old agency cemetery
Raw, as is typical for Indian cemeteries, yet, despite being supplanted by the newer agency cemetery down the road a piece, this 3/4-acre cemetery still attracts its share of new customers. It’s anything but abandoned and well warrants a stop-by.

Like the other Indian cemeteries around here, many of the tombstones sport both native and American names. I was particularly happy to see one honoring one Spokane Jim—no other name—as forty years ago I overhead a conversation in a Minneapolis grocery store between a clerk and a man trying to cash a check made out to him. I could hear him pleading with the clerk, “But that’s my name, Spokane Joe. I haven’t got any other name. That’s why it’s made out that way to Spokane Joe.”

I’m think now, “Ah ha! They’re like the Chinese, they put their last name first.” Maybe Spokane Jim was no relation (he died in 1933), but maybe he was a grandfather or an uncle.

Time for a Dept. of Amplification: While reading about the Whitman massacre of 1847, I came across the name of an Indian chief who played an important role in negotiating with the whites. As a young boy in 1825 he was sent to a mission school in Winnipeg, Canada, by the Hudson's Bay Company for training as liaison between the company and native tribes. His tribe was the Spokane and he was given the mission name, which he held for the rest of his life, of Spokane Garry. Spokane Garry, despite being a devote Anglican, had two wives. I'm thinking Spokane Joe was telling it like it was.

Behind the agency cemetery is another half-acre cemetery with as yet only two graves in it. What differentiates the one plot from the other is unexplained.


Head west from the intersection of Mission Rd. and Hwy. 331 east of Pendleton ten miles or so. As Mission Rd. bends to the right, the drive to the cemetery will be on the left at the beginning of the curve.
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