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The Utilla Agency Self-Evacuee Script

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

*Note the highlighted information for your scenario area. This is the critical info that each Response Team should get. We do not want to give the game away, so don’t offer this information without being asked for it.

100 self-evacuating families that had been squatting on edges of the high desert, hunting and scavenging for food have had their homes destroyed. The families came to this area not knowing that the land was privately held. The owner has decided not to allow the families to rebuild on his property. So, the families must resettle elsewhere.

They have a few RVs to move their personal belongings but will need to find new land and shelter before rainy season begins. The problem is they have no gas or parts for their vehicles. They are all suffering from exposure and sunburn.

They are able and well led, but don’t have tools or clean water. They have been told that government owned land on the far edge of the national forest could be a suitable area to rebuild their village.


  • We lost everything in the earthquake! We have nothing, nothing!

  • What is ShelterBox? Who are you? Why are you here?

  • Who will help us move to this other area?

  • What if we don’t want to move?

  • Who decides what families get help?

  • If they get a shelter Kit for repair, will ShelterBox do the rebuilding?

  • What other resources do you have?

That should get you started, play off these questions. Try to build a realistic conversation based on the first question asked by each Response Team member.

Frustration Points

  • For this scenario, the frustration point is that the local landowner is adamant that the squatters evacuate his property immediately.

  • What happens if other self-evacuees show up? Rumors are that there are thousands of “West-side” people roaming the countryside, seeking to escape the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami.

Help them Succeed in the end!

Real History of the Utilla Agency

In 1851, Anson Dart, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Oregon, built the Utilla Indian Agency for the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla tribes on the west side of the river, across from the future site of Echo. Indians destroyed the agency in November 1855 during the Yakama Indian War, and the Oregon Mounted Volunteers immediately built Fort Henrietta, a 100 ft. square cottonwood stockade, on the site. It was abandoned a year later.

Fort Henrietta Blockhouse

The Utilla Indian Agency was built near the crossing in 1851. It was the first agency for the Cayuse, Walla Walla and Umatilla tribes. Many emigrant diaries mention this first building, as it was the first frame building they had seen since leaving Fort Laramie.

Where Echo is now located was a seasonal camp for Native Americans and the area was crisscrossed by major Native American trails. Mary Oman, BLM Archaeologist at the Baker Office, researched these trails for a recent historical survey and indicated that she was amazed by the number of trails that intersected in Echo Meadows and where Echo is now located.

The rich grass on the Meadows made a good late fall and winter grazing land for Native American horses. Ranchers have continued this tradition, grazing first sheep and then cattle on the pastures in fall through early spring and then herding and now trucking livestock to summer pastures in the highlands of the Blues and Wallowas. As a result, it has been common for ranchers to find signs of the Native American occupation over the years. By the time of white contact, three tribes claimed the area: Walla Walla, Cayuse and Umatilla. These three tribes now form the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

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