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History > U.S. History > Local and Regional > Pacific Northwest

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At the Hearth of the Crossed Races Cover

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At the Hearth of the Crossed Races

A French-Indian Community in Nineteenth-Century Oregon, 1812-1859

Melinda Jetté

Despite the force of Oregon’s founding mythology, the Willamette Valley was not an empty Eden awaiting settlement by hardy American pioneers. Rather, it was, as Melinda Jetté explores in At the Hearth of the Crossed Races, one of the earliest sites of extensive intercultural contact in the Pacific Northwest.

Jetté’s study focuses on the “hearth” of this contact: French Prairie, so named for the French-Indian families who resettled the homeland of the Ahantchuyuk Kalapuyans. Although these families sought a middle course in their relations with their various neighbors, their presence ultimately contributed to the Anglo-American colonization of the region. By establishing farming and husbandry operations in the valley, the French-Indian settlers enhanced the Willamette Valley’s appeal as a destination of choice for the Anglo-Americans who later emigrated to the Pacific Northwest via the Oregon Trail.

Upon these emigrants’ arrival, the social space for the people of the “crossed races” diminished considerably, as the Anglo-Americans instituted a system of settler colonialism based on racial exclusion. Like their Native kin, the French-Indian families pursued various strategies to navigate the changing times and Jetté’s study of French Prairie takes on the relationships among all three: the French-Indian families, the indigenous peoples, and the Anglo-American settlers.  

With At the Hearth of the Crossed Races, Jetté delivers a social history that deepens our understanding of the Oregon Country in the nineteenth century. This history of French Prairie provides a window into the multi-racial history of the Pacific Northwest and offers an alternative vision of early Oregon in the lives of the biracial French-Indian families whose community challenged notions of white supremacy, racial separation, and social exclusion.

Atomic Frontier Days Cover

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Atomic Frontier Days

Hanford and the American West

By John M. Findlay and Bruce Hevly

Takes readers behind the headlines into the Manhattan Project at Hanford and the communities that surround it and offers perspectives on today’s controversies in an area now famous for the monumental effort to clean up decades of nuclear waste.

Beaten Down Cover

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Beaten Down

A History of Interpersonal Violence in the West

by David Peterson del Mar

Being Cowlitz Cover

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Being Cowlitz

How One Tribe Renewed and Sustained Its Identity

by Christine Dupres

Bootleggers and Borders Cover

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Bootleggers and Borders

The Paradox of Prohibition on a Canada-U.S. Borderland

Stephen T. Moore

Between 1920 and 1933 the issue of prohibition proved to be the greatest challenge to Canada-U.S. relations. When the United States adopted national prohibition in 1920—ironically, just as Canada was abandoning its own national and provincial experiments with prohibition—U.S. tourists and dollars promptly headed north and Canadian liquor went south. Despite repeated efforts, Americans were unable to secure Canadian assistance in enforcing American prohibition laws until 1930.
Bootleggers and Borders explores the important but surprisingly overlooked Canada-U.S. relationship in the Pacific Northwest during Prohibition. Stephen Moore maintains that the reason Prohibition created such an intractable problem lies not with the relationship between Ottawa and Washington DC but with everyday operations experienced at the border level, where foreign relations are conducted according to different methods and rules and are informed by different assumptions, identities, and cultural values.
Through an exploration of border relations in the Pacific Northwest, Bootleggers and Borders offers insight not only into the Canada-U.S. relationship but also into the subtle but important differences in the tactics Canadians and Americans employed when confronted with similar problems. Ultimately, British Columbia’s method of addressing temperance provided the United States with a model that would become central to its abandonment and replacement of Prohibition. 

The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff Cover

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The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff

The Redemption of Herbert Niccolls Jr.

by Nancy Bartley

The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff explores this a little-known story of a young boy's fate in the juvenile justice system during the bloodiest years in the nation's penitentiaries.

Breaking Chains Cover

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Breaking Chains

Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory

R. Gregory Nokes

Calamity Cover

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The Heppner Flood of 1903

by Joann Byrd

The Canoe and the Saddle Cover

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The Canoe and the Saddle

A Critical Edition

Theodore Winthrop

In 1853, with money in his pocket and elegant clothes in his saddlebags, a twenty-four-year-old New Englander of aristocratic Yankee stock toured the territories of California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. The Canoe and the Saddle recounts Theodore Winthrop’s Northwest tour. A novelized memoir of his travels, it became a bestseller when it was published shortly after the author’s untimely death in the Civil War.

This critical edition of Winthrop’s work, the first in over half a century, offers readers the original text with a narrative overview of the nature and culture of the Pacific Northwest and reflections on the ecological and racial turmoil that gripped the region at the time. It also provides a fresh perspective on the aesthetic, historical, cultural, anthropological, social, and environmental contexts in which Winthrop wrote his sometimes disturbing, sometimes enlightening, and always riveting account. Whether offering portraits of Native American culture—in particular, commenting on the Chinook Jargon—making keen and often prescient observations on nature, or deploying transcendental, animist, or Hudson River School aesthetics (likely learned from his friend Frederick Church), Winthrop develops a clear and compelling picture of a time and place still resonant and relevant today.

Claiming the Oriental Gateway: Prewar Seattle and Japanese America Cover

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Claiming the Oriental Gateway: Prewar Seattle and Japanese America

In Claiming the Oriental Gateway, Shelley Sang-Hee Lee explores the various intersections of urbanization, ethnic identity, and internationalism in the experience of Japanese Americans in early twentieth-century Seattle. She examines the development and self-image of the city by documenting how U.S. expansion, Asian trans-Pacific migration, and internationalism were manifested locally—and how these forces affected residents’ relationships with one another and their surroundings.

Lee details the significant role Japanese Americans—both immigrants and U.S. born citizens—played in the social and civic life of the city as a means of becoming American. Seattle embraced the idea of cosmopolitanism and boosted its role as a cultural and commercial "Gateway to the Orient" at the same time as it limited the ways in which Asian Americans could participate in the public schools, local art production, civic celebrations, and sports. She also looks at how Japan encouraged the notion of the "gateway" in its participation in the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and International Potlach.

Claiming the Oriental Gateway thus offers an illuminating study of the "Pacific Era" and trans-Pacific relations in the first four decades of the twentieth century.

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