Recognizing Native American Heritage Month

Renee Patrick

Author: Corinne Handelman |  Published: November 25, 2020  |  Category: In the News

Desert conservationists, did you know … 

  • That Oregon’s high desert lands and waters are the traditional lands and waters of the Northern Paiute, Wasco, Warm Springs, Klamath, Modoc, Yahooskin, and Shoshone peoples? 
  • That several of ONDA’s major restoration projects take place on lands currently managed by the Burns Paiute Tribe and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs?
  • That the sage grouse plays an important role in the cultural history of several western American Indian Nations?  

As we mark Native American Heritage Month, and Native American Heritage Day on Friday, November 26, 2020, we encourage you to learn more about the rich history and present-day experiences of the Indigenous peoples connected to Oregon’s high desert:  the Burns Paiute Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Wasco, Warm Springs and Paiute), the Klamath Tribes and the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe. 

In this episode of the podcast Grouse, Wilson Wewa, a Northern Paiute leader and Warm Springs Tribal Council Representative, recalls the first time he saw a sage-grouse lek while gathering medicine with his grandfather and shares a story from the Wasco Nation: 

These extensive reading lists from the Multnomah County Library staff offer you plenty of choices for learning about tribal cultures of Oregon, as well throughout the Americas. This list of titles centers Native voices in history: 

And, this list features fiction, poetry and memoir by Native American, First Nations, Native Alaskan and Indigenous authors: 

Educators and families looking to address the true story of Thanksgiving this holiday season will find this compilation of lesson plans and narratives compiled by Center for Racial Justice in Education helpful. 


It’s particularly important for conservationists to recognize that many Indigenous leaders, including Winona La Duke, Bernadette Demientieff, Hilary Tompkins and Angelo Baca, have fought hard battles to protect the environment. From the Arctic to Bears Ears, we’ve seen how conservation efforts are more successful when Indigenous communities lead the way and when their experiences and perspectives are highlighted. 

In Oregon and throughout the Americas, Indigenous communities’ connection to the land has endured from time immemorial to this day. If you are not Native, taking the time to learn more about tribal languages, cultures, art and governments can enhance and deepen your own connection to the land.

voices

Michelle Frisella, member since 2017

Michelle Frisella, member since 2017

So proud of ONDA and its members and volunteers. Such hard work gets done. To use an overused word, this is patriotism!

watch

The Land Between: The Greater Hart-Sheldon Region

The Land Between: The Greater Hart-Sheldon Region

voices

John Cunningham, ONDA member and volunteer

John Cunningham, ONDA member and volunteer

Restoration is hard slow work. It takes hold, or it doesn’t, in fits and starts. The immensity of the need can be discouraging, but we must carry on. I am so thankful ONDA carries on.