2022 Land Acknowledgement

Running on Native Lands

Greetings and welcome to the annual Waldo 100K in Oregon Trail Race. As a descendant of European settlers and a guest here in what is called the United States of America, I want to bring to our attention that the majority of us here today, live, work, play and run on stolen land. And in recognizing that, I want to acknowledge that we are standing on and will run on the traditional territories of many tribal people- some through forced removal and genocide are no longer here- their bloodlines buried in the earth; others who were forcibly removed are current members of the Klamath Tribes (Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin) to our south and east, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Warm Springs, Wasco and Paiute) to our north and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Siletz and Grand Ronde to the west, namely bands of the Kalapuya and Molala.

Why is this important? Because American history and culture has erased these people from their land, from history books, from classrooms and society. We historicize them and only think about them on Thanksgiving day or when we stop at a casino.

What are your children and nieces and nephews learning in their schools about the true history of Indigenous people? What is your place of work and churches and neighborhoods doing to uplift voices and the lives of Native people? How can we all better support Native people and celebrate their brilliance and rich cultural values and lifeways?

Today I want to garner the strength of teenage “Rogue River Mary.” In 1855 the Battle of Hungry Hill happened where a 13 or 14 year old “Rogue River Mary” rode her horse along a mountain ridge south of here, hollering and taunting the U.S. Army, citizen militia and volunteers who were down below organizing to attack and probably massacre this “hostile” band of Rogue River Indians. There were about 20 of them and about 300 of the Army soldiers. According to Army documents, she screamed and hollered like a wild animal throughout the night. The next morning Rogue River Mary organized, coordinated and led her people to victory at the Battle of Hungry Hill. This battle compares to the Battle of the Little Big Horn (Custer’s demise) and her techniques, fierceness and leadership are used at West Point when discussing military strategy. The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, where Mary’s people ended up, have applied for historical battlefield status for this area; a first for any tribe in the west.

Further, may we also garner the strength of Captain Jack, a Modoc tribal chief who in the 1870s hid in the lava landscape and other places not far from here who led a coalition of Modoc bands in a war of resistance, the Modoc War, against the US Army forces and local militia. He held off a numerically superior force for several months to keep his people safe from forced removal and probably death. Kintpuash, as he was known, was hanged by the army in 1873 and was the only Native American leader to be tried and convicted as a war criminal- a man who was trying to save his people from forced removal from their homelands and genocide.

Finally, let us honor Kathryn Harrison, an elder of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde who recently turned 93 years old and fought for decades to restore the federal recognition of her tribe after the federal government terminated them in the 1950s- another act of genocide. Kathryn and her people held bake sales to raise funds to travel to DC to lobby for their federal recognition. She is a true treasure of her tribe and beyond.

Let us continue to honor the lives of the Native people of Oregon and everywhere…and every step we walk or run, may it be a prayer for their continued well-being- a reciprocal act of kindness for the countless prayers that have been said for us without our knowledge by the Indigenous people’s of this land. In part, they pray that we may see ourselves in the circle of humanity where everyone and everything is respected in the same way.

Native Wellness Institute
Rising Hearts