Port Orford Jakie

Years ago, Port Orford old timers told of an Indian who paddled his canoe on Garrison Lake in the latter 1800’s. He was known as Port Orford Jakie. According to Siletz sources, he was born about 1838 and indigenous to Sixes River. After the Rogue River War, he and his people were removed from Port Orford to Siletz. For a time, Jakie begrudgingly lived on the Lower Siletz farm. Longing for his homeland, Jakie and Whiskers, a Sixes/Quatomah chief, escaped Siletz and returned to the Sixes River. Others came with or soon followed, including Jakie’s brother John, known as Port Orford/Sixes John. Later, Jakie moved south to Smith River, California. He married Abby Channon, daughter of Cha-Met, a Chemetunne from the mouth of the Rogue River. Port Orford Jakie died February 1908. He was buried on his allotment at Euchre Creek.30 years ago, when Garrison Lake drained, a handmade dugout canoe was found in the mud. There was speculation this was Jakie’s. In 2013, well over a century since Jakie paddled his canoe on Garrison Lake, members of Coos (CLUSI), Siletz, Ko-Kwel, Cow Creek and Warm Springs tribes proudly reintroduced Native canoes to the Lake. Whiskers, also referred to as Chief Tag-o-na-cia, with 25 members of his Sixes band, fled Siletz January, 1867. In August the same year, it was reported Whiskers and his entire band were captured and returned to Siletz. Apparently they didn’t stay there. Reports were made by white settlers, of “Wild” Indians on the Sixes. In 1875, settlers appealed to the government to remove these indigenous families. Whiskers managed to maintain his residence and was buried somewhere on the Sixes River. In 1938, some citizens of Port Orford, as an honor to Whiskers, requested the State of Oregon to move his remains from the Sixes to Battle Rock Park. No record of the transfer has been found. As far as we know, Chief Tag-o-na-cia, as he should be, still rests on the Sixes River.

Thanks to Katrina Thompson-Upton for providing some info on her gggreatuncle Port Orford Jakie. Other sources are John P. Harrington 1942 Siletz notes, government records and oral telling by Port Orford citizens.

Indian Canoes on Garrison lake 2013. Photo by Catherine Dupaquier