home territory, and the uncertainty of the future, provided or helped her to establish a certain stability and economic as well as social space. Of course the cultural differences between the pair often continued to be obstacles to truly successful relationships as did racism and the rules and legal obstacles the surrounding community of laws and prejudice placed in the way even when husbands defended and fully embraced wives. The children of these marriages, often referred to as Metis informally, were variously accepted, assimilated, and/or faced with ambiguous or changing legal status during the last half of the 19th century of Washington. In terms of official United States policy viz the indigenous population, this period is known as the Assimilation Era. [24] In touch with the sentiment of the time, in some instances, a husband wanted to eradicate any relationship or identification the children of the marriage had to Indian roots. He might also wish to erase or eradicate the woman’s own race and culture in any way possible. This was the case of Joseph Gale.  Thus, to quote Stoler and Hurtado, The “tender ties” were also “sites of production of colonial inequities and therefore of tense ties as well.” [25]  Stoler writes that “matters of the intimate are critical sites for the consolidation of colonial power, that management of those domains provides a strong pulse on how relations of empire are exercised, and that affairs of the intimate are strategic for empire-driven states.”[26]

During the economic panic of 1893, Katie Gale feared that Joseph, in whose names their tidelands were recorded, would lose their wealth. Also, she had, she said, been treated as a menial laborer though she was a full partner in their enterprise. Joseph paid her for her labors at the same rate he paid other piece work laborers he employed. She sued, ultimately ran her own oyster business, and left considerable holdings to their two children. Her modest home was on the site of what is now the still successful Olympia Oyster Company. Her story from the point of her suit against Joseph is one of many that reflect the perseverance of women during territorial and early statehood as well as the complexity of the “encounters” between and among people in the early territorial days of the Northwest. She went to court to protect her holdings and during the proceedings she defined and spoke from her subaltern status as Native woman.

She is an Indian Woman

Pre-colonization Native American women in the region were full participants in economic activities of their families and bands.  There are many instances of leadership of women in the literature. There were a number of paths by which women attained power, including spiritual power. Women might be shaman. Women could indirectly influence economic activity through their husbands. Some women transformed themselves and became “male” in order to exert power. [27][28] Native women in the Northwest, however, were nearly immediately compared negatively with European and EuroAmerican women by European explorers and entrepreneurs. Their “nakedness” offended, they bathed in the river, were deemed “devoid of shame and decency” and were called prostitutes.[29] Denigrating language such as this is found in the letters and reports of agents assigned to the Squaxin Island Reservation, the reservation where Oyster Bay Native Americans would have been expected to reside. Women were often called “squaws”[30] and Katie, married to an enterprising and upwardly mobile white man did not escape these judgments and deprecations.  In court Joseph repeatedly spoke of her disparagingly. “If she couldn’t support herself with the money he paid her, he suggested, it is because she behaves like an Indian. That is, she works until she received payment (and this was true, he added, before they married), ‘then she would go off and stay with the Indians sometimes for months.’ He complained that she would, ‘get up in the night,’ and be gone for days. He claimed she was, ‘running with Indian men.’ He portrayed her as erratic and unpredictable. He denigrates her work habits.

Dismayed by such behavior, he complained that, ‘she usually returned broke and affiant would give her employment again.’ She had, he said, ‘wild Indian ways.’ She squandered her money he said, giving it to her, ‘tillicum and kindred.’” “Then there was her temper, he continued. ‘She is an Indian woman of vulgar taste violent and unruly temper and has often made life a burden for him.’” Even her voice offended him and his mates. It was too loud and her language unseemly. She could not be trained into being a proper EuroAmerican ideal of womanhood. Indeed, some of the language used to describe Katie Gale by Joseph Gale and his friends (in courtroom settings) is almost identical to that found in the journals from the early 1800s.

The Colonization of Women’s Bodies

In the time remaining, I want to speak briefly of one of the many ways in which Native American women’s bodies were colonized and paradoxically idealized by the new regime.

From the moment Vancouver first admired the coasts, the waters, the woods, and the inlets of the Pacific Northwest, the dream was of colonization

From the first, what was here needed, it seemed to those entrepreneurial visitors, Europeanizing. Vancouver did not see what was actually in front of him. He saw dreams of the future and the promise of a new land made to serve the interests of his country. He saw hedges and gardens. Drawings made by European artists and layperson on Vancouver’s ship and those of French and Spanish voyages and later travelers such as Paul Kane may have depicted what was “seen” in sketches, but these were dressed up by engravers or by themselves in their studios as they produced finished paintings or before publication. Composition was constructed by a European or EuroAmerican eye. [31]  And European paintings informed what was “seen.” As Raban writes, “The ghost of Salvator Rosa, hugely popular in England at the time (of Vancouver’s voyage) hangs over the midshipmen’s efforts as they labor to translate the giddy heights and vacant solitudes of the Northwest into familiar pictorial terms.”[32]

The new aesthetic regime began its work in these earliest of encounters and it worked hand in hand with the privilege of ‘discovery.”  That is, the discoverer is privileged to mold a landscape to his liking either by name, by design, or by force. [33]This is the privilege of discovery. This is how the discoverer fabricates a land it can colonize. From making hedges, importing Scotch Broom, to sending Native children to boarding schools and putting them into familiar clothing. Not just minds are colonized, but the hills, water ways, body and the skin …..everything.

