by Steph Littlebird
Tucked away just south of the Ross Island Bridge in a nondescript building off Barbur Boulevard is the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde (CTGR) satellite office, which serves Portland-area members. The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community includes over 30 Tribes and bands from western Oregon, northern California, and southwest Washington. Some of these tribes include the Kalapuya, Molalla, Chasta, Umpqua, Rogue River, Chinook, and Tillamook. It’s here where contemporary artist and CTGR member Greg Archuleta works, where everything he does is centered on protecting and restoring the history of Western Oregon’s Indigenous people.
The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde were formed when the United States government forced the aforementioned Tribes to surrender their lands and move to a remote Reservation in Oregon’s coastal range. In February of 1857, Federal troops marched Indigenous people on a 260-plus mile trek from Table Rock, near present-day Medford, to the new Grand Ronde Reservation. The original Grand Ronde Reservation was formally established by treaty and Executive Order in the Summer of 1857. Over the course of the next one hundred years, the Grand Ronde Reservation would be reduced from 60,000 acres to less than ten. This massive land theft occurred through various means, including treaty violations and land-grabs disguised as legislation, such as the Dawes Act of 1887.
Originally published March 4, 2021 by Oregon ArtsWatch, as part of the series “Indigenous Resilience in Oregon,” focusing on different aspects of Oregon’s contemporary Tribal culture and how traditional ways of life have continued forward throughout colonization and settlement of Oregon. This work then appeared in CONDITIONS, a publication of The Ford Family Foundation. The annual arts journal (shifting title as it progresses) is part of the program element CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS, led by the University of Oregon with partners Portland State University, The Cooley Gallery, Reed College; and PNCA at Willamette University.
The title and concept for CONDITIONS came into focus as the editorial team launched its first issue, FIGURING. Here, we shift from FIGURING’s multiple perspectives on the body and the psyche to examine the cultural and biological mysteries and actualities of life at this tenuous environmental and socio-political moment. As our need for breath and sustenance are foregrounded across an accounting of our shared lives, we hope that CONDITIONS offers a space to meditate on the ways in which works of art (including writing) support us in making meaning from our state of, and provisions for, being.
Featured Contributors: Amelia Rina, Laura Butler Hughes, Luiza Lukova, Sara Krajewski, Malia Jensen, Lumi Tan, Steph Littlebird, Ido Radon, Alejandro Espinoza Galindo, Stephanie Gervais, Stephanie Snyder, K. Silem Mohammad, Prudence Roberts, Sara Jaffe.