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Our Town: Warm Springs

Pete Springer/OPB

 A treaty signed in 1855 designated that the land between the Cascade Mountains and the Deschutes River in a region of North Central Oregon become the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. At first, two groups of Indians were moved to the reservation: the Wasco bands that originally populated the banks of the Columbia River, and the Warm Springs bands that migrated around the Columbia tributaries. A large number of Paiute Indians (originally from Southeast Oregon) were brought to the Reservation in the late 19th century.

These three tribes united as the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs in 1938, and the reservation today is an amalgam of the three different cultures.

Warm Springs is the town at the center of much of the activity on the reservation. It’s where tribespeople gather for community events, and it’s where the reservation’s elementary school is located. It’s also the commercial center of the the reservation, where the native-owned Indian Head Casino and the tribal museum sit.

The reservation is also home to hydroelectric and wind energy projects, as well as Warm Springs Composite Products, and Kahneeta Resort.

Check out our companion website, which has an interactive map full of interviews and photographs of the people and places of Warm Springs. Come back to this page to share your thoughts and opinions.


Or join the conversation here! Do you live in Warm Springs? Have you visited?

EDITOR’S NOTE, MARCH 8, 2012 AT 8:50AM: As you’ll hear, we mentioned on this show that the last living tribal member who was fluent in Kiksht, the Wasco language, was not well. Sadly, we received word just this morning that Gladys Thompson, who was 97, passed away last evening. You can read some articles about Thompson here and here.

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