The Place and the People: An Exploration into Warm Springs 7th Grade Humanities, Art and TechnologyThis is presentation was created by the REALMS 7th grade Humanities class toshare with you all the cool knowledge we now have about Warm SpringsReservation. As a part of our learning we will be introducing you to the historyand culture of the Warm Springs people.
A reservation is a piece of land run by a NativeAmerican tribe. Here in Central Oregon theWarm Springs Reservation is run by threetribes – the Warm Springs, the Northern Paiuteand the Wasco.
Hundreds of years ago the whole of Oregon was the home of Native Americans(another word for Indians). The three tribes who lived all over Central and EasternOregon were the Wasco (Chinook speaking), Northern Paiute and the Sahaptin-speaking tribes, collectively called the Warm Springs.
Wasco (Chinook Speaking)In 1855, about 160 years ago,the white settlers of Oregonforced all the Native Americans Warm Springsthat had lived in the Central Reservationand Eastern Oregon area on toa small chunk of land that wenow call the Warm SpringsReservation. This meant thatall the tribes came to live Sahaptintogether. There were nowthree different languages and Speakingthree different cultures living Tribestogether on this area. This wasvery hard as many had lefttheir home land. Can youimagine being forced to leaveyour home? Going to a strangeplace where many people Northern Paiutespoke a language you didn’tunderstand? Pretty scary…
For many years the US governmentforced the Native Americans to learnEnglish and to live the way of the whitesettlers. They were forced to give uptheir beliefs and traditions, change theway they ate, dressed and they werenot allowed to govern themselves.They were encouraged to farm insteadof hunt, and raise cows and chickensinstead of fish and gather berries. Thiswas very hard for this culture, as theyhad lived hunting, fishing andgathering for 1000’s of years.
About 40 years ago the US government stopped forcing English on the Native Americans butunfortunately by that time many of the languages had been lost. Today, some of the elders whostill know the