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Grand Ronde Tribes Celebrate Federal Recognition

A day-long celebration gets underway Monday in Western Oregon. 27 years ago, The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde won back their tribal standing from the U.S. Government.

1954 was a dark year for the tribal people of Oregon. That’s when the Western Oregon Termination Act stripped many tribes including Grand Ronde of their tribal recognition.

Siobhan Taylor is the public affairs director for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde.  She says by the time the government terminated the tribe, it had also whittled at the reservation lands until all that was left was a two-and-a-half acre plot that housed the tribal cemetery.

Siobhan Taylor: “So when the tribe was restored, we began with that two-and-a-half acres of land.  As a matter of fact, all of the grassroots efforts the meetings the potlucks took place in a caretaker’s shed on that cemetery land because that was the only place that the tribal people had.”

Taylor says it was through those grassroots meetings that the tribe was able to gather support and eventually win back their recognition. 

Monday, tribal members will celebrate that achievement with ceremonial meals, drumming, singing and dancing; all traditions that Taylor says have been with the people since time immemorial.