KindleNW takes place on the homeland of the Nestucca and Tillamook Bay bands of the Tillamook tribe, speakers of a language in the Salish language family. After having lived here for untold generations, the Tillamook endured settler violence, settler-brought diseases, and, in 1855 some Tillamook lands became part of the newly formed Siletz Reservation. The northern border of the original reservation was Cape Lookout, just to the north of the KindleNW event space.
Less than twenty years after the opening of the reservation, this land was opened to white settlement in the first of many reductions in size of the reservation and in treaty rights. Most of the Tillamook people moved onto the reduced Siletz reservation to the south of their homeland or onto the Grand Ronde Reservation to the east. Yes, if the U.S. government had not gone back on its word, if white settlers had not grabbed up the land, this land we spin fire on would still be part of the reservation.
So we are doubly privileged to use this land - we benefit from the original displacement and from the shrinking of the reservation. We didn't cause those things, but we do benefit from them.
The Siletz and Grande Ronde reservations are both confederated reservations - this means that they are confederations of many original tribal communities, including the Tillamook and more than two dozen other tribes from all over western Oregon. The tribes endured many attempts to erase them. In the 1950s, the federal government "terminated" the reservations (basically a legal maneuver depriving tribal members of their treaty rights and claiming that they were no longer legally a tribe). Working tirelessly, the tribes regained legal recognition and re-opened the reservations.
Siletz and Grande Ronde have today built strong and vital tribal governments and communities that actively contribute to the economic and cultural well-being of the entire state. Tribal endeavors include language revitalization, cultural centers, social and natural development programs, as well as educational, social service, and economic development on and off the reservations.
One way to show respect for the Tillamook people whose land we use, is to help ensure that the Siletz and Grande Ronde and all Indigenous communities can continue to thrive and that their treaty rights remain strong. As we dance with fire, here on Tillamook land, as the Supreme Court moves to reduce treaty and other rights, we can respect the Indigenous heritage best, not by imitating Indigenous cultures, but by supporting the rights of current day Indigenous people to maintain their cultures, their communities, and their tribal governments.
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