European and EuroAmericans, particularly men, carried with them to the Northwest the will to colonize and this will was informed by a largely Victorian sensibility with respect to women (Victoria reigned from 1837-1901, roughly covering the period of the settlement of the Oregon Territory to the end of Katie Gale’s life) that translated into very specific expectation of women’s behavior, sexuality, and bodies.

Behaviors or dress that fell outside that expectation and sensibility were open to critical scrutiny and labeling. Women who challenged the Victorian ideal were chastised…whether in America or Europe or elsewhere in the colonial world.

Mid to late 18th century Victorian standards for women put previously uncluttered lives of powerful women from communities of Native people into literal and metaphorical strait jackets of corsets and stays…and the burden of bustles and layers of fabric popular from about………..These were totally unsuitable for the “usual an accustomed” work of the daily lives of rural women generally and Native women like Katie Gale working on mud flats culling and cultivating oysters.

Still, the EuroAmerican ideal for Native peoples included American dress of the time and order and sensibilities that were American. By boarding school times, post mid 1800s in Washington Territory, young people were extracted from homes and sent off to mission schools or consolidated agency schools shorn and dressed in buttons and bows, vests, floppy ties and creased trousers. Even music was used as a tool of assimilation. Bands were popular at Chemawa school for the order and structure they required. Uniforms were military style and followed the model established by Henry Pratt at the Carlisle Indian School.[34]The schools often changed students’ names and images of the now “civilized” children were published in order to gain support for funding. [35]They were also groomed for work in northern cities, the girls to act as servants during school breaks. Ostensibly such work would help further the assimilation process.  And with the coats and dresses and boots and bands came the rest: lessons, books, manners and European and EuroAmerican ideas of propriety, gender, and power. Ersatz European or Boston ideologies and aesthetic regimes came to overlay everything in the world of Pacific Northwest. Even the animals brought with them in their feed and dung the seeds of foreign plants that changed the landscape and the nostalgia for home led settlers to import plants like the Scotch Broom that is now ubiquitous.  Nothing was quite right. All had to be “tamed.”

Katie Gale’s as Katie Gale struggled to retain rights to live her life, make gifts and give money to relatives, stay within the Native community, and raise her children. But ultimately, her daughter Maud was kidnapped by Joseph Gale and, with the court’s approval, sent to an Olympia Sisters of Providence school[36] where her husband complained even of visits by her mother and her mother’s Native American women relatives and friends. Though many of Katie Gale’s family had assumed the trappings of the dominant culture (see wedding picture from 1903), they were still Indian. Here in the Olympia school, though Maud had been doing well in the local mixed school on Oyster Bay, she was subjected to a regimen that truly distanced her from her mother’s Native influence. After Katie Gale died in 1898, her son was also sent to school in Olympia, attended the People’s University there, and became a bottler at the local brewery. Maud and Ray both married non -Natives and were absorbed by the dominant society.


Curiously, the corsets and bustles and the gingham dresses and aprons many Native women were wearing by the late 19th century became symbols of loss by the early 20th century. Newspapers marked the passing of aged Indian men and women with nostalgic obituaries. Many were said to be the “last of their tribe.” Edward Curtis passed through Puget Sound, removed the dresses and bustles, dressed women in woven cattail mats, let down their hair, and photographed these women in  tableau like reenactments of a life they no longer lived. [37]These portraits became objects of “art” for an appreciative EuroAmerican audience. The North American Indian project, of which these photographs were a part, was financed by J.P. Morgan and began in 1906. Other what might be called “end of the trail” art flourished in photographs and documentaries such as Curtis’ Land of the Headhunter, premiering in 1914, Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North, 1922, and the work of Marius Barbeau in Canada. It is no accident that songs such as Pale Moon with lyrics by Jesse Glick were popular in the 1920s and also employed “stereotypes that anchor Indian people firmly in a timeless, primordial way of life.”[38] The operettas Pocahontas and The Captain of Plymouth and the song By the Waters of Minnetonka were also popular and depicted the “Indianist” music and confirmed many “non-Indian ideas about Indian culture.”[39]

At the same time, tourism grew and with it the notion of collecting and seeing Indians first hand as part of a Northwest experience. Basket making was encouraged by the Department of Interior as a means of earning income and with the baskets, photographs of the basket makers were made and even sold as postcards. Through the early 20th century, literally hundreds of tourists traveled by day rail to see Indians in the Puyallup hop fields. “See them play their native games” one promotion reads, and “secure one of the beautiful Native Woven Baskets.” [40] Tourists visited the Lake Quinault Lodge on the Olympic Peninsula and were feted by Indian performances and treated to the opportunity to purchase from Indian basket makers. (see picture) Now it was authenticity that was longed for by the EuroAmerican audience.

