July 13, 2012

Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon


Twenty-seven native American tribes make up the modern day tribe known as the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon.  

 The tribes who were removed to Grand Ronde are:

  • Chasta (or Shasta; from present-day Oregon and California bands of the Shasta Nations)
  • Chasta Costa (Southern Oregon Athapaskan speakers)
  • Kalapuya (Yamel (Yamhill), Mary’s River, Winfelly (Mohawk), Atfalati (Tualatin), Yoncalla (Kommema), Ahanyichuk, Santiam)
  • Molalla (Santiam Band, and Molala)
  • Rogue River (Historically an erroneous name conglomerating Takelma, Upper Umpqua and Athapaskan tribes)
  • Klickitat
  • Chinook (Thomas Band Chinook, Williams Band Chinook, Wal-la-lah band of Tumwaters, Johns Band Chinook, Clackamas Chinook (Oregon City))
  • Tillamook (Salmon River, Nehalem, Nestucka)
  • French-Canadian (Iroquoian)

These tribes all have a long history in present-day Western Oregon between the western boundary of the Oregon Coast and the eastern boundary of the Cascade Range, and the northern boundary of southwestern Washington, and the southern boundary of Northern California.

Official Tribal Name: Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon

Address:  9615 Grand Ronde Road, Grand Ronde, OR, 97347
Phone: (800) 422-0232 or (503) 879-5211
Fax: (503) 879-2117

Official Website: 

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

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Region: Northwest Coast

State(s) Today: Oregon

Traditional Territory:



  • Treaty with the Chasta, etc., 1854
  • Treaty with the Kalapuya, etc., 1855
  • Treaty with the Molala, 1855
  • Treaty with the Rogue River, 1853
  • Treaty with the Rogue River, 1854
  • Treaty with the Umpqua and Kalapuya, 1854

Reservation: Grand Ronde Community

Land Area:  11,040-acre (45 km²)
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Historically the tribe had people from 27 distinct languages. Members of these tribes could speak many languages due to the close proximity of many different tribes. Oregon had one of the most linguistically diverse regions in the world. But on the reservation, most people began communicating using Chinook Jargon, the trade language. The Chinook Jargon was widely spoken throughout the northwest among tribes and new-comers to the region. At Grand Ronde reservation Chinook Jargon became a creole, a first language in most native homes. This language has persisted throughout the history of the tribe and through the termination era (1954-1983), when all other tribal languages became extinct at Grand Ronde.

In the 1970s, Grand Ronde elders began teaching Chinook Jargon language classes in the community. In the 1990s the restored Confederated tribes of Grand Ronde began a language program. Chinook Jargon was reinvisioned as Chinuk Wawa (Talking Chinuk). The Grand Ronde tribe’s immersion program is now one of half a dozen Native immersion language programs in the United States that is producing speakers. This program begins in preschool classes (Lilu) and continues into Kindergarten. The immersion program is making plans to expand to a pre-8 grade program. This will create speakers of the language that will help the language survive into perpetuity.

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Each July, members of the tribe travel to New York City, to see Tomanowos, a sky person who fell as a meteorite and is now on display at the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space.

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Newspapers:  Smoke Signals (online news)

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Further Reading:

US Tribes C to D
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