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Tecumtum (“Elk Killer”) (?-1864) - Known as Chief John he was chief of the Etch-ka-taw-wah Indians who lived along the Applegate River in southwestern Oregon. Tecumtum’s band was the last group of Rogue River Indians to surrender during the Rogue River Indian War of 1855-1856.

Chief Tecuntum

In the fall of 1855, one of Tecumtum’s sons and another member of his band were lynched by a mob of whites in Eureka, California. Not long after, a company of volunteers from Jacksonville attacked a peaceful Indian village near the Table Rock Reservation, massacring 28 men, women, and children. Tecumtum gathered his people and fled to the coastal mountains, where he fought for over a year.

Tecumtum surrendered in the summer of 1856 when it became clear that victory was impossible. He and more than two hundred of his people were forced to abandon their ancestral lands, walking 125 miles north to their new home on the Coast Reservation, which later became the Siletz Reservation.

Two years later, both Tecumtum and his son Adam were imprisoned in San Francisco for allegedly plotting an uprising. In 1861, they returned to Oregon’s Grand Ronde Reservation. Tecumtum died of old age on June 6, 1864, at Fort Yamhill, Oregon.

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