Native Americans in Oregon

Screenshot from Facebook Live

The Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde on Monday officially opened a new treatment center in Salem for people struggling with opioid addiction.


Alex Milan Tracy / Underscore/KLCC

While the U.S. overall is finding its stride with COVID-19 vaccine distribution, some Native American tribes – including in Oregon – are on a mean streak.  Indigenous communities have largely overcome mistrust and logistical challenges that have hampered other efforts. 

Brian Bull / KLCC

The opioid epidemic has hurt Native American communities more than any other demographic.  A CDC study shows a more than 500 percent spike in opioid-related deaths for native people between 1999 and 2015. To fight this trend, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde is opening Oregon’s first tribally-owned opioid treatment program. 

The following is an extended, online-only interview between KLCC reporter Brian Bull, and Cedar Wilkie Gillette, Oregon's first appointed Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Coordinator, for the U.S. Attorney's Office District of Oregon.  They talked over the phone shortly after the Oregon Dept. of Justice released its first Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Report in Feburary, 2021. 

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Justice officials acknowledge that Native Americans have been disproportionately affected by violence. Last month, the District of Oregon U.S. Attorney’s office released its first report on the issue. KLCC’s Brian Bull talked to Cedar Wilkie Gillette, who’s the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons  (MMIP) Coordinator for the agency.  Bull asked her how many cases are in Oregon, currently.

Brian Bull / KLCC

Two Eugene schools were bestowed towering, hand-carved totem poles yesterday, by the 4J NATIVES program. 

Jade Walksalong

Native American tribes across Oregon are seeing enhanced broadband connectivity, thanks to federal assistance.  The timing benefits operations hurt by the pandemic.

Brian Bull / KLCC

The Coquille Indian Tribe is opening an outpatient medical clinic…in Eugene. 

Photo provided by Kirby Brown / University of Oregon

A University of Oregon professor has been recognized by a global organization, for his book on the “dark age” of Cherokee history. 

Timothy J. Gonzalez / Smoke Signals

More than $200 million in direct payments were made from the U.S. Treasury Department to Oregon tribes this year. It was part of the CARES Act of 2020, to help native communities’ emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the allocated money must be spent by year’s end, which puts the tribes in a bit of a bind.

The Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) has announced its annual list of winners in its national Native media awards competition.

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In spite of its controversial namesake, Lane County will remain “Lane County”, for the time being. 

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COVID-19 relief funds need to be administered quickly – and fairly – to Native American tribes, say Oregon lawmakers. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden want stimulus aid to not adhere to a population-based formula.

Brian Bull / KLCC

The nation’s longest-running Indian boarding school turns 140 today.  As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, the Chemawa Indian School in Salem held a birthday pow-wow event this weekend.

Oregon Historical Society

White supremacy has made recent local news, between Jeremy Christian’s murder trial in Portland, and the presence of white nationalist groups in rallies across the state.  A special edition of the Oregon Historical Quarterly is out now, that reminds residents that the problem is actually rooted deep in state history.

KLCC’s Brian Bull talked to the journal’s editor, Eliza Canty-Jones. Bull asked how ingrained white supremacy is in Oregon’s settlement.

Brian Bull / KLCC

The U.S. Census Bureau is stepping up efforts to get Native Americans and Alaskan Natives more fully counted next year, which includes those living in Oregon and Idaho.  

Chris Lehman / KLCC

The City of Corvallis is renaming its community center after local Native Americans said the current name is culturally insensitive. It’s called the “Chintimini Senior and Community Center.” Chintinimi is a Kalapuya word and the center has had that name for decades.

Amid a massive renovation project, the city decided to reach out to Native Americans to see what they thought of the name. Their response: Maybe don’t use that word. 

Brian Bull / KLCC

The modern American diet – with its on-the-shelf processed foods in grocery stores, Big Macs and Doritos Locos Tacos at drive-through eateries – has sparked super-sized health problems. That’s bad in itself, but data shows Native Americans suffer higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease than the general population, and diet is a factor.

There’s been a push among tribes to promote traditional, indigenous foods to offset these issues, as well as instill cultural identity among members.  As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, this effort isn’t without its challenges.

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The term “Two Spirit” in Native American culture often describes a person possessing both male and female spirits.  And they’ve been around well before the Santa Maria or the Mayflower dropped anchor. And while “Two Spirit” has been used for Indians who identify as gay, bisexual, or transgender…many say there’s more to it than that. KLCC’s Brian Bull explores a community that’s finding its voice again after generations of oppression, prejudice, and oversight.

Brian Bull

KLCC presents a year-long series on Native Voices of Oregon beginning July, 2018. 

Funded by the University of Oregon's Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics, the stories coincide with the Center's 2017-2019 Theme of Inquiry: Borders, Migration and Belonging.