Native American history

Like much of the Northwest, Portland is rich with Native American history.

Native American Delta Park Pow WowThe Delta Park Pow Wow draws people from across the country.

This section was produced in collaboration with 1000 Nations and the Oregon Native American Chamber.

The Portland metro area rests on traditional village sites of the Multnomah, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla and many other tribes and bands. These groups created communities and summer encampments along the Columbia and Willamette rivers and harvested and used the plentiful natural resources of the area for thousands of years.

Portland’s Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), which hosts cultural programming and other events, is located on what, to the Native community, is sacred ground. The site in contemporary Northeast Portland is recognized as the original location of an Indian village known as Neerchokikoo, dating to before 1792 and cited in Lewis and Clark’s journals.

Oregon’s population was largely Native American until relatively recently. The Oregon Donation Land Act of 1850 and accompanying legislation removed tribes and offered free land to white settlers, who laid claim to 2.5 million acres of tribal land — including all of what is now Portland — over the course of just seven years.

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