Third Tuesday Author: David H. Wilson
Please join us on Tuesday, November 15 at 5:30pm for a presentation by David H. Wilson, author of Northern Paiutes of the Malheur: High Desert Reckoning in Oregon Country.
In 1870 a twenty-six-year-old Paiute, Sarah Winnemucca, wrote to an army officer requesting that her people be given a chance to settle and farm their ancestral land in Oregon Country. The eloquence of her letter was such that it made its way into Harper’s Weekly. Ten years later, as her people languished in confinement as a result of the Bannock War, she convinced Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz to grant the requests in her letter and free the Paiutes as well. But Indian agents and other officials who opposed Schurz’s decision, flooded Schurz with false information that deceived him into reversing it.
Indian agents’ betrayal of the people they were paid to protect saddled Paiutes with responsibility for a war that most opposed and led to U.S. dissolution of their reservation, misappropriation of their land, and deprivation of all but the paltriest benefits. Robbed of the land that was their only means of support, provided with nothing in return, Paiutes were driven more deeply into poverty and disease than any other Natives of that era. To this day accounts of the war are virtually unanimous in their mistaken claim that Chief Egan led his Paiutes into the conflict. David H. Wilson Jr. unravels the web of lies and deceit, exposing the full jarring injustice and, after 143 years, recounting the Paiutes’ true and proud history for the first time.
This event will take place in-person at the Library and will be livestreamed on LOPL's YouTube channel.
David H. Wilson Jr. grew up in northern Ohio, but after months of canoeing in far northern Canada, decided to live in a place where wilderness was accessible. In 1974 he moved to Oregon, where decades of birding, photographing, and rafting east of the Cascade Mountains sparked a curiosity about those who had preceded him to this remarkable land. The result, eight years later, is Northern Paiutes of the Malheur. David practiced law in Portland, which is home for him, his wife, three children, and two grandchildren.