I'm excited for my upcoming road trip to Central OR later this week to visit family, as I often do. I always look forward to the part of the drive going through the Warm Springs Reservation. I pick up the Confederate Tribes of Warm Springs broadcast radio driving through the area & can hold reception for about an hour or a little longer.
The programming is so informative & educational. It dives deep into their wonderful culture, promoting language preservation, Native cultural knowledge, and social, health & safety information. Although I had an overview understanding of the Cherokee Trail of Tears, it was a broadcast I listened in Warm Springs that stunned me to my own tears with the details, and I'm grateful for the knowledge. During my last drive through this past winter, I practiced with the instructor & had fun speaking their language, the name of which escapes me as it appears to be a derivative of languages of the tribes that had merged.
Today, as I packed for the trip, I started thinking of the history of the area & its people, sparked by Dip's Manifest Destiny and Kiki's Kindness pages. So thanks to them, I'll have much more insight each time I'm there & I know I'll expand as time goes on. There's a Warm Springs Museum there I've always said I want to stop & explore. Also, I'm absolutely inclined, sooner rather than later, to follow the painted signs pointing directions to the Kalama Fry Bread for sale. Been blowing it off for far too long! Other treasure I'm not yet aware of awaits, I'm certain. I'll seek conversation to inform as time goes on & I more closely navigate the area. It presents to me as lovely land in the high desert but I can clearly discern it's population is disadvantaged. The area has a significantly higher level of poverty than where I'm headed and much higher, in fact, than the state average. My drive this time will be a more informed and some may say a more enlightened view.
Here's the linkfor the full article & much more information if you have an interest, it's a great website: https://wscat.org/community/history/
Interesting is the diversity of this tribal nation. But the pain of their journey to exist is incredible and shameful. I took this background info from the website:
THE THREE TRIBES The Warm Springs Reservation is home to the Warm Springs, Wasco, and Northern Paiute Tribes. Prior to 1855, the three tribes lived in different places. Traditionally, the Warm Springs people, comprised of Teninos, Wyams, Tukspushes, and Tyighs, have spoken a Sahaptin dialect known as Ichishkiin, and formerly lived primarily along two tributaries of the Columbia River, the Deschutes and John Day Rivers. They depended upon game, roots, berries, and to a lesser degree, salmon. The Wasco people, the easternmost band of Chinook speakers, lived on the Columbia River around Hood River and the Dalles, primarily as fishers, traders, and farmers. Their language is known as Kiksht. They lived primarily in plank houses, and their culture resembled that of Northwest Coast people. Through marriage ties, the River and Coast peoples had many of the same customs and a similar social structure. The Wascos derived power from their position along a key stretch of the Columbia River, where they were the foremost traders of among the Upper Chinookan peoples. The Northern Paiutes spoke a Shoshonean dialect, Numu, and lived in the Northern Great Basin of southeastern Oregon. Paiutes migrated further and more frequently than the other two tribes, hunting, gathering, and fishing, though fish was not an important part of their diet. The Northern Paiute’s pre-contact lifestyle was well adapted to the harsh desert environment in which they lived. Each tribe or band occupied a specific territory, generally centered on a lake or wetland that supplied fish and water-fowl. Individuals and families appear to have moved freely between bands. The name of each band came from a characteristic food source. Many of the Paiutes who reside on the modern-day Warm Springs Reservation are from the Wadatika Band, the “Wada Root and Grass-seed Eaters.” While the Wasco and Warm Springs peoples had traditionally peaceful relations with one another, neither had peaceful relations with the Paiutes.
