Published In

Oregon Historical Quarterly



Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2019


Overland journeys to the Pacific, Frontier and pioneer life -- Oregon, Oregon -- History, Colonization -- Oregon -- History, Land settlement -- Oregon -- History


For too long, Oregon history has been captive to the mid-nineteenth-century’s rambling wagon trains. Settler stories of motivations, hardships, and achievements, preserved in diaries, letters, and memoirs, are compelling and deserving of the attention lavished on them. But more is necessary. Oregon’s Euro-Americans were intimately tied to national and international events that saw the rise of White, European colonial expansion into the colored word. Alongside that expansion was the development of a framework of domination, justified by claims of superiority and destiny, that conflated the ability to control with the right to do so. Placing Oregon history in this larger geopolitical context allows a more coherent understanding of what made Oregon what it became, and what that history has to do with the Oregon of today.


© 2019 Oregon Historical Society; reprinted with permission.


Winning article of the 2020 Joel Palmer Award, Katrine Barber’s “‘We were at our journey’s end:" Settler Sovereignty Formation in Oregon. Each year OHQ presents the award to the author of the best article published in the journal during the previous year.

Persistent Identifier