by David Stowe, Clatsop-Nehalem Tribal Council Member
Bill will restore Federal Recognition to Tribe
Representative Suzanne Bonamici introduced Bill HR3736 on 10/9 to restore federal recognition to the Clatsop-Nehalem confederated tribes.
The tribe signed a treaty in 1851 that granted them land and traditional rights, but the treaty was never ratified by the United States congress. The tribes were terminated against their will with the Western Oregon Termination act in 1954, but have never stopped fighting to defend their heritage and tribal identity.
“This is about Justice plain and simple”, said tribal Chairman Diane Collier. “We have never left our homeland in spite of over a century of concerted efforts to erase us from the map and deny our very existence. This bill tells us that our ancestors and culture will not be forgotten, and that we are an integral part of the Oregon community in Clatsop and Tillamook counties,” continued Collier.
The Clatsop and Nehalem tribes have lived as an integrated community for hundreds of years on their homeland on the Oregon Coast spanning from the Columbia River on the North to Tillamook Bay on the South, and inland to the crest of the coast range. The Clatsop-Nehalem were a canoe culture prior to European contact, and remain embedded in that culture today participating in the annual traditional canoe journey with other Northwest tribes.
The Clatsop-Nehalem are famous for welcoming the Lewis and Clark expedition who spent the winter of 1805 at fort Clatsop which the expedition had built in the Clatsop-Nehalem homeland.
Further information about the tribe can be found at: