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McMenamins Edgefield History Pub
McMenamins Edgefield & Troutdale Historical Society

So long, Joel Palmer: How the Superintendent of Indians Affairs lost his job
Presented by Dr. William L. Lang, PhD

In a political commentary song written during a trying time in the 1970s, Danny O'Keefe spun a lyric full of frustration: "So long Harry Truman/ Goddamn, it's hard to find an honest man." For some in mid-19th century Oregon, the same might have been said about Joel Palmer when he left his position as the superintendent of Indian Affairs. Historians have largely echoed that sentiment, usually adding that Palmer's defense of Native Americans in the face of genocidal attacks on their communities by white Oregonians cost him his job. The story of how and why Palmer resigned shines a light on mid-19th century Oregon politics and the conflicting beliefs prevalent during this era. 

Dr.William L. Lang is Emeritus Professor of History at Portland State University, the author or editor of several books on Pacific Northwest history, and the founding editor of The Oregon Encyclopedia.

Monday, April 8th 2024
Doors at 6pm / Program at 7pm
Blackberry Hall - McMenamins Edgefield
2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale, Oregon 97060

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