Mount Hood in Oregon. Photo: Alan

Carol Logan: Grand Ronde Tribes owed apology for destruction of our sacred site

Elders from the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde and the Yakama Nation are suing the federal government for bulldozing a sacred site in order to widen a highway near Mount Hood in Oregon. Carol Logan explains why her people at Grande Ronde are owed an apology:
I am an elder in the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde, which means I help keep our traditional ways alive by passing them to future generations. For centuries, my people have worshiped in the forests surrounding Oregon’s Mount Hood in an ancient burial site known as Ana Kwna Nchi nchi Patat, or the “Place of Big Big Trees.” This place is sacred to my people. Since I was a young woman, I have visited this site to meditate, pray, gather medicine plants, perform ceremonies at a stone altar and pay respects to my ancestors.

The federal government took this land from my people in the 1850s and forced us onto a reservation. In the 1980s, we pleaded with the government to protect our site from a highway widening project, and at first, it promised to do so. But in 2008, the government broke that promise, widened the highway and bulldozed our sacred site.

There were many ways to widen the highway while still protecting our sacred site. The government could have widened the opposite side of the highway. It could have built a retaining wall to protect our site. Or it could have built the road differently, as it did to protect nearby wetlands and even a tattoo parlor. But ultimately, when it came to our sacred site — which is like a church to us — the government unleashed the chain saws and bulldozers.

The highway expansion destroyed the altar and other burial markers, covered our ancestral burial grounds with a huge mound of dirt, cut down the tall trees, stripped the sacred medicine plants and removed safe access to the sites. To add to the insult, the government left the opposite side of the highway untouched.

Read More on the Story:
Carol Logan: The government bulldozed my tribe’s sacred burial site. We want an apology. (The Washington Post October 23, 2017)

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