This IS Kalapuyan Land: Grand Ronde Today, Abundant Resources, Strength + Resilience, Trade

Grand Ronde Today Transcript

Title: Grand Ronde today

Today the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon includes twenty-seven tribes from Western Oregon and Northern California that were relocated to the Grand Ronde Reservation in the 1850s, including the Umpqua, Molalla, Rogue River, Kalapuya, and Chasta. Tribal membership now includes over 5,000 people throughout the world. With restoration of the reservation, tribal efforts have rebuilt institutions and service programs for members. Grand Ronde also established a philanthropic foundation called the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, which invests millions of dollars each year in support of Northwest Oregon community projects.

Today the descendants of the Kalapuya continue to celebrate and preserve the rich cultural heritage and ecological stewardship based on thousands of years of tradition.


Caption on top image: Grand Ronde Queen Leah Brisbois

Caption on center upper left image: Tribal elder Lean “Chips” Tom. Photo courtesy of Spirit Mountain Community Fund

Caption on center upper right image: A fancy dancer taken at the 2006 Annual Context Pow-wow held in Grand Ronde, Ore.

Caption on center lower left image: Veterans Pow-wow held each July at the Grand Ronde Pow-wow Arena

Caption on center lower right image: Grand Ronde’s Canoe Family aboard “Stankiya” during the 2006 Inter-Tribal Canoe Journey.

Caption on bottom image: Opening ceremony for the Ft. Yamhill State Park in Grand Ronde, Ore.

Abundant Resources Transcript

Title: Abundant Resources

The lifestyle of the Atfalati-Kalapuya took them to various sites around Washington County and beyond to gather food, hunt, and trade. Two of the most important foods were camas and wapato.


The moist meadows in the fertile Willamette Valley are ideal for cultivation of camas. a flowering plant with bulbs that could be baked and pounded into cake loaves. The Kalapuya were experts and making dried camas cakes from this flour. It was a staple part of their diet and a significant item of trade with tribes passing through the area and at the big annual rendezvous in The Dalles. Women harvested the camas by pressing hard digging sticks into the ground to pry up the earth containing bulbs which were then placed in their gathering basket. (crossed out by SLF)

Wapato, a starchy tuber often called the “Indian potato,” was collected from ponds by women who waded into the water with a canoe. They would loosen the wapato bulb of the root with their feet. The bulb would then float to the surface of the water and be tossed into the canoe. Later, the wapato would be roasted with heated rocks from a cooking fire.

Under Kalapuya stewardship, the Willamette Valley was a carefully managed landscape designed and controlled by fire and harvesting. The fields and prairies so ideal for agriculture encountered by early settlers in Washington County were systematically stewarded by the Kalapuya, since time immemorial. The grasslands that replaced the fire-managed oak savannas produced abundant foods such as tarweed, hazlenuts, camas, acorns, and berries. Insects such as grasshoppers and caterpillars were another source of food. (underlined by SLF)


Deer and elk were hunted by the men with bows and arrows, spears, or sometimes with snares. Other game included beaver, porcupine, raccoon, muskrat, rabbit, squirrel, waterfowl, grouse, pigeon, quail, and dove. Meat could be sliced thin and dried or smoked. In winter, meat could be frozen and used as needed from underground storage pits.


Fishing spears, traps, baskets and dipnets were used to catch salmon, steelhead, lamprey eels, trout, suckers, silvers and chums.


Calendar of Seasonal Activities:

Summer: May, June, July, August

Freshwater Mussels, Crawfish, Wild Mint, Yerba Buena, Balsamroot, Skunk Cabbage, Salmon, Eulachon, Sturgeon, Lomatium*, Cow Parsnip*, Wild Carrot*, Eels, Bitterroot, Killdeer, Yampah, Tarweed, Asst. Berries, Insects, Wild Onions*, Honey

Fall: September, October

Acorns, Quail, Hazelnuts, Grouse, Myrtlewood Nuts, Chipmonk, Tobacco, Cougar, Bear Berries, Bobcat, Wapato, Timber Wolf, Raccoon

Winter: November, December, January, February

White Tailed Deer, Black Tailed Deer, Roosevelt Elk, Ducks, Geese, Beaver, Bear

Spring: March, April

Camas*, Cattails, Bracken Fern*, Cats Ear


Caption on left images: Wapato, Camas

Caption on center images: Digging stick, Zucker, 1983. Seed beater, Zucker 1983.

Caption on right images: Fish nets and traps, Zucker, 1983. Fish hooks and spears, Zucker, 1983.

Caption on bottom image: Chinook-style canoe. Zucker, 1983.

Strength + Resilience Transcript

Title: Strength + Resilience (added by SLF)


During the summer months, women wore aprons or skirts made of cattails, rush, or shredded cedar bark, along with hide leggings, and sometimes moccasins. Men and children often wore little or no clothing in the summer. In cold seasons, both men and women wore robes made from the skins of wolf, elk, or bear as well as heavy leggings, buckskin shirts or gowns, and caps or fur, spruce, or cedar. Atfalati-Kalapuya men, women, and children rarely woere shoes and were sometimes referred to by neighboring tribes as “the people who walked barefoot.”

Adornments included beaded necklaces, bead or bone wrist bracelets, fur or hide strip arm bands and dentalium nose and ear ornaments. Feathers, especially eagle feathers, were an important symbolic item used by many Native Americans. In western Oregon, the feathers were incorporated into various art forms as headdress, bandolier, kilt,bustle, cape, and wand. Eagle flicker feathers were worn by males through the nose for adornment; in some groups this was done to denote status.


Caption on top image: Women’s clothing. Cedar bark capes made excellent raincoats during the wet Pacific Northwest winters. Woman shown wearing a braided cedar skirt.

Caption on center left image: Dentalium shells are small tubular mollusks found along the Northwest Coast off Vancouver Island. They were used not only as beads, such as those seen below, but also as currency and a sign of wealth and status. Stewart, 1977.

Caption on center right image: A young Quinault girl of Western Washington wearing dentalium ornaments. Curtis, 1913.

Caption on bottom left image: Waterways were important transportation routes in the Willamette Valley.

Caption on bottom right image: Sketch of a Kalapuya man drawn by Alfred Agate, a member of the Wilkes expedition in 1841. He is wearing an elk hide garment and fox skin hat. WCHS #3,435

Trade Transcript

Title: Trade

The Indians of the Willamette Valley took part in a complex trading network that extended throughout the Pacific Northwest. An enormous variety of languages, cultures and foods were shared through this tradition of peaceful trade. Countless bands and tribes including the neighboring Multnomah, Clackamas, Clatskanie, Klamath, and Mollala, as well as more distant tribes such as the Nez Perce and Yakama (formerly Yakima) all were involved in trade with the Kalapuya. An assortment of good, from obsidian and fish to pelts and beads, were traded. From the plentiful resources of the Willamette Vallet came trade goods such as camas, wapato, deer and elk meat, beaver pelts, and cedar bark.

Hundreds of tribes gathered annually at Celilo Falls on the Columbia River near The Dalles to trade and exchange stories. Willamette Falls, in present day Oregon City, and Lake Wapato, near Gaston, were also important gathering places.

Trading traditions and customs were altered with the arrival of fur trappers and settlers in the early 1800’s. Trading posts and forts, such as Fort Vancouver in 1826,were established by trappers and traders from the Northwest Fur Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company. Guns, metal, beads, horses, and other goods were traded to the Indians for hides and meat.


Caption on top image: Falls of the Willamette, 1857. Sketch from the Archives of the Smithsonian, #2854-F-13.

Caption on center left image: Stern, 1993.

Caption on center right image: The reconstructed Ft. Vancouver as it looks today.

Caption on far left image: Obsidian is a very sharp volcanic glass that was an important trade item in the Pacific Northwest. It can be made into many tools including projectile points such as there.

Caption on bottom image: Umatilla women beside the Celilo falls, Oregon. Moorhouse, 1897-1905. L95-24.91, Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture/EWSHS, Spokane, Washington.