We must remember, respect and recognize
March 10, 2022
To The Eagle:
As residents of Wahkiakum County - including Mayor David Olson - we would be wise to remember there was community here on these lands prior to Birnie's arrival in 1846 and the township being established.
The recent heritage celebration, unfortunately, seems to have overlooked (or omitted) the vital and vibrant history of the local indigenous peoples including those of the Chinook, Kathlamet, Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, and Confederated Tribes of the Siletz who have called this land their home for many, many centuries.
I found this omission heartbreaking and frustrating. When people see our town name, our county name, the name of this paper, the town's flag, and this town's celebration without any acknowledgement of the generations of indigenous who have stewarded this land, who have ongoing struggles for recognition, it only furthers unnecessary and lingering white-washing. We can do better now and in future by honoring the homelands of these long established local tribes, as well as the more recent township. We must remember, respect, and recognize.
Editor's note: Before becoming mayor, David Olson led the drive to install two tribal heritage markers, one at the marina and the other at Queen Sally's Park. In November, members of the Chinook Tribe gathered at the marina for a ceremony to dedicate the markers (Wahkiakum County Eagle Nov. 11, 2021). Tribal members were involved in design of the heritage markers. The Cathlamet town flag presented at the recent 115th town birthday celebration features tribal colors and designs.