The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon includes 26 Tribes and Bands from western Oregon, northern California and northern Nevada that were relocated to the Grand Ronde Reservation in the 1850s. These included the Rogue River, Umpqua, Chasta, Kalapuya, Molalla, Chinook and Tillamook Indians who had lived in their traditional homelands for more than 8,000 years before the arrival of the first white visitors. They lived off the land – fish and game were plentiful, and what they couldn’t catch in the rivers or hunt in the forests they acquired by trade with other Tribes, and, later, with non-Indians.
The Grand Ronde Reservation was established by treaty arrangements in 1854 and 1855 and an Executive Order of June 30, 1857. The Reservation contained more than 60,000 acres and was located on the eastern side of the coastal range on the headwaters of the South Yamhill River, about 60 miles southwest of Portland and about 25 miles from the ocean.
In 1887, the General Allotment Act became law. Under the law, 270 allotments totaling slightly more than 33,000 acres of the Grand Ronde Reservation were made to individual Indians. With these allotments came a provision that allowed the Indian lands to go from federal trust status to private ownership after 25 years. The purpose of the Act was to make farmers of the Indians. However, the result of this action was the loss of major portions of the Reservation to non-Indian ownership. Then in 1901, U.S. Inspector James McLaughlin declared a 25,791-acre tract of the Reservation “surplus” and the U.S. sold it for $1.16 per acre.
In 1936, under the Indian Reorganization Act, the Tribe was able to purchase some lands to provide homes for residents of the Reservation. However, the Tribe’s attempt at recovery was brought to an abrupt end on August 13, 1954, when Congress passed the Western Oregon Indian Termination Ave which severed the trust relationship between the federal government and the Tribe. For almost 30 years, between 1954 and 1983, Tribal members were landless people in their own land. The termination policy robbed the Tribe of its social, economic and political fabric, leaving a scattered population and poverty, which led to a wide range of health, education and social problems.
In the early 1970s, efforts began to reverse the tide of termination. From a state of social, economic and political disarray, Tribal leaders began the arduous task of reestablishing the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon. On November 22, 1983, with the signing of Public Law 98-165, the Grand Ronde Restoration Act, the tsk was accomplished. In addition, on September 9, 1988, the Tribe regained 9,811 acres of the original reservation when President Ronald Reagan signed the Grand Ronde Reservation Ace into law. The Reservation lies just north of the community of Grand Ronde.
With restoration and the re-establishment of the Reservation, Tribal efforts have focused on rebuilding Tribal institutions, and developing Tribal service programs to meet the needs of the 5,100 Tribal members. They have provided the Tribe an opportunity to create a viable community, contribute to the local economy and provide for the eventual achievement of Tribal self-sufficiency.
The Tribe’s vision is to be a Tribal community known as a caring people, dedicated to the principles of honesty and integrity, building community, individual responsibility and self-sufficiency through personal empowerment, and responsible stewardship of human and natural resources; a community wiling to act with courage in preserving Tribal cultures and traditions for all future generations.