VIII. THE KLAMATH RIVER RESERVATION1858-1894* (continued)
K. THE RESERVATION1890-1892
When the Superintendent of Indian Schools visited the Klamath in September 1890, he was deeply impressed with the Yurok. Lacking the prejudice of many of the local whites, he reported that they were "physically a good type of Indian, vigorous, self-supporting, and in some degree progressive." But, he complained, since 1861 "the United States had done nothing for their education." 
Agent Beers was likewise impressed with the Yurok. He found that several of them had taken up land under the Allotment Act, while one or two others had secured homesteads. Although they had received little or no assistance from the government since the flood of 1861-62, a number of them were "living in comfortable houses and are well advanced in civilization." Generally, they were more independent and self-reliant than the Hupa, "being good workers, and as they say in this Western Country, many of them are good 'rustlers.'"  As the Yurok and Hupa were of the same culture, the only difference being their language, it was apparent that the Hupa suffered from an excess of paternalism on the government's part. In the years since 1862, the Yurok had had little contact with the agent, while the Hupa had been closely supervised by personnel assigned to the Hoopa Valley Agency.
A number of nearby stock ranches, the salmon fisheries, and the diggings at Gold Bluffs and on the middle reaches of the Klamath afforded the Yurok opportunity to earn wages. Many of them spent part of the summer working for farmers, while in the fall scores moved into the migrant labor camps near Arcata, where they dug potatoes. Agent Beers had heard the farmers say that "they could not secure this crop were it not for these Indians." Most of the work was done by contract, the men, women, and children toiling together. The men did the digging, while the women and children sacked the potatoes. 
Beers admired the skill of the Yurok in riving redwood lumber from which they erected their dwellings and sweathouses. Their canoes were works of art. They built all vessels used on the Klamath, as well as the Trinity. They were quick to discover and adopt the better features of the boats brought to the Klamath by the canneries. He had seen canoes made by the Yurok from "a redwood log as finely shaped as a yawl boat," which they had learned to navigate with sail. 
During Fiscal Year 1892 there had been some difficulties between the Yurok and land-grabbing whites. So far as Beers could ascertain, the whites had generally been the aggressors. Generally, however, the Indians and whites lived on good terms, and both looked "anxiously for final settlement of the land question along the lower Klamath." 
Last Updated: 15-Jan-2004