Editors Note: On this Indigenous Peoples’ Day, historian Ginny Mapes is featured here at the Hillsboro Herald again. Her work is something for anyone to behold and learn. Her knowledge of our entire valley and beyond is among the best of any living person or anyone who ever has lived. I am glad to be a historian on the rise and to have her among my closest mentors. Below, she has paid tribute to the first people to ever live in this place we call home. The Atfalati have lived here for tens of thousands of years, and some of the best historians and archaeologists living believe they were here before the great Missoula floods. Read her work below. Here is a link to our story last year on the first people. There is much to learn. Some of them are still among us. This Is Atfalati Land! http://hillsboroherald.com/indigenous-peoples-day-celebrated-for-first-time-today/
Remember, every day is Indigenous Peoples’ Day!
Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2023. Here in Washington County, Oregon, we are celebrating and uplifting the Atfalati in our acknowledgment to American Indian culture and history. There were 600+ tribes that inhabited the Americas for thousands of years before the arrival of Western explorers.
To have seen our local Atfalati people pre-contact would have been amazing, and I can only imagine.
The Atfalati had their traditional practices in Western Oregon. Discord developed between the advancing Euro-Americans and the native people who occupied the land. Disease, emotional pressure, and physical hardship were thrust upon the Atfalati and other tribes and they were forced onto reservations. Some of the native families managed to survive this era, and their descendants form the tribe’s membership today. [Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde]
We celebrate our native people and the ideas they share in regard to the land and the circle of life.
There were twenty-four to thirty Atfalati settlements. Here are a few of the names of villages that were shared with Albert S. Gatschet, Swiss-born, pioneer linguist and ethnographer, who spent three days with five Atfalati speakers at the Grand Ronde Reservation in 1877, collecting some 402 pages in field note transcriptions of their language. He talked with the older people 20 years after their removal, asking them the names of the villages where they had lived. Here are some that were recalled.
[Cha—“place of . . .”]
Chakeipi“Place of the Beaver”
[geographic name, Beaverton]
Chachimahiyuk “Place of Aromatic Herbs,” growing in marshy places [geographic name, Progress] “wild mint grew here. The campsite was in the shelter of a rocky knoll.” ~Robert L. Benson
[These two villages had the same chief.]
Chatakuin “Place of the Big Trees” [geographic name Five Oaks]
Chapanaghtin (panaghtin) “Place at the Big Prairie,” —rhymes with “tonic tin” [geographic name, Glencoe] “Pumpkin” Ridge
Čabánaxdin — Atfalati village [geographic name, in the vicinity of modern Mountaindale, North Plains. Name of the chief Baxawádas. (Louis Kenoyer, last known speaker of the Atfalati language, also bore this name.)
Chakutpaliu— an Indian village near the old Alvin T. Smith place at Forest Grove. [Lyman 1900 — however, location is different from the earlier sources.]
Čandyä/mči, “Place where the Stone is Marked,” village nearby. Albert Gatschet reported in 1878 that there were six soft sandstone rocks with “etchings” in an area about ⅛ mile wide.
Atfalati winter camps were located around the regional lakes and other bodies of water fed from rivers, streams, and creeks such as the present-day Tualatin River, Dairy Creek, and McKay Creek.
And so it was for thousands of years . . . . so grateful for those who survived and carried on.
Photo: Camas meadow shown at Chachalu Tribal Museum & Cultural Center. Confederate Tribes of Grand Ronde
“These sites are the legacy of our country and the heritage of all people. Once removed or damaged, they can not be restored. . . .Respect and honor the artifacts left behind by having them undisturbed.”
Want to learn how to say the name of the People? Learn right here:
The Hillsboro Herald is a Community paper written by local citizens. Our purpose is to tell the stories of our town, the citizens, our government, and the rich culture we enjoy in a way no one else can or will. Welcome to the Peoples Paper!