• bible sitting next to a teapot

    Whitman Mission

    National Historic Site Washington

Retribution or Revenge?

The 1847 Whitman “Massacre” horrified Americans and impacted the lives of the peoples of the Columbia Plateau for decades afterwards. Was killing the Whitmans justified legal retribution, an act of revenge, or some combination of both?The circumstances that surround this tragic event resonate with modern issues of cultural interaction and differing perspectives.

Did You Know?

painting of mission with wagon in front

The Whitmans’ mission was important to early Oregon Trail travelers. Those who were sick, tired, or hungry or who needed a wagon fixed would make the side trip to the mission. Some would spend the winter with the Whitmans before continuing on to the Willamette Valley.