Native Americans.

Ellin Beltz/Public Domain

Benjamin Madley is a historian at UCLA, but he's a child of far Northern California.  His exposure to the Karuk people and homeland spurred his interest in Native America, colonization, and genocide. 

Madley's first book is An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873.  It lays out in detail what happened to the original people of California. 

Adam Jones, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The stories we told about America's westward expansion have changed in recent decades. 

The stories of brave pioneers triumphing over hostile Indians have generally been replaced with more nuanced and realistic accounts of white people moving west and red people being uprooted from their ancestral homes to make room. 

Jeffrey Ostler, history professor at the University of Oregon, takes an expansive look at the period in the book Surviving Genocide: Native Nations and the United States from the American Revolution to Bleeding Kansas.  The book stops at the Civil War; it is the first of two volumes. 


Income inequality, environmental destruction, and the constant churn of old and new jobs in the economy produce heated arguments.  Many seek to assign blame, some seek solutions. 

Edgar Villanueva proposes looking to the original inhabitants of North America for solutions.  Villanueva, a member of the Lumbee Tribe, proposes Native America as a guide, in his book Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance

The book examines issues in the financial and philanthropic sectors, and suggests using a new way of thinking--actually a very OLD way--about addressing those issues. 

Gerry Dincher/Wikimedia

The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina is something of an outlier among Native Americans.  Lumbee are still in their original territory; they were not marched off to an unknown land like so many other eastern tribes. 

They have survived in the area through Civil War, Reconstruction, and segregation, but do not get full recognition from the federal government. 

Malinda Maynor Lowery recounts the tribe's history in The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle

Mount Shasta is the very visible volcano in Siskiyou County.  But a few dozen miles away lies Medicine Lake Highlands, a shield volcano (flatter) that stretches on for miles. 

It is geologically and culturally significant, both to natives of the region and beyond.  And it is a potential site of geothermal energy production. 

As you might guess, the proposals to drill wells for geothermal development met with stiff opposition, both from the Pit River Tribe and the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center

50 years ago, kids looked forward to Columbus Day, because it usually meant they got October 12th off from school.  Times and attitudes toward Christopher Columbus and his "discovery" of America have changed. 

Now the day--the second Monday in October--is often observed in honor of the people Columbus found upon his arrival; it's called Indigenous Peoples Day.  Southern Oregon University is one of several places that hold special events to mark the day. 

Voice of America

The number of women who report being sexually assaulted in America are surprising enough.  But the numbers are shockingly high for Native American women. 

And the shock goes beyond sexual assault to murder and kidnap... these too happen at higher rates for native women than for the rest of the population.

Once upon a time kids got the day off from school on Columbus Day.  Then we learned a bit more about Christopher Columbus, and his day got downgraded a bit. 

The post office will be closed on Monday October 9th, but not much else. 

On the Southern Oregon University campus, Indigenous Peoples Day will be observed instead, with a variety of ceremonies. 

Lupe Sims is the student who advocated for the observance. 

Marylhurst University

It only took a few thousand years, but Oregon has its first official Native American Poet Laureate. 

Elizabeth Woody was named Oregon Poet Laureate by Governor Kate Brown last year. 

Woody is member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, a writer in several genres and a visual artist as well. 

She visits Ashland for a speaking engagement (May 11), and drops by the studio for a visit. 

Desiree Kane, CC BY 3.0,

The Lakota people of the Standing Rock Reservation put up spirited fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), but President Trump's executive order cleared the way for the pipeline's completion, and oil may be flowing through it now.

The Lakota People's Law Project worked on DAPL protest issues, including on behalf of the 800 or so people arrested.

Project attorneys work on behalf of the tribe and its interests, and the team includes Daniel Sheehan, a veteran of high-profile cases, including representing the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case. 

Digging Human History Out Of Umpqua Ash

Sep 8, 2016
Crater Lake Institute

Crater Lake is pretty and placid now, but it was born of violence: the eruption of what we call Mount Mazama. 

People lived in the region back then, and evidence of their habitation was buried under volcanic ash in Western Oregon valleys. 

University of Oregon researcher Brian O'Neill has been digging under the ash, uncovering clues to the people who lived in the land when Mazama was just a tall mountain. 

Sharing Leonard Peltier's Story And Art

Jun 1, 2016
Peltier Art Gallery Facebook page

Leonard Peltier went to prison 40 years ago, convicted in the shooting of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

To this day, supporters say Peltier is being held as a political prisoner, punished for his role in the American Indian Movement. 

Now his son Chauncey, an Oregon resident, is ignoring his father's advice to avoid the legal morass surrounding Peltier senior.  Chauncey curates and sells the artwork his father creates in prison. 

How Our Predecessors Used Plants

May 17, 2016
Oregon State University Press

Drive down a coastal highway in our region, and you're sure to see a sign advertising myrtlewood for sale. 

But the tree has value beyond its wood: Native Americans in the region ate parts of it.  That's one of many stories to emerge from the book Ethnobotany of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians

Patricia Whereat Phillips, herself Miluk Coos, is the book's author. 

VENTSday: Native Mascots + Public Grazing

Mar 8, 2016

The likes of Roseburg High School don't have to change mascots after all.  A change in state policy allows the school's teams to remain the "Roseburg Indians" with the consent of a nearby tribe. 

How do YOU feel about native american mascots?  Tell us in this week's VENTSday, Wednesday morning. 

Or talk about the value and practice of allowing cattle grazing on public land.   VENTSday is YOUR forum for discussing topics in the news... we identify the topics, you do the rest, every Wednesday around 8:30 AM.

USDA Forest Service

Archaeologists from the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology--SOULA--thrilled in recent years to a key discovery. 

Crews found the site of the battle of "Hungry Hill," which the American military powers-that-be probably wanted to forget. 

The battle pitted the Army against Native Americans in the Rogue River Indian Wars, and the native people won the battle--under the leadership of a woman. 

Agnes Baker Pilgrim = Taowhywee

Jan 21, 2016

At a time when Native Americans no longer rule the landscape, Agnes Baker Pilgrim is a towering presence.

Agnes, who also goes by Taowhywee, is the oldest surviving Takelma, at age 91. 

She was already highly in demand before an Ashland publisher put out Grandma Says: "Wake Up, World!" The Wisdom, Wit, Advice and Stories of Grandma Aggie, in both printed and audio forms. 

Life And Death In The Lava Beds

Sep 25, 2015
Kenneth Ingham/National Park Service

Open warfare broke out between the U.S. government and Native Americans many times in our region in the late 19th century. 

The incidents include the Modoc War of the 1870s, which took place in and around what is now the Lava Beds National Monument. 

The Modoc War and its setting have been explored many times in print, including the book Modoc: The Tribe That Wouldn't Die by Cheewa James, and a new book on the Lava Beds themselves by Herald and News (Klamath Falls) reporter Lee Juillerat. 

Depicting Native Americans In Project 562

Feb 18, 2014

There's not a lot of in-between in mass media depictions of Native Americans. 

We often get either the Hollywood depictions of noble warriors from the movies, or the news stories about alcoholism and poverty on the reservation. 

Tribal Services Suffer Under Shutdown

Oct 7, 2013

If the government shutdown goes on too long, it will mean the end of services for the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians.

The Confederated Tribes have enough funding to last two to three weeks. For now, the tribes have funding to maintain police and health care services.