Since time immemorial, our tribe, the Watlala, or Cascade Band of Chinook Indians have lived and thrived in the Columbia River Gorge. In 1856, on the orders of General Philip Sheridan, the United States Army hanged a group of Native Americans for a crime they did not commit. Among them was our Great Grandfather, Chief Tumulth, the leader of the Cascade Chinooks, whom only a year earlier had signed a Treaty with the United States Government ensuring his people a safe home for generations to come on the Grand Ronde Reservation.
Today our family, his direct descendants, are being unjustly disenrolled from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.
Through a series of corrupt and unfair practices put forth by a faction of the leadership and administration at the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, our family, who has been a deeply connected part of the Tribe for many decades is being threatened with the loss of our tribal citizenship. This would mean that we are no longer Native American in the eyes of the US Government and we would lose our home at Grand Ronde, the very thing for which Chief Tumulth sacrificed his life and lands.
The Tribe has long touted the inclusion of Chief Tumulth’s descendants as an integral part of their community and their ties to the Columbia River Gorge. When another tribe attempted to build a casino in the Gorge, Grand Ronde publicly named Chief Tumulth as one of their own Treaty signers and said his descendants were Grand Ronde tribal members. They used our family to protect their off reservation interests.
Today, however, a corrupt tribal government is attempting to remove us from their tribal roll. We are being terminated by our own people, a tribe who still claim the ceded lands of our Grandfather Tumulth as their own. Perhaps most heartbreaking is the disenrollment of our ancestors who have already walked on and have no way to defend themselves. They died as citizens of Grand Ronde and should remain so forever and rest in peace.
The ensuing legal battle has been long and arduous, with great expenses of both financial and emotional costs. We are asking you, our friends, to donate to our cause. These last 2 and a half years have been extremely hard but we endure, refusing to give up our fight for justice.
We are committed to ending tribal disenrollment within our tribe and throughout Indian Country. Our family is in the fight of our lives for our very existence as indigenous people! Chief Tumulth Made His Mark! Please help us honor his legacy and the legacy of our ancestors as we continue our legal battle! Hayu-Masi! We Belong!
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