Docket 240 and the Indian Claims Commission
The Indian Claims Commission* (ICC), Docket 240, confirmed in 1955 a number of things that are important to the history and future of the Chinook Indian Nation.
1. It concluded that there was NO evidence that the Clatsop Tribe and the Kathlamet Band of Chinooks were associated with the Nehalem or Tillamook. It says that the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community, Oregon include the descendants of the Nehalem band and Tillamook band of Tillamooks. The Siletz and Grand Ronde were allowed to make claim against the United States Government on behalf of the Nehalem and Tillamook and claim payment for their traditional lands that were defined as “a section of the coast in what now is the State of Oregon from Tillamook Head at the north to Cape Lookout at the south.” Docket 240 also says “The Indians from the various villages of the Nehalem band and the Tillamook band of Tillamook intermarried and exchanged their places of residence within such territory so as to make it impossible at this time to fix the liability of the defendant to the separate bands but such liability must accrue to the plaintiffs jointly as one entity.” In 1962 the Nehalems and Tillamooks were awarded for their ceded 178,484 acres, a total of $190,187, about $1.05 per acre, or $27 per acre in today’s dollars.
2. The Siletz and Grand Ronde and their subordinate Nehalem and Tillamook were not allowed to make claims for the Chinook Indian Nation’s ancestral Kathlamet and Clatsop lands, withholding those lands for the Chinook Nation’s claims.
The Chinook Indian Nation is made up of five tribes - the Kathalmet (Cathalmet) and Clatsop of Oregon, and the Lower Chinook, Wahkiakum and Willapa of what is now Washington State. In 1958,the ICC determined that the Clatsop were part of the Chinook Nation, and the Chinook Nation were allowed to make claim for those lands in ICC Docket 234.
*The Indian Claims Commission (ICC) was established under the Indian Claims Act in 1946 by the United States Congress to hear claims of Indian tribes against the United States. The intention of the ICC was to resolve many longstanding claims. It took until the late 1970s to complete most of them, and the last was not finished until the early 21st century. The commission was conceived as a way to thank Native America for its unprecedented service in World War II and as a way to relieve the anxiety and resentment caused by the United States’ history of colonization of the lands of the Indigenous peoples. The Commission created a process for tribes to address their grievances against the United States, and offered monetary compensation for territory lost as a result of broken or non-existent treaties.