The coming of white settlers meant the usurpation of Native American homelands, exposure to European diseases such as smallpox and diphtheria, and the passing of ancient ways of life. Violent conflicts ensued on a large scale with the influx of settlers doing missionary work and seeking government land giveaways in the 1830s and 1840s. In the 1850s, mining activity in southern Oregon  and on the coast incited the Rogue River Indian Wars, adding to the strife brought on by annexation to the United States.
All these events compelled the federal government to send in troops and eventually to set up treaties with Oregon’s first inhabitants. The attempts at arbitration in the 1850s added insult to injury. Tribes of different—indeed, often incompatible—backgrounds were rounded up and grouped together haphazardly on reservations, often far from their homelands.
In the century that followed, the evils of modern civilization destroyed much of the ecosystem on which these cultures were based. An especially regrettable result of settlement was the decline of the Columbia River salmon runs due to overfishing, loss of habitat, and pollution. This not only weakened the food chain but treated this spiritual totem of the many Native American groups along the Columbia as an expendable resource.
For a while, there was an attempt to restore the balance. In 1924 the government accorded citizenship to Native Americans. Ten years later the Indian Reorganization Act provided self-management of reservation lands. A decade later a court of treaty claims was established. In the 1960s, however, the government, acting on the premise that Native Americans needed to assimilate into white society, terminated several reservations.
Recent government reparations have accorded many native peoples preferential hunting and fishing rights, monetary and land grants, and the restoration of status to certain disenfranchised groups. In Oregon, there are now nine federally recognized tribes and six reservations: Warm Springs , Umatilla, Burns Paiute, Siletz, Grand Ronde, and Coquille. Against all odds, their culture is still a vital part of Oregon; the 2000 census estimated that over 45,000 Oregonians are Native American.
Native American gaming came to Oregon in the mid-1990s, and Native Oregonians now operate eight lucrative casinos in the state; the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, owners of the phenomenally popular Spirit Mountain Casino , are among the state’s biggest philanthropists.