This is the second in a series acknowledging contributions of other cultures now part of the United States and beyond. We sometimes fail to recognize the enjoyment/usefulness of these contributions.
The Newport 60+ Activity Center desires to bring recognition to other cultures. It’s sometimes difficult defining their many contributions.
We recognize Native Americans and their extensive contributions. The terminology, “Indian,” as well as their tribal makeup, has changed from the way many viewed it in the past. All indigenous were referred to as Indians in many locales. Out of respect and their many great contributions, the term “Indian” is avoided. However, it remains in the initial governmental legal papers of formation of reservations, granting of lands and other dealings with them.
The past is unchangeable, but we can appreciate and acknowledge their many cultural contributions.
It’s pow-wow time: A time of celebrations and learning on many reservations, including the nearby Siletz and the Grand Ronde.
The term “pow-wow” originated from an Algonquian nation of Northeast Indians (Northern Michigan and Canada) and was derived from a curing ritual.
The Siletz define pow-wow as: “Honoring the grass roots individuals who restored the Siletz nations.” Their language, Siletz Dee-ni, derived from 10 languages basically identified as all Athabaskan dialects, is assumed to have originated in eastern Alaska and western Yukon. The Confederated Tribes of Siletz was established on Nov. 9, 1855: a very diverse confederation fulfilling stipulations of eight treaties. It was part of Benton County until 1893.
The Siletz is considered to be the first tribe in Oregon and the most diverse confederation of tribes and bands on a single reservation in the United States. They occupy and manage 3,666 acres in Lincoln County. Since 1992, after many changes, Siletz gained control and accountability of their tribe and became part of Lincoln County.
An incredible account of Siletz who were combined into a confederation and struggled to their present location was written by a 12-year-old son of a chief, George Thompson, in “The Story of the Siletz Indians,” included in the book, “One Hundred Years in Lincoln County, Oregon,” in the Newport City Library,
The 2022 annual “Nesika Illahee Pow-Wow of the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians” will take place only on Aug. 13 on the Siletz reservation. Their theme is “The People Are Dancing Again.” It’s a time of dancing, singing, and a time of learning about their culture. The community, Native and non-native, is invited to attend. For information regarding the Siletz celebration, contact email@example.com or 541-444-8230.
The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, who administer Spirit Mountain Casino, hold their “2022 Annual Contest Pow-wow”, a colorful social time of confederated tribal dancers and drummers demonstrating their talent, from Aug. 19– 21. Grand Ronde Pow-wow is “The story of The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde … the story of a community, a tribe, and a culture that has persisted despite their challenges.” Their language, is sometimes called “Chinook Jargon” from a creole language, was used through 1983. For Grand Ronde event information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-879-5211.
Both events are suitable for children but are not children’s events. No drugs, alcohol or weapons are allowed. They welcome all and desire that you learn about their heritage.
Contributions: Basic traits many feel typify Native Americans are respect, harmony and sacred aspect of nature; kinship/family relationships; Creator worship; creativity; innovation; and respect for all life.
Athletics: Jim Thorpe is an all-American athlete. He is in the Football Hall of Fame and is the first Native American to win two Olympic gold metals for the U.S. Other notable people are ballerina Maria Tallchief, singer Johnny Cash, and musician Buffy St. Marie.
Ecology (shared agricultural practices): live in harmony with the land and treat with respect. No random killing of anything they cannot use. Cultivation and conservation.
Fine artwork: Silver jewelry from the Southwest, incredible woodworking including totem poles from Northwest Coast, bead work from the Plains Indians, colorful rugs.
Foods (propagation, preservation and use): wild rice, clam bakes, jerky, raspberries, “Irish” potatoes, maple syrup. Campfire cooking, extensive development of corn. The Siletz diet was mostly seafood — salmon, mussels and clams.
Equipment (especially in water and snow): kayaks (Inuit), plank canoes (California Chumash), birch bark canoes.
Government: Our Constitution utilized Native American principles and democratic ideals, particularly the Iroquois’ Great Law of Peace.
Housing/architecture: Native Alaskan’s igloos, log cabins, cedar houses, teepee (Sioux).
Medical: White Willow bark (Aspirin), syringes, oral birth control, sunscreen.
Military: “Code Talkers” (33 tribes of mostly Navajo, Cherokee and Choctaw) developed important secret codes in Navajo Indian code to the battlefields during World War I and received gold medals. John Herrington was the first astronaut in space.
Plant identification: Bareroot and others, mostly for medicinal use.
Sign language: Hand signals to use between different tribal groups, trappers and traders.
Words/names: 21 states; streets; towns; rivers. Willamette, Yaquina, Depoe Bay. Words such as barbecue, skunk, hurricane, moccasin, hammock, and modern manufactured product names.
Patricia L. Oliver is a resident of Newport and a member of the Newport 60+ Activity Center Advisory Committee.