Grand Ronde tribe reclaims Willamette Falls, as work begins to tear down Oregon City mill
We’re watching history being made as the Grand Ronde tribe reclaims Wilamette Falls! Read on!
Original article by Jamie Hale of the Oregonian
After a private blessing and a prayer, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde invited gathered media to watch as an excavator tore into a wall of the old, abandoned paper mill that the tribe says has stood on its ancestral grounds for too long.
The tribe held a symbolic demolition event at the old Blue Heron Paper Mill at Willamette Falls on Tuesday, representing a small step toward removing the industrial site and returning it to Indigenous hands.
Chris Mercier, vice chair of the Grand Ronde Tribal Council, said the tribe has been trying to reclaim as much of its traditional homelands as possible. The acquisition of the land at Willamette Falls represents the biggest step in that direction, he said.
The land around Willamette Falls was once home to the Clowewalla and Kosh-huk-shix villages of the Clackamas people, who ceded the land to the U.S. government under the Willamette Valley Treaty of 1855 before being forcibly removed and relocated, according to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.