Failure of treaty paved way for horrors of Indian wars
Elijah Steele knew he wasn’t authorized to negotiate an Indian treaty. As a lawyer, a judge, a former Wisconsin state senator, a founding settler of Siskiyou County, Calif., and the agent of Indian affairs for the Northern District of California, he was well aware of the protocols established by the United States Constitution. But Washington, D.C., was far away, and the nation was in the grip of civil war. And besides, on Feb. 14, 1864, Valentine’s Day, several hundred Klamath Basin Indians, much to his surprise, were camped outside his home in Yreka.