Oregon's Native Americans During the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of Oregon
OREGON'S NATIVE AMERICANS DURING THE SESQUICENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY OF OREGON
HON. DAVID WU
in the house of representatives
Friday, February 13, 2009
Mr. WU. Madam Speaker, on February 14, 2009 we will mark the 150th anniversary of Oregon's admission to the Union. We have much to reflect upon and celebrate since Oregon became the 33rd state. As we commemorate this occasion, I would like to highlight the role of Indian tribes in Oregon.
We must not forget the original inhabitants of what we now call Oregon. Native Americans have been living in this region for well over 12,000 years. During this time tribes developed strong cultures and economies, many of which were well documented first via oral histories, and later by white settlers. Many of the tribes were formally recognized by the United States when treaties were signed in 1855, four years before Oregon became a state.
We must not attempt to overlook the loss of lives, culture, and well-being that tribes have experienced during the last several hundred years. However, what we can do, and must do, is remember and celebrate the first Oregonians; their history before Oregon; and their cultural, economic, and political contributions during the last 150 years. Nine federally recognized tribes exist in Oregon. Each tribe has its own history that is interwoven with the history of Oregon. Today many tribes are experiencing economic development and cultural revitalization through self-determination. For others, more work needs to be done. Poverty in Indian country continues to be greater than in the rest of the United States. But as we move into the next 150 years of Oregon's history, it is my hope that the federal government, the state of Oregon, and the tribes can work together to improve the lives of tribal members and others in their communities.
So on the occasion of Oregon's sesquicentennial, I recognize the Indian tribes for their historical, cultural, political, and economic contributions to the state of Oregon.