Well over 100 people walked the six mile “Amanda Trail” on New Year’s Day to re-memorialize the memory of a Native American woman and others of her tribe who, along with hundreds of others, were forced to leave their Umpqua and Coos area homelands and march north to a small “reservation” near Yachats. One of those forced to leave her home was a woman known as Amanda, the wife of a white settler. In 1864, in order to make more land available for incoming whites, the U.S. Cavalry was ordered to forcibly march hundreds of Native Americans 80 miles north, over sharp rocks and through blackberry thickets, leaving bloody footprints in the dirt and on the rocky shores. Over half of them died along the way. Many of those who endured the trek died after they arrived in the Yachats area, mainly from exposure, disease and starvation.
The U.S. Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry, the Lincoln Land Legacy Program and the Angell Job Corps Camp along with landowner Jeanne Kittel, combined forces to finish the trail that runs from Cape Perpetua north to Yachats. Every New Year’s, citizens of Yachats and surrounding communities gather to remember the unspeakable suffering and anguish Amanda and her people endured during the trek and for years thereafter until their descendants acquired their own reservation lands.
Below is a video shot by photographer Ken Gagne who captured a reflective moment when many pondered the riddle of the human animal – for it’s great capacity to love yet still show such indifference to horrendous human suffering and death.
Ken Gagne video