During the 19th century, waves of settlers began to travel through and settle in the territory of the tribes, bringing disease and an unquenchable thirst for land and resources. Diseases brought by European American settlers struck with such intensity that by some estimates, 80% to 90% of the Native People in the ancestral area of the Wasco and Warm Springs people died. Small pox first arrived in the late 1770s or early 1780s. A malaria-like disease in the 1830s and 1840s claimed almost 90% of the people on the Columbia River. In 1844 came scarlet fever, whooping cough, dysentery, and typhoid, and in 1847-1848, the measles. In 1855, Joel Palmer, superintendent for the Oregon Territory, was ordered to clear Indians from their lands. In that year, under pressure from Palmer, the Wasco and Warm Springs Indians ceded approximately 10 million acres to the US government in exchange for 464,000 acres (about 1/20 of their original land base), and for the rights to self-govern, fish, and, and gather foods in the ceded lands. The Treaty of 1855, signed on June 25 of that year and ratified on March 8, 1859, set the stage for the arrival of an increasing number of settlers into the ancestral territory of the tribes. Although the Wasco and Warm Springs Tribes signed the Treaty of 1855 in peace, the Northern Paiute Tribe did not. In 1859, the Wascos and Warm Springs people on the new reservation were subjected to Northern Paiute raids, which continued until 1866 when the US Army began a campaign to subdue the Paiutes. The Paiutes rose up against the US Army in the Bannock War of 1878, and were defeated. After their defeat, they were first moved to the Yakama Reservation, and then, between 1879 and 1884, to the Warm Springs Reservation. The first 38 Paiutes brought to Warm Springs came from the Vancouver Barracks in Washington Territory, where they had been imprisoned as early as 1866 after being captured in the US Army campaign of that year. Traditional ways of life changed greatly after the tribes came to the reservation. People had to adjust to new land resources, and there was a boundary dispute (which was not resolved until 1972, when the Tribes increased their official holdings to 644,000 acres). The reservation could not provide enough salmon, and having poor land and a harsh climate, was also difficult to farm. Indian children were taken from their parents and put into boarding schools, forbidden to speak their own languages, and not allowed to leave school to help their parents participate in traditional activities. The curriculum they were taught promoted an assimilationist program aimed at replacing the children’s indigenous cultural practices, language, and religious traditions with those of American society. In this way, much of the language and culture was lost, as was much of the people’s sense of identity and purpose. People were able to hunt and fish in ancestral lands, and a large number of tribal members tried to subsist by fishing along the Columbia River. However, fishing became more tenuous each year, and the number of tribal members who made a living from fishing steadily declined.
There's important hard work to do:
The nonprofit community resource, WSCAT, envisions a Warm Springs Reservation in which tribal and community members control their own destinies, in which people are in a position to provide for their families, pursue their hopes and dreams, and achieve their full potential: By 2040, the people of the Warm Springs, grounded in our multi-tribal heritage, will have found new ways to live happily and well, with healthy families residing in stable homes, locally-owned businesses supporting the community, our youth pursuing education, growth, and personal development, and our elders looking back on lives in which persistence and hard work helped create a stable, strong Warm Springs middle class and a vibrant economy. The people of Warm Springs will understand the importance of caring for our environment and our culture, draw strength and identity from time-honored knowledge systems, strive to reach personal and family goals, and demonstrate that good people with the right vision, values, and solutions to problems can achieve anything. MISSION WSCAT’s stated mission from 2008 to 2015 was to alleviate poverty in Warm Springs. In looking at our programs, we realized that while focused indirectly on poverty alleviation, we are much more focused on empowering people to be more self-sufficient, to develop personally and professionally, and to take control of their own futures. With this in mind, we developed a new mission statement in December 2015: WSCAT’s mission is to promote community development in Warm Springs by empowering individuals and groups of people to realize their potential, become self-reliant, and affect positive change for themselves, their families, and their community. OUR VALUES WSCAT’s work within the Warm Springs community is strongly influenced by our eight core values:
Empowerment: We work to provide a hand up, not a hand out, to community members. We assist them in looking beyond day-to-day struggles and envisioning and orienting themselves towards a successful future in which they control their own destinies.
Action: We work efficiently, effectively, and steadfastly to achieve genuine results, using clear benchmarks and reporting to the community and our benefactors on our performance. We strive to be known as an organization whose work speaks for itself.
Personal development: We strive to enable community members to achieve their full potential. As we work to facilitate personal and professional development in our community, we also seek to learn and grow as individuals, as a team, and as an organization.
Community: We are committed to fostering social cohesion and a sense of community in Warm Springs, to facilitating an environment of caring, communication, and respect.
Respect: We acknowledge and appreciate the dignity, humanity, experience, intelligence, and potential of each member of our community, and of all people, and are cognizant of this as we perform our day-to-day work.
Change: We are committed to planning ahead, setting SMART goals for our programs and projects, and working persistently and sensibly towards meeting benchmarks and facilitating impactful economic and social change in the Warm Springs community.
Accountability: We take responsibility for our actions and the results of those actions. We strive to serve the community with honesty, transparency, and integrity.
Innovation: We are open-minded and creative, always seeking to improve our services and processes, and always searching for better solutions to problems old and new.