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Timeline / Reshaping America / 1829–33: Northwest tribes tell of malaria outbreak

1829–33: Northwest tribes tell of malaria outbreak

Oral histories describe sailors from a ship from Chile handing out gifts to make peace and encourage trade with Native peoples. The people given the gifts are the first to die from a disease, probably malaria or one of several diseases plaguing the area, that kills about 150,000 Native peoples near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers near present-day Portland, Oregon.

Theme
Epidemics
Region
Northwest Coast

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The Unborn, by Peggy Ahvakana, Suquamish Tribe, created 1995–1996

Artist statement: “There were survivors of these epidemics. They are our elders, our ancestors; those who had a chance to grow old, have children, and grandchildren, sing songs, dance the dances of their ancestors. We have learned from these precious few and appreciate their beauty.”

Courtesy Washington State Historical Society

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The Survivors, by Peggy Ahvakana, Suquamish Tribe, created 1995–1996

Artist statement: “As a result of the epidemics we did not have the blessings of many tribal members. The people, the songs, the dances that they would have brought with them will not be shared with us. This mask show us the underdeveloped image of all these gifts that we will not have as a result of these things being taken away before they were with us.”

Courtesy Washington State Historical Society