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Historical society teams with local tribes for anniversary


The Tualatin Historical Society is celebrating its sixth anniversary in grand fashion at the Winona Grange on Feb. 12 from 2 to 4 p.m., by teaming up the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

The Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde is a community of Native American tribes that were relocated by the U.S. government in the late 19th century to western Oregon, about half an hour inland from Lincoln City. The city of Tualatin derives its name from the Grand Ronde's Atfalati Tribe, which used to live in Tualatin before its relocation.

A dozen or so descendants of the Atfalati tribe will share traditional music and dance at the event. Grand Ronde members will also provide presentations about the daily life of tribe members.

Confederated Tribes Public Affairs Director Siobhan Taylor said the invitation to take part in the anniversary is all part of an important partnership.

'It goes beyond a gesture,' she said. 'It's a commitment, as the historical society, to telling the entire story of Tualatin.'

During its six-year history, the historical society has grown and maintained a steady relationship with the Grand Ronde tribes. The Ki-A-Kuts bridge, which connects Tigard's Cook Park, Tualatin Community Park and Durham City Park, was completed and dedicated to the public in 2007 and is named after the last chief of the Atfalati tribe. It was at the bridge dedication that the Grand Ronde community presented the historical society with the tribe's flag.

'It's wonderful because communities like Tualatin, they get it,' Taylor said. 'They understand that the first people of the area were the Grand Ronde people, and they have reached out to us and partnered with us in myriad ways. It's really a wonderful partnership that we have.'

At the anniversary celebration, the historical society will reveal the 'near-culmination' of a project that the two groups have been working on for more than a year: an interpretive sign to be placed on the gravel path alongside the Heritage Center. The Confederated Tribes have paid for the design and production costs, while the city will provide the installation. The sign will include information on the Atfalati tribe, as well as Tualatin's Ice Age landmarks.

'It's a really beautiful project because it tells the ancient history of the area,' Taylor said. ' It talks about the current history and development of the area, for example how Tualatin got to be the Tualatin that it is. It also tells a brief story of our trail of tears, which is what that whole trail was when they gathered up (the Native American) people and put them on the reservation.

'The Historical Society, to their credit, has always told the tribal story to the area. They have been very fair and thorough in their work.'

The Winona Grange is located at 8340 S.W. Seneca St. There is a $3 entry fee for the event, with free admission for children under the age of 16. For more information on the Confederated Tribes, visit grandronde.org. For more information concerning the event, call 503-885-1926.