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Message - Re: SEN-D - history of Amazon Creek
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Posted by  Kevin Matthews on March 22, 2002 at 15:04:17:

(As originally sent with an enclosure this was too big for the list, so I'm forwarding this smaller version. Margaret, would you mind if I posted the text of the enclosure on the forum online? - KMM)
====== Forwarded Message ======
Date: 3/22/02 1:46 PM
Received: 3/22/02 1:47 PM
From: Margaret Robertson
To: matthews@artifice.com

Here's another piece of the picture you might be interested in: An
additional species which adapted to the annual floods in the Amazon
Creek riparian zone was homo sapiens. There is some evidence of a
culture with Clovis technology in the valley around 10,000 years ago.
There is ample evidence of Kalapuyan culture beginning around 8000 years
ago. The area along the Long Tom River and Coyote and Amazon Creeks was
rich with summer camps and winter villages.

Groups stayed within a limited geographic area, such as the watershed
of a major tributary of the Willamette River. Each band occupied its
own valley or basin formed by one of the larger tributaries of
Willamette River, and shared its own dialect and culture. Each major
river valley offered a range of riparian, lowland, and upland habitat
types. Two Kalapuya bands used the west Eugene area jointly: the
Chafan, who lived along Amazon Creek, and the Chelamela, who lived along
Coyote Creek and Long Tom River.

The two groups shared the moist lowland known as Grand Prairie
(northwest of Eugene and southeast of Junction City, between the
Willamette River and Amazon Creek), which was a joint use area of high
population density and intensive harvesting during the late summer.

Fire was used as a management tool to create habitat, for harvesting,
and for hunting. The valley was a constantly-changing mosaic of wet
marshes, wet forests (too wet to burn), and drier prairie.

Kalapuyan life followed the cycles of the river. The Kalapuya were a
people who were greatly influenced by and lived within the rhythms of
nature and the seasons. What they ate and where they lived depended on
the level of the river at any given time.

When the valley began to flood, people came together in winter
villages, located on higher ground at the edge of the valley. As soon
as floodwaters receded, they dispersed into smaller groups and moved to
warm-season streamside camping areas. Deer, bear, raccoon, rabbit,
beaver, muskrat, turtle, and squirrel were found at streamside sites.
Rich floodplain soil produced abundant plant food, particularly the
moisture-loving camas. Seasonal flooding may have contributed to
maintaining the open nature of low-lying areas.

Major staples included camas, berries, hazelnuts, tarweed seeds,
acorns, elk, white- and black-tail deer, small mammals, waterfowl, and
non-anadromous fish.

Camas was the primary food staple. Roots were dug, then cooked in
large rock ovens in the ground. Camas was sometimes made into cakes
weighing up to 10 pounds, which were stored and eaten in winter. The
earliest camas oven found to date is from circa 5800 B.C. at the
Hannavan Creek site, on the east side of Fern Ridge Reservoir.

Tarweed (Madia) was another staple. Tarweed is similar to sunflower.
To harvest, an area was set afire; the grass would burn, leaving the
tarweed standing, with the problematic sticky black tar burned off.
Seeds were then beaten into conical buckets, cooked, and ground into
flour. Tarweed flour was sometimes mixed with cooked camas and

I'm attaching some notes with bibliography, in case you're interested
in digging further.



Aikens, C. Melvin., ed. Archaeological Studies in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. University of Oregon Anthropological Papers, No. 8, 1975.

Boyd, Robert, ed. Indians, Fire and the Land in the Pacific Northwest. Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon State University Press, 1999.

Beckham, Stephen Dow, Rick Minor, Kathryn Anne Toepel. Prehistory And History Of BLM Lands In West-Central Oregon : A Cultural Resource Overview.
Eugene, Oregon : Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, 1981.

Carter, Elizabeth, Michelle Dennis. Eugene Area Historic Context Statement. Eugene, Or.: The City, 1996.

Cheatham, Richard D. The Fern Ridge Lake Archaeological Project, Lane County, Oregon, 1982-1984. Report to the Portland District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Eugene, Oregon: Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, 1984.

Cheatham, Richard D. Late Archaic Settlement Pattern in the Long Tom Sub-Basin, Upper Willamette Valley, Oregon. Eugene, Oregon: Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, 1988.

Forester, Thomas B., ed., et al. The Cultural and Historic Landscapes of Lane County, Oregon : Summary Report of the 1986 Cultural and Historic Landscape Resource Survey. Eugene, Or. : The Survey, 1986

Mackey, Harold. The Kalapuyans. Salem, Oregon: Mission Mill Museum Association, 1974.

Walling, A.G. Illustrated History of Lane County. Portland, Oregon: A. G. Walling, 1884.

White, John Robert. Prehistoric Sites of the Upper Willamette Valley: A Proposed Typology. Doctoral dissertation, University of Oregon, 1974.

>>> Kevin Matthews 03/21/02 10:07PM >>>
Dear Southeast Neighbors and Friends,

I thought the little chunk copied below from the Long Tom Watershed
Council March Newsletter was evocative, and of interest for we stewards
of the upper Amazon.

FYI, the entire Watershed Assessment including maps can be downloaded


Best wishes,


====== Forwarded Message ======
Date: 3/21/02 3:08 PM
Received: 3/21/02 3:09 PM
From: Long Tom Watershed Council
To: LTWCmembers list-serv


Our Long Tom Watershed Assessment describes our historic riparian areas
in great detail. In one example, it states "...that species in the Long
Tom Watershed have adapted to and come to rely on the conditions that
existed in pre-settlement times.

For example, riparian zones along Amazon Creek, which used to be wet
prairie, provided habitat for many wetland plants and animals. During
the winter, Amazon Creek widened into a shallow lake, more than half a
mile across.

These annual floods carried and deposited nutrients and sediment onto
the floodplain before retreating in late spring. Many types of plants
and animals adapted to this cycle. Juvenile fish could hide from
predators in the shallow, vegetated floodplain. Waterfowl raised young
and feasted on wetland plants and insects.

In contrast, riparian zones in the Coast Range foothills provided
different kinds of ecological functions. Their towering canopies
provided shade, which helped to keep air and water temperatures cool.
Large conifers that fell into the stream trapped gravel and slowed
stream flow, which benefited native cutthroat trout."


====== End Forwarded Message ======

Citizens Nature Project! http://www.NatureProject.org/nature.html
Neighbors Forum! http://www.SoutheastNeighbors.org/sen_forum.html
Kevin Matthews, matthews@artifice.com
541-345-7421 vox, 541-345-7438 fax, P.O. Box 1588, Eugene, OR 97440
====== End Forwarded Message ======


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