As a program that stewards land and encourages the planting of native plants to restore the land and the wildlife that depend upon it, it is important for us first to acknowledge the history of this land that we now tend and the history of the Indigenous peoples that have stewarded this land before us and in many places, continue to steward this land today.
We are not the first inhabitants of this land or the first people to care for it. Native people have lived in relationship and connected to this land since time immemorial. We acknowledge the descendants of the following and the many other tribes who were and continue to be the original stewards and protectors of this land along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers:
- Wasco [Wass-coh]
- Cowlitz [Cow-litz]
- Kathlamet [Cath-lah-mit]
- Bands of Chinook [Cha- nook]
- Tualatin [Too-ah-la-tin]
- Kalapuya [Cal-a-poo-yah]
- Molalla [Mow-la-la]
The systemic policies of genocide, relocation, and assimilation are a living legacy that still impacts many Indigenous communities and people. We acknowledge the ancestors and survivors of this place and recognize that we are here because of the sacrifices forced upon them. We honor their legacy, their lives, and their descendants who carry on Tribal traditions, practices, and ways of knowing.
We also recognize that acknowledgments are only one step. It must be paired with action. As a program and as part of our two organizations, we are working to put our acknowledgment into action. To deepen, as well as build, meaningful relationships with Indigenous peoples and tribes and to decolonize our program, our organizations, the larger community, and the land we live on.
One action you can take is to ask yourself if you know the name of the Indigenous land and territory that you live on and the history of the people who care for it. If not, you can go to native-land.ca to learn. One other action you can take today is to write a letter of support for the Chinook Indian Nation and their efforts to clarify and restore their federal status. For more information, go to chinooknation.org.
I want to thank the Rural Alliance for Diversity, PSU’s Indigenous Nations Studies Program, the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), Friends of Tryon Creek, and others for informing the crafting of this acknowledgment.