Sunday, August 3, 2008

Native American Petroglyph: Rogue River Rock Art

Looked closely at this photo. Early Rogue River Native American's carved out this sacred turtle petroglyph on a giant boulder that faces the Rogue River. These Native Americans existed peacefully along the Rogue River, fishing and gathering nuts for food until about the 1850s.

Mining and the settlement of the area by white men, pushed the Rogue River Indians (really a collection of several different bands of Indians that lived in the Rogue River area) out of their homelands.

As with many others, the Indians lived and traded with the fur trappers and mountain men with no problem, due to mutual respect. What caused the conflict here was the influx of miners to the area. They chopped down the trees that the Indians depended upon for acorns. They plowed up their fields full of camas bulbs. They ruined streams with mining operations. It is no wonder the Rogue River Native Americans felt forced to retaliate.

For more details on the cultural and ecological consequences of the white man's push to mine the Rogue River canyon for gold in the 1850s, check out Stephen Dow Beckham's book, Requiem for a People: The Rogue Indians and the Frontiersmen (1996)