Saturday, July 18, 2015

In the Pacific Northwest: On the Reservation:

But I will start with a photo that was from our flight to Oregon--a gorgeous view of Mount Hood as the plane was circling for a landing. I took this with my cell phone. What a sight! Can you imagine seeing this every day?

On our second day in Oregon, Reyn picked us up around noon and we headed out to tour the Grand Ronde Reservation.

First stop was the tribal cemetery. This was the land they were left when the tribal status was taken away.

Nearby is the memorial to veterans:

Money for the memorial was raised through fund-raising efforts like spaghetti dinners and so on. It took 6 years to raise the amount needed. Members of the tribe posed for the sculpture.

Each column in the memorial is dedicated to one branch of the military.

 It is moving to see such monuments, and particularly here, where those who served were once considered not citizens, then not Indians, and then finally Indians again.

Next stop was the Tribal Governance Center. Reyn's wife had driven their 1955 Chevy to work, and of course we stopped to check it out. Our grandson Jared, who recently moved to Portland, was with us for this day's tour, and that's him in the photo below.

Men and engines--what is it that makes the attraction so strong?

This car is as pretty under the hood as it it on the outside! The interior was immaculate too.

Inside the governance center's Tribal Council's chamber, Reyn showed us copies of the various treaties that were signed with the tribes that make up the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

Inside the Governance Center:

Three flags: The Grande Ronde flag, the Oregon flag, and the US flag, fly over the governance center.

Not far away is the Wellness Center,

which offers health and dental services as well as mental health services. A new building next to this one will combine human resources, training, and job services in one location. Also on the reservation is the housing office and the Education Center. At the time of our visit, children were attending summer programs that were offered for all children in grades pre-K through 12.

We also toured the housing available to tribal members. Options included low-income and senior housing as well as typical middle-class homes. Everywhere we noted how neat and well-maintained the homes, buildings and grounds were. I did not take any photos as these were private homes and I did not want to intrude on that privacy.

I was curious about the community gardens after someone mentioned them to me, so Reyn took us by.

These are new this year and include a greenhouse, chickens and raised bed vegetable plots.

Work is all-volunteer. New berry vines and bushes were in the ground, and the strawberries were already ripening. We ate several--incredibly sweet and full of flavor, but then Oregon is noted for its fine strawberries. I hope no one misses the ones we snacked on! Too delicious for words.

Later we visited the new powwow grounds and arbor:

More about that, and our trip through the tribe's timberlands, in my next post!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Wanda Violet said...

Very nice. Looking forward to the following articles.

Celia said...

Very interesting place and story. May they continue to thrive. They have more courage and perseverance than many of us.

Mac n' Janet said...

Just got caught up on your blog. How interesting your trip to Oregon, a state I've never visited though I grew up in California. Shame the tribe had to go to court to get their status as a tribe back.

Rowan said...

I am always interested in reading about the First Nations. I'm afraid that I consider that they were treated appallingly and I still don't like the idea that they have to live on reservations in what is actually their country. I suppose the one good thing about that is that it has enabled them to pass their languages and culture down through the generations which might not have happened if they had been more scattered. Even then I gather that there were strenuous efforts made to prevent that from happening. What makes it worse is that the early settlers wouldn't have survived at all without the help of the First Nations people. I think I must have missed a previous post about your trip to Oregon so I shall go and check back.

Granny Sue said...

Rowan, they are not forced to live on their reservations. They are free to live wherever they please. It is more like you choosing to live in England rather than Scotland--England is your native country. The reservation is their native land, and the laws there are the laws of their tribe. The reservations is basically a small country of its own within our US. They interact with other state and local governments, make their own laws, etc. Larry's friend does not live on the reservation himself, but he is very active in tribal affairs and works hard for the good of their community.

I agree--the treatment of the native population in this country was appalling, and in some instances still needs improvement. It's just one of the embarrassments in our American history, but there it is and we need to remember it, for such remembering may prevent it happening again, at least on this soil--although there is still a lot of work to be done to erase racism in all its forms here. And we are not, I think, the only country that has that issue.

I once attended a conference at which Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes was the keynote speaker. She asked who in the audience was Native American, African American, Irish, Latino/Hispanic, etc, all the way to Anglo-Saxon. Of course, by the time she was finished, every person in the audience had raised their hand. Then she said, guess what? Every race and every nation has at one time or another in history has been subjugated by another ethnicity! So her advice? Get over it!

I still remember those words, and they were important for many in the audience to hear. Still for some the wounds are too recent and too raw to get over so easily. Such healing takes time.

It is important that tribes like Grand Ronde preserve their heritage, language and customs. Such is the stuff of life, the basis for ethics, and the guideposts by which we live.

Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Rowan. I appreciate you and your different perspective. It's one reason I prefer BBC News most of the time--we need to see ourselves as the rest of the world sees us, and not be navel-gazers, lol!

Rowan said...

Thanks for the greater insight that you've given in your reply. It's good to know that the people have the choice about whether they live on the reservations. I find so much to admire in the culture of the First Nations people.

Granny Sue said...

There is a great deal to admire, for sure. The strength of family, the drive to keep going and stay together in rough times, the treasure memories passed down from generation to generation, the veneration of the earth, the attention to ceremony and the importance of recognizing the importance of heritage and history--these were all things I observed during our visit.

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