ɬax̣ayam nsayka tilix̣am pi yeʔan-shiksh. nsayka shawash-iliʔi watɬala əbə t’kup-lamətay tilix̣am. alta nsayka tiki ixt tʰiktʰik pus wawa msayka, “nix̣wa msayka hayu-kəmtəks nsayka yaʔim pi yeʔan nsayka”.
Greetings friends and supporters! We are the Watɬlala Band of Chinuk or Cascade Indians; one of the 27+ bands that make up the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon. We are asking for a minute of your time to please listen to our story and help us.
Since time immemorial, our people have inhabited the lands of the Columbia River Gorge on the borders of Oregon and Washington. When Lewis and Clark passed through the Columbia River Gorge, our people encountered the explorers and their party. In 1855, as European encroachment continued to increase, our ancestor, Chief Tumuth, First Chief of the Watɬlala Band of Chinuk, signed the Treaty of the Kalapuya Etc., otherwise known as the Willamette Valley treaty. This treaty was ratified by the United States Congress in March of 1855 and is responsible for providing for the creation of the Grand Ronde Reservation currently located between Salem Oregon and the coast. In March of 1856, the United States Army unjustly hanged Chief Tumuth and eight other members of his people as scapegoats for what is known as the “Cascades Massacre” at Fort Rains along the Columbia River. Subsequently, his family, including his daughter Mary, went into hiding. They became a dispossessed people within their own ceded lands.
In 1954, Congress passed the Western Oregon Indian Termination Act, which terminated the Indigenous rights and Treaty rights of Western Oregon tribes, including The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. The Watɬala are a part of this confederation. After 30 years as a displaced people and a ten- year battle for recognition, the tribe was officially restored in 1983. In 1986, descendants of Chief Tumuth acquired citizenship when the elders of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde approved the enrollment of two of Chief Tumuth’s great-grandchildren: Ida Altringer and Clyde Williams. Since then, tribal elders and 14 different tribal councils granted 66+ additional descendants of Chief Tumuth, over a period of 14 years citizenship.
In 2010, the tribe approved a resolution allowing for an audit of the tribal rolls and enrollment files. In September 2013, members of Chief Tumuth’s Family received letters of disenrollment stating that they did not meet the lineal descent requirements listed in the tribes constitution; namely that as the tribes Enrollment Department concluded, Treaty of the Kalapuya is not a record of Grand Ronde members and that Chief Tumuth was hanged prior to making it to the reservation and therefore cannot be considered an ancestor on which our family could base its descendency. For the last 2.5 years, our family and our many enrolled Grand Ronde supporters have continued to fight the injustice that is disenrollment. If you would like to help our cause click here!