Native American Heritage Month

November marks the beginning of Native American Heritage Month. Wood Village and the neighboring areas along the Columbia River are rich with the history and lives of the indigenous peoples who are the original stewards of this land. Explore the tabs below to see a fuller picture of our local history and our current connection to the indigenous peoples and land here in Wood Village.

Past & Present

Early Inhabitants

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.

1946 Map; Source: QUARTUX: Journal of Critical Indigenous Anthropology 
Land Acknowledgement

The Chinookan peoples known as the Clackamas and Cascades are the indigenous people of the land now inhabited by the City of Wood Village and other areas of the Columbia River. The village of Nechacokee (now referred to as Nichagwli - "nee chalk lee") was located near today's Blue Lake Park. Ancestral life of these peoples included a seasonal round of resource gathering and stewardship from the Wapato fields and fishing areas of the Columbia River to the cedar and huckleberry gathering areas of the high cascades. Introduced disease from early settlers dramatically reduced the number of these people. They signed the Willamette Valley Treaty of 1855 with United States Government and were forcibly removed to the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation.

We thank the descendants of these Tribes for being the original stewards and protectors of these lands since time immemorial. We also acknowledge the systemic policies of genocide, relocation, and assimilation that still impact many Indigenous/Native American families today.

We are honored by the collective work of many Native Nations, leaders and families who are demonstrating resilience, resistance, revitalization, healing and creativity. We are honored to be guests upon these lands.

Current Relations

The City of Wood Village continues to forge a relationship with the descendants of these original inhabitants, who now, among many others, make up the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. To learn more about the Tribes, visit the The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Facebook page or their website at

Council-to-Council Meetings

In a joint effort to build a shared bond and future, the Wood Village City Council and the Tribes council members meet periodically each year. The latest meeting took place on Thursday, October 26, 2023 at the Wood Village City Hall & Civic Center. At this latest meeting, the group planted a cedar tree in honor and memory of the late Kathryn Harrison, one of the Tribes most influential and respected leaders. Thank you to the Tribes council members for blessing the tree planted in Kathryn's honor and for allowing the City to participate in an honored traditional ceremony.

Former Multnomah County Greyhound Park

The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde purchased the land and property of the former Multnomah County Greyhound Park located in Wood Village. The Tribes leaders continue to meet with City officials and staff to discuss the future development prospects of this property.



The Land Carries Our Ancestors: Contemporary Art by Native Americans

Curated by artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation), this exhibition brings together works by an intergenerational group of nearly 50 living Native artists practicing across the United States. Visit the online exhibition.

Image Credit: Steven Yazzie (Dine/Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico/European descent) Orchestrating a Blooming Desert, 2003 oil on canvas overall: 121.9 x 152.4 cm (48 x 60 in.) framed: 127.2 x 157.5 x 4.4 cm (50 1/16 x 62 x 1 3/4 in.) Collection of Christy Vezolles © 2003 Steven J. Yazzie. All rights reserved. Image: Courtesy of the Heard Museum, Photo by Craig Smith