The Chinook were the first native people to inhabit the hills along the Columbia River.
Hundreds thrived in the village of Nechacokee (now referred to as Nichagwli- “nee chalk lee”) located near today’s Blue Lake Park. They gathered huckleberries and cedar bark for making baskets, fished, and traveled by cedar canoe.
They were annihilated by smallpox and malaria by the 1820s. After signing the Willamette Valley Treaty of 1855 with the United States Government, those remaining were forcibly removed to the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation.