Grand Ronde History

(Our story)

The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon includes over 20 Tribes and bands from western Oregon and northern California that were relocated to the Grand Ronde reservations in the 1850's. These included the Rogue River, Umpqua, Chasta, Kalapuya, Molalla, Salmon River, Tillamook, and Nestucca Indians who had lived in their traditional homelands for over 8,000 years before the arrival of the first white visitors. They lived off the land -- fish and game were plentiful, and what they couldn't catch in the rivers or hunt in the forests, they acquired by trade with other Tribes, and later, with the non-Indians.

The Grand Ronde reservation was established by treaty arrangements in 1854 and 1855 and an Executive Order of June 30, 1857. The Reservation contained over 60,000 acres and was located on the eastern side of the coastal range on the head-waters of the South Yamhill river, about 60 miles southwest of Portland and about 25 miles from the ocean.

In 1887, the General Allotment Act became law. Under the law, 270 allotments totaling slightly over 33,000 acres of the Grand Ronde Reservation were made to individual Indians. With these allotments came a provision which allowed the Indian lands to go from federal trust status to private ownership after 25 years. The purpose of the Act was to make farmers of the Indians. However, the result of this action was the loss of major portions of the reservation to non-Indian ownership. Then, in 1901, U.S. Inspector James McLaughlin declared a 25,791 tract of the reservation "surplus" and the U.S. sold it for $1.16 per acre.

In 1936, under the Indian Reorganization Act, the Tribe was able to purchase some lands to provide homes for residents of the reservation. However, the Tribe's attempt at recovery was brought to an abrupt end in 1954 when Congress passed the Termination Act which severed the trust relationship between the federal government and the Tribe. For nearly thirty years, between 1954 and 1983, the members were landless people in their own land. The termination policy robbed the Tribe of its social, economic, and political fabric, leaving a scattered population and poverty which led to a wide range of health, education, and social problems.

In the early 1970's, efforts began to reverse the tide of termination. From the state of social, economic, and political disarray, tribal leaders began the arduous task of re-establishing the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon. On November 22, 1983, with the signing of Public Law 98-165, the Grand Ronde Restoration Act, the task was accomplished. In addition, on September 9, 1988, the Tribe regained 9,811 acres of the original reservation when President Ronald Reagan signed the Grand Ronde Reservation Act into law. The reservation lies just north of the community of Grand Ronde.

With restoration and the re-establishment of the reservation, tribal efforts have focused on rebuilding the tribal institutions and developing tribal service programs to meet the needs of the tribal members. They have provided the Tribe an opportunity to create a viable community, contribute to the local economy, and provide for the eventual achievement of tribal self-sufficiency.

National Mapping Information

Feature Name:

Grand Ronde

Feature Type: populated place
Elevation: 390
State: Oregon
County: Polk
Variant Name(s) Grande Ronde
USGS 7.5' x 7.5' Map: Grand Ronde
Latitude: 450337N
Longitude: 1233629W

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