HC444H/431H - Continuing the Search for the Cayuse Five

Professor: Michael Moffitt

CRN 12304: Fridays, 10:00am - 12:50pm @ CHA 202

Note: Registration for this course requires permission of instructor. Please see below for instructions on how to apply.

In 1850, five Cayuse men were hanged and buried in or near Oregon City. Three years earlier, missionary Marcus Whitman and about a dozen others had been killed near Walla Walla, Washington. Five Cayuse men eventually voluntarily submitted to federal troops in the region, although evidence suggests that at least some of these men may had no direct involvement with the killing. The five were brought to Oregon City, tried, convicted collectively, and publicly executed. No one alive today knows where the five were buried, preventing repatriation to their homeland.

Since early 2022, Honors College colloquium students have been coordinating closely with Tamástslikt Cultural Institute of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) on the search for the burial location of the Cayuse Five. Although it has no pre-requisites, this seminar will build on that work. Seminar participants will aid in the search for the burial location, will support ongoing tribal efforts to educate the public about the events leading to these deaths, and will work on foundational questions about potential next steps for the CTUIR and others.

Each colloquium participant will contribute to this real-world investigation, which represents a collaboration with many throughout the region. In the process, we will search for and review a broad range of historical, legal, cultural, and scientific information. On September 29 – 30, 2023, we will travel as a class for field work at the site of the hanging, at the historical Whitman Mission, and at Tamástslikt Cultural Institute. Please reserve the entirety of each of those days on your calendars. On December 1, 2023, we anticipate presenting our class findings to our tribal partners and others. Attendance for each of these will be mandatory. Admission to the seminar is by permission of the instructor.

If you want some additional reading or listening on the topic, you might visit sites such as:

But I do not have any expectation that applicants will have any background knowledge specific to the course’s topic.

Field Work: Our current plan includes a two-day trip for field work in Oregon City, Pendleton, and Walla Walla on September 29 – 30, 2023. Transportation and food will be provided. Please do not make any plans on either day, as we will leave early and return late. We will also have a multi-hour presentation on Friday, December 1, 2023.

Application Content: In 400 words or less, please explain your interest in taking this course. The primary considerations for admission to the course are a student’s demonstrated capacity to benefit from and contribute to the learning associated with this form of education. You might choose to talk about any connections you might have to the subject matter. You might choose to talk about how it fits into your academic or personal goals. You might choose to describe what you expect to bring to the course, or what you might get out of the course. Beyond the word limit, I will not restrict your response, except that I will ask you to edit your submission carefully and to indicate if you are aware of any conflicts (schedule or otherwise) that would prevent you from participating in the full experience of the seminar. In your application, please include your 95x number and a contact phone number.

Application Process and Deadline: Please submit your application via email to mmoffitt@uoregon.edu. You are encouraged to reach out to Professor Moffitt to inquire about the availability of open seats prior to applying.

Graduation Requirement: This class will fulfill a Social Science Colloquium and the US: Difference, Inequality, Agency (US) cultural literacy requirement.  If the student has already taken a Social Science Colloquium, this class will fulfill both of the following requirements: an Elective Colloquium and the US: Difference, Inequality, Agency (US) cultural literacy requirement.