Winter 2010

Issue 111:4

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In this Issue:

Henry S. Tanner and Cartographic Expression of American Expansionism in the 1820s

by James V. Walker

By 1845, the word Oregon was ubiquitous, fully embedded in the national consciousness, but that had not been the case only a couple of decades prior. Such transformation, Dr. James V. Walker argues, relied not only on diplomats and pioneers, but also on cartographers, including Henry S. Tanner. Walker investigates the expansionistic discourse that was instrumental in helping Americans conceive of national sovereignty that expanded from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific during the first three decades of the nineteenth century. Through an examination and analysis of cartographic literature, congressional debates, newspapers, and treaties, Walker illustrates the power of cartographic representation in constructing both the concept and definition of this region’s geopolitical identity as an American place called Oregon.

A Northwest Language of Contact, Diplomacy, and Identity: Chinook Wawa / Chinook Jargon

by Henry Zenk, with Tony A. Johnson

Language scholar Henry Zenk and tribal member Tony A. Johnson examine the complex creation and utilization of Chinook Wawa / Chinook Jargon. Both Natives and newcomers relied on Chinook Wawa — a trade language composed of words from European and indigenous languages, yet fundamentally different from the contributing source languages — during the greater lower Columbia region’s transformation in the nineteenth century. The authors analyze changes in the language as non-Natives began to dominate the region, suggest new ways of understanding speeches given in Chinuk Wawa, and describe the difficulty of understanding treaty negotiations without records of what was said in Native languages, including Chinuk Wawa. They also show the use of Chinuk Wawa as a community symbol of intertribal solidarity, culminating in the revitalization of the language in reservation life since 1978, with the Confederate Tribes of the Grand Ronde’s Chinuk Wawa immersion program.

Reflections on Writing a Siletz Tribal History

by Charles Wilkinson

and

The People Are Dancing Again: Bringing Siletz Tribal History to the Public

by Robert Kentta

Scholar Charles Wilkinson’s essay tells of the process he undertook in writing his recently published history of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians (CTSI). His work is followed by a short companion piece by Robert Kentta, CTSI Cultural Resources Director, about why the tribe chose Wilkinson to write its history and what he hopes will be gained from its publication. Both authors invite readers to consider the importance of Native history — both its facts and its process — in the Pacific Northwest.

Oregon Places
Western Oregon Reservations: Two Perspectives on Place

by David G. Lewis and Robert Kentta

Scholars David G. Lewis, of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and Robert Kentta, of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, have each carefully studied the documents related to the history of the Coast, Siletz, and Grand Ronde reservations, and their interpretation differs regarding the relationship among the three places. Here, they each make an argument about the basis for their understanding of the history, giving readers an opportunity to see the complicated nature of all historians’ work and the particularly difficult nature of understanding aspects of the past that have not been well documented.

Oregon Voices
The Albina Mural Project

by Robin Dunitz

In 1977, Isaac (now Isaka) Shamsud-Din won a federal grant and hired a small crew of seven artists of color to embark on an ambitious public mural project in Portland’s predominantly African-American Albina neighborhood. The end result of the year-long Albina Mural Project was six large murals (20' x 20') displayed for five years on the exterior walls of the Albina Human Resources Center. They highlighted local and national black history and culture, including the slave trade, the migration of African Americans to the Pacific Northwest at the end of the nineteenth century, both the promise and subsequent destruction of Vanport, and the Civil Rights era. The murals were predominantly works by African-American artists, about African-American subjects, and intended for an African-American audience. Through a series of interviews with surviving members of the project, Robin Dunitz traces its history and meaning.