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City Club of Eugene: The Modoc War

The Aftermath of Great Loss: The Modoc People Persevere


Program Date: Oct. 8, 2021

Air Date: Oct. 11, 2021

From the City Club of Eugene:

The Modoc War, a conflict between the US government and the Modoc people, took place during 1872-73 in northern California near the Oregon border. The war was hard fought. The Modocs achieved initial victories despite being vastly outnumbered and outgunned, but in the end the US army won. 

The surviving Modocs were removed from their ancestral homeland; some were sent to the Klamath Indian Reservation in Oregon and others to a reservation in Oklahoma. Four Modoc warriors were hanged, including their leader Kintpuash, also known as Captain Jack.

Donald Dexter, a Eugene dentist of Modoc descent, and local cinematographer Christelle Auzas are producing a documentary about the Modoc War and Modoc people. The working title is "Modoc: Endeavor to Persevere."

Dexter also plans to create a memorial symbolizing the history and persistence of the Modoc people. You can read more about these topics in a recent issue of the Eugene Weekly.


Christelle Auzas, BA, graduated from the University of Oregon in 2021 with a degree in Journalism. Her aspiration is to apply her video production skills to projects that include indigenous peoples, environmentalism, international travel, regenerative agriculture, wildlife film making, and women in outdoor sports/activities.

Donald Dexter, DMD graduated from OHSU-School of Dentistry in 1987. He grew up on the Klamath reservation and is the first and only member of an Oregon federally recognized tribe to become a dentist. Dexter served as an officer in the Commissioned Corps in the Indian Health Services and was the Executive Director of the Klamath Tribal Health and Family Services, prior to purchasing his practice in Eugene in 1996. Dr. Dexter is an active supporter of the arts in Eugene.