Sunday, December 15, 2013

Yakama Battles Map - a Work in Progress

I started a little but complex project of mapping the various Yakama (tribe spelling) battles or mortal incidences (some would better be described as murder). I started this just to get the locations and time lines straight in my head. The various violent engagements are scattered over a large area and the relationships are sometimes confusing. And the map has a ways to go. The short of this project is that the Yakama War was a critical period in the early days of United States governance of Washington and I am finding the story rather confusing and disjointed and rather badly told as it almost always comes in fragments versus the whole thing.

Currently I am working through Jack Splawn's book Ka-mi-akin, The Last Hero of the Yakimas (1917) ( a book I highly recommend as it has much more to it than Ka-mi-akin). Splawn's work adds significant detail via his friendships and having lived in the Yakama Country from shortly after the war and his work may be the broadest. He clearly did a lot of research. He also comes across as very fair in his treatment of the individuals and groups involved being both critical and complimentary. 

Reading Splawn as well as other accounts, the authors often assume a knowledge of the reader. So while certain names that at the time of writing needed no discussion are not so well known to readers coming at this 150 years or more later.

What got me started on this was that while assessing some gravel deposits and complex glacial outwash valleys in King County. Looking over a topo/aerial mapping program and spotting a battle memorial location on the map - the red dot on the west side of the Cascades. That led to the question: What is that?

More to come later as I make slow progress.

No comments: