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Tribal History

Native peoples inhabited Oregon’s inland valleys for thousands of years before white settlers arrived. The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon are the proud peoples of the Umpqua, the Rogue River, the Molalla, the Kalapuya, the Chasta and many other tribes whose roots go back thousands of years and whose ancestors represent the blending of many different cultures.

The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde were formed when the government forced member tribes to cede their ancestral lands and created the 60,000-acre Grand Ronde Reservation in Oregon’s Coast Range. Beginning in February 1857, federal troops forced the native people to march from a temporary reservation at Table Rock in Southern Oregon 263 miles north across rough terrain to the newly created Grand Ronde Reservation.

Thus began Oregon’s “Trail of Tears.” The Rogue River and Chasta tribes were the first to be removed from their aboriginal lands. They were joined by members of other tribes and bands as they marched past other tribal homelands. The journey took 33 days, and many died along the way.

The original 60,000-acre reservation was reduced incrementally over the years until the government terminated the Tribe in 1954. All that was left was 7.5 acres of land — a cemetery and maintenance shed. Through the hard work and sacrifices of Tribal members, recognition was restored in 1983. In 1988, Congress re-established a 9,811-acre reservation in the mountains north of Grand Ronde.

At the time of Restoration, Tribal members faced severe social and economic needs resulting from generations of hardship, poverty and discrimination. Tribal leaders committed themselves to turning things around for Tribal members so they could become self-sufficient and no longer depend on government assistance. While managing reservation timberland on a sustained-yield basis, Tribal leaders were able to start using timber revenue to address the pressing needs of Tribal members. The Tribal Council also set aside a portion of timber revenues to create capital for future economic development.

The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde have since acquired additional land and built a community center, a health center and a Tribal governance center and started education, health-care, housing and other programs for Tribal members. The Tribes also have embarked upon an ambitious economic development program, which includes Spirit Mountain Casino. Spirit Mountain is the Northwest’s most successful casino and Oregon’s top attraction, making it a vital part of the Tribes´ effort to achieve self-sufficiency.

For additional information on The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde please visit grandronde.org.

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