Saturday, July 21, 2007


Grand Ronde: up from "termination" (aka "ethnic cleansing"

Oregon’s history is no prettier than that of any other state. However, in the fame and fortune of today, McMansions, tourism, gourmet dining, and oh-aren’t-we-a-lovely-state thinking, the darker side has been shoved aside.
Over at Loaded Orygun there’s a nice rap about the Grand Ronde people—Grande Ronde is an Indian reservation originally set aside for the survivors of ethnic cleansing down in southern Oregon and in the Willamette Valley. They were given a reservation in the heavily timbered Coast Range. That was before anyone thought about the value of timber, since it was so common in early Oregon. Once timber became a valuable commodity, though, the reservation began to shrink. Eventually, back in the 1950s, Grand Ronde was “terminated.” “Termination” was such a nicer-sounded term than “stolen.” It was national policy to “terminate” as many Indian tribes as possible. The Klamath of of south-central Oregon were “terminated” in one of the great domestic scandals of the mid-20th Century.

The Grand Ronde, though, have rebounded from their once-destitute position. They’re located not far from the scenic Oregon Coast, and on one of the main routes from the population centers of western Oregon to the coast. They’ve been able to parlay their position into one of prestige and political power. I’m glad for them. I’m glad they’ve got good sense, too—a commodity that seems in short supply.

For more detail, check out the Grand Ronde web site, here.
And by the way, you folks over at Loaded Orygun, Grand is spelled without a terminal “e.” Yeah, I blew it, too, on a comment at their site...

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