Alfred B. Meacham

Alfred B. Meacham

Alfred B. Meacham (1826–1882) was an American reformer and historian who served as Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the state of Oregon.

Meacham was born in Indiana, where his family had moved from North Carolina because of their objection to slavery. He traveled to California during the 1849 gold rush and then settled in northeast Oregon near the future Umatilla Indian Reservation in Meacham, Oregon.

Meacham became a prominent figure in Oregon politics and supported Ulysses S. Grant in the presidential election of 1868. Appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon, Meacham was instrumental in persuading the Modoc tribe to relocate to the Klamath Reservation. Although severely injured while negotiating peace terms during the Modoc War of 1872–73, Meacham organized a lecture tour for Modoc and Klamath tribal representatives to inform the public of problems relating to Indian relocation. In 1874, Meacham and delegation members spoke before a group organized by social activist and reformer Wendell Phillips. In 1875, the delegation addressed Alfred Henry Love's Universal Peace Union in Philadelphia and a meeting of Peter Cooper's U.S. Indian Commission in New York City. In 1879, Meacham brought Chief Joseph and other Nez Perce to Washington, D. C., to speak to government officials. During the administration of Rutherford B. Hayes, Meacham served on a 1880 commission with George Manypenny and Otto Mears. The commission was charged with overseeing the relocation of the Colorado Ute tribe, led by Ouray, to a new reservation in Utah.

In addition to public speaking, Meacham publicized Native American issues by issuing a journal called "Council Fire," with Thomas A. Bland, in 1878. He wrote two books dealing with Indian affairs. "Wigwam and Warpath," a history of the Modoc War, was published in 1875 and "Wi-ne-ma" (The Woman-Chief) was published in 1876.


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