OTE - Oregon Travel Experience

Grand Ronde Indian Reservation

Posted on: September 19th, 2011 in Historical Marker Details |

Subject:Tells of the forced relocation of inland valley Indians to the Grand Ronde Reservation, their fight for U.S. Government recognition, and their efforts toward economic stability.

Indians inhabited Oregon’s inland valleys for thousands of years before Euro-Americans began to arrive in the late 18th Century. In the early 1780s, and again in the 1830s, diseases spread by seafarers and fur trappers swept through Oregon’s valleys killing most of the native population. The opening of the Oregon Trail in the 1840s increased pressure to remove the remaining Indians from their homelands.

In 1856, the U.S. Government created the Grand Ronde Reservation, and in the winter of 1857, federal troops forced the native people to leave their aboriginal lands and march to the reservation.

The Grand Ronde reservation, originally 70,000 acres, was later divided into individual parcels for the Indians, and ‘surplus’ land was sold to non-Indians. In 1954, the Grand Ronde Tribe was ‘terminated,’ and all but 7 1/2 acres of the Tribe’s land was sold. Termination meant the U.S. Government no longer recognized the Tribe or its people as Indians.

In 1983, after a prolonged and dedicated effort by tribal members and their supporters, the U.S. Government restored the Tribe to federal recognition. In 1988, Congress re-established a 9,811 acre reservation in the mountains north of Grand Ronde. The Tribe has since acquired additional land, built a community center, and has developed housing, education, health care, and other programs for tribal members. The Tribe has also embarked upon an ambitious economic development program as part of its plan to achieve self-sufficiency.