Yachats: Commemorating the lives of Native Americans forced to march from Coos Bay to Yachats in the 1860’s to a life of misery and early death
A group of Yachats residents and Oregon Coast Native Americans gathered for the third year in a row on New Year’s day to walk part of the trail on which the U.S. Army, in the 1860’s, forcibly marched a band of Coos Bay area Native Americans north to Yachats. When they arrived, they were forced to subsist on their wits and whatever food they could grow or catch on their own. One of those Native Americans was a woman named Amanda who was blind and who fell many times on the 80 mile journey, leaving blood drops along the path to the incarceration area, while white settlers back in Coos Bay took over their ancestral lands.
Amanda’s Trail was originally dedicated on July 19, 2009 and climbs 800 feet from downtown Yachats to the summit of Cape Perpetua where it links with the extensive trail system of the Siuslaw National Forest. Yachats residents, along with their Native American brothers and sisters, every year walk three miles of the trail from the Yachats Commons south to a statue of Amanda that stands as an eternal tribute to Amanda and her fellow tribal members who suffered so greatly during and after the forced abandonment of their homes and homelands.
The New Year’s Day marchers trekked to near the base of Cape Perpetua where they gathered at Amanda’s statue to pray for world peace in hopes that such terrible cruelty and injustices inflicted upon peace loving peoples will one day cease. American Natives flutists played haunting melodies to call up the memory of Amanda and other Native American victims who died from exposure to harsh weather, meager food and inadequate shelter.
Prayers for world peace and justice were again offered and then the gathering walked somberly back into town.