End Oral Presentation Here

There is much more to mine from Katie Gale’s story and the history of Native American women living on Oyster Bay….for example how did the off reservation women interact with and support each other? How did they interact with reservation women? How did they interact with EuroAmerican women? For example, we know of many stories of Native women acting as healers and midwives to white and Native women in the region. This includes Louisa Tobin, a cousin of Katie Gale. What were the boundaries of their acceptance beyond that role and others they played in their maritime communities?

Thanks for your interest today.







[1] Research Files, Katie Gale’s Tombstone: The Work of Researching a Life

by Llyn De Danaan. Oregon Historical Quarterly. Winter 2005.


[2] See “The Straight Mind and Other Essays” by Monique Wittig. She defines “angle of approach in the context of discussing Djuna Barne’s work: “a constant shifting which, when the text is read, produces an effect comparable to what I call an ou-of-the corner-of-the eye perception; the text bears the mark of that ‘estrangement’. P. 62.

[3] I owe much to the work of bell hooks, “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center,” and Gramsci’s post-colonial theories. See Kate A.F. Crehan, “Gramsci, Culture and Anthropology.” Chapter five of Crehan’s book discusses the power relations that maintain subordination of the subaltern and the “cracks and fissures that could potentially lead to their overcoming it.”

[4] Karen Leong cited by Margaret Jacobs, Pacific Historic Review, p. 592 and      Susan Armitage   “Wetern Women’s Biographies,” Western American Literature, 41, No. 1 (spring 2006), 72. Cited by Margaret Jacobs, ibid.

[5] For example the wonderful and popular book Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America by Linda Lawrence Hunt, Anchor, 2005. A great story of an exceptional  Norwegian immigrant woman in late 19th century Washington State.


[6] Quoted in Margaret D. Jacobs, “Getting Out of Rut: Decolonizing Western Women’s History,” Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 79, No. 4, pages 585-604. 2010. P. 592.

[7] Cited by Margaret D. Jacobs, ibid., Susan Armitage, “Western Women’s Biographies, “ Western American Literature, 41, No. 1, (Spring 2006), 72.

[8] Albert Hurtado, Intimate Frontiers: Sex, Gender, and Culture in Old California (Albuquerque, 1999). See also “Settler Women and Frontier Women: The Unsettling Past of Western Women’s History,” Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, Vol. 22, No. 3, Women’s West (2001), pp. 1-5.


[9] A story of Katie Gale’s contemporary, Sally, is an example. She was married to a white man and lived and laboured with him for years as his spouse but was never allowed in his sister’s house and was denied any of their jointly earned wealth after his death and in the aftermath of two lengthy court hearings. The legality of her marriage was challenged by the dead man’s birth family and her legal standing was examined in courts and denied. She had been picking oysters from her “own bed” before she met and married the man and was well known to be making a good living on her own.


[10] I am indebted to Margaret D. Jacobs for introducing me to the concept of “sensory regime” and the conversations about it in post-colonialism literature. See: “White Mother to a Dark Race,” by Margaret D. Jacobs, “The Anthropology of Colonialism,” Peter Pels, Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol 26 (1997), pp. 163-183; “Racial Malleability and the Sensory Regime of Politically Conscious Brazilian Hip Hop, Jennifer Roth-Gordon, 7 July 2013, American Anthropological Association.

[11] Gray H. Whaley, “Oregon and the Collapse of Illahee: U.S. Empire and the Transformation of an Indigenous World, 1792-1859.”


[12] Not in the sense in which this term is used to describe Thai society. I mean it in the sense of the fluidity of the bilateral kinship system and marriage as well as the relative lack of structurally determined leadership and interaction between and among bands and individuals.

[13] Other terms…nation, consolidated bands of…..etc.

[14] Stevens treaties, 1854-55.  Donation Land Claims Act, 1850.  Homestead Act, .


[15] Sally

[16] Renamed Mason County in 1864 in honor of Charles H. Mason, the first Secretary of Washington Territory. One of the signs of increasing white settlement and EuroAmericanizing/colonizing is the substitution of Euro-names for Native names.


[17] Jonathan Raban, “Passage to Juneau: The Sea and Its Meanings”, Vintage, 2000. p. 70.

[18] The Canadian influx may have to do with the fortunes of the Simpson and Grisdale families who emigrated from Quebec. S.G. Simpson formed the Simpson Logging Company in Mason County 1890 and was joined by a relative and neighbor George Grisdale in 1889. George’s letters to his brother Bill may have been typical of the seductive descriptions of the area being written home. The trees, he said, were “really big and tall and thick” and had to be seen to be believed. At the same time, more thousands left the Maritimes due to worsening economic conditions. (cite Thornton)

[19] Japanese do not appear in the area census rolls until the early 1900s.

[20] The Homestead Act of 1862 Declared that any citizen or intended citizen could claim 160 acres of surveyed government land. The Indian Homestead Act  of 1875 extended the Homestad Act of 1862 to Indians provided they gave up their tribal affiliation.

[21] Forthcoming book by Candace Wellman, The Peace Weavers: 19th Century Intermarriages at the Edge of the Salish Sea. This is to be a group of biographies of indigenous women married to army officers and settlers on the 1850s in one geographic cluster of intermarriages in the Bellingham Bay in Washington Territory. Also see Jean Barman’s new book, French Canadians, Furs and Indigenous Women in the Making of the Pacific Northwest.  Jean Barman  September 2014 University of Washington Press. (UBC Press)



[22] See “Many Tender Ties: Women in Fur-Trade Society, 1670-1870. Sylvia Van Kirk. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1983. Also Gray H. Whaley, “Oregon and the Collapse of Illahee,” University of North Carolina Press, 2010.


[24] Assimilation Era in Federal Indian Policy was 1887, the beginning of the allotment period, and 1943.


[25] “Tense and Tender Ties: The Politics of Comparison in North American History and (Post) Colonial Studies,” Ann Laura Stoler, The Journal of American History, Vol. 88, No. 3. December 2001. P.4. “Settler Women and Frontier Women: The Unsettling Past of Western Women’s History,” Albert L. Hurtado. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Vol. 22, No. 3, Women’s West (2001) pp. 1-5.

[26]  Ann Laura Stoler “Intimidations of Empire: Predicaments of the Tactile and Unseen” in Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History, Duke University Press,  2006. page 4,   Quoted in Margaret Jacobs page 602

[27] Example of one female shaman is the prophet Kauxuma-nupika who traveled from the plains and plateau to the lower Columbia in the early 1800s warning of coming disease and whites. Whaley discusses the role of “Madame Coalpo in the Columbia fur trade and comments that women were often at “the helm” of fur trading expeditions. Gray H. Whaley, “Oregon and the Collapse of Illahee,” University of North Carolina Press, 2010, p. 42.

[28] Many biographies, including those of contemporary women leaders, are available. See Esther Ross’s (Stillaguamish) biography, Betty Mae Jumper’s autobiography, with Patsy West, A Seminole Legend: The Life of Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, Lakota Woman, by Mary Crow Dog and Richard Erdoes , or Wilma Mankiller and Michael Wallace’s Mankiller: A Chief and Her People (1993). Also see stories of Lozen, the prominent Chiricahua Apache warrier and prophetess, and Mildred Cleghorn, first tribal chairwoman at the Fort Sill Reservation.


[29] Whaley, ibid. p. 45.

[30] This term was used to denote certain relationships between Indian women and EuroAmerican men on Oyster Bay. Indian Country Today ( circulated an account of the historical uses of the term written by Vincent Schilling.

[31] Raban p. 161 and the painting of the loom.

[32] Jonathan Raban p. 160

[33] A new exhibit at MOHAI (Seattle’s wonderful revitalized Museum of History and Industry in its new home on South Lake Union) allows spectators to push buttons and watch hills around Seattle and Elliot Bay disappear as these features rise into the sky on long fish lines and vanish into the “clouds” as it were. With just the push of a button, the course of the Duwamish River becomes a straight line rather than the meandering oxbow it once was. There seems to be no ironic commentary or critique of this….we push buttons and “poof!” there goes Denny Hill.

[34] To Win the Indian Heart: Music at Chemawa Indian School, Melissa D. Parkhurst, First Peoples, Oregon State University Press, Corvallis. 2014. p. 34.

[35] Ibid. p. 28.


[36] Sisters of Providence were especially active in establishing schools for Metis children.

[37] For a story of Edward Curtis’ life and work see Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan. 2012 Houghton Mifflen. The book further glorifies  an already glamourized man and it’s a “good read.”

[38] Melissa Parkhurst, To Win the Indian Heart. First Peoples. Oregon State University Press. Corvallis. 2014. p. 58

[39] Ibid. p. 59

[40] Authentic Indians: Episodes of Encounter from the Late-Nineteenth Century.  Paige Raibmon. Duke University Press. June 2005.

About Llyn De Danaan

LLyn De Danaan is an anthropologist and author. She writes fiction and nonfiction. Katie Gale: A Coast Salish Woman's Life on Oyster Bay was published by the University of Nebraska Press. She is currently a speaker for Humanities Washington.
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