SOU recognizes the land’s brutal history for tribes with new recognition – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune A student returns to SOU after having lunch between Shasta Hall and McLoughlin Hall.

In the 1850s, years before Southern Oregon University was built, Euro-Americans forced Native Americans living on the land out of their homes using war tactics.

This horrific truth is spelled out in a new land recognition designed by SOU and two Indian tribes, the Confederate Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and the Confederate Tribes of the Siletz Indians.

Land recognition is something SOU President Linda Schott wanted to accomplish before stepping down at the end of this year. Schott had met with the tribes to think about ways in which the school could serve their members “better than we have in the past.” The SOU’s Native American Studies program then sparked the idea of ​​a recognition of the land.

“I personally did the tribal trips because I wanted to show them my personal commitment as president,” Schott said. “This [land acknowledgment] really follows that up. I was glad we could do it.

According to the land recognition, Ashland was home to the Shasta, Takelma and Latgawa peoples long before 1853 when gold was discovered and brought thousands of Euro-Americans there. Their arrival resulted in “wars, epidemics, famine and burnt villages,” the land’s recognition said.

Treaties were signed consolidating the tribes into one – the Rogue River Tribe – and ceding most of their land to the United States. But in return, the tribes were guaranteed land. When the Rogue River Wars ended in 1856, the Rogue River Tribe and others were transferred to the Siletz Reservation and the Grand Ronde Reservation.

Land recognition ends by encouraging community members to “learn about the land you reside on and join us in defending the inherent sovereignty of indigenous peoples.”

According to Robert Kentta, director of cultural resources for the Confederate Tribes of the Siletz Indians, the tribe receives many requests to write land recognitions, but often the authorities refuse them. One of the reasons is the lack of personnel within the tribe due to COVID-19.

“Part of the problem is also making sure the requester is aware of why they are asking for it,” Kentta said. “That it’s not just a matter of checking a political correctness box; that this is a real, intentional and well thought out request. That this makes sense, that it’s not just pro-forma.

With educational institutions like SOU asking for land recounts, Kentta said her tribe is trying to act “quickly and appropriately.”

“We have an ongoing relationship with SOU which continues to develop, which has led us to prioritize this request for land recognition,” said Kentta.

It took several months to draft the field reconnaissance, which gave time for all involved to create a language to make a useful and respectful message.

“That’s why it takes more time to develop them. You have to be in that editing mode and narrow it down to the essentials that need to be conveyed, ”Kentta said.

SOU would like the campus community to continue to support recognition of the land by reading it at college events or ceremonies. Schott spoke to groups on campus about how they can use land recognition in a “respectful and honorable” way.

“We don’t want them to use it every football game, for example,” she said, but it could be read during the October 30 football game.

Kentta said he hoped the land reconnaissance would be distributed for other purposes, including orientation materials for first-year students.

“It could be a first point of contact for them to start developing more interest,” Kentta said. “The intention is really to remind people of the story – and part of the story is quite difficult.”

With various social justice movements underway across the country, people are “now getting to the point where it feels safer to have these more honest conversations about the harshness of this story and not immediately have custody of the things. people, ”he added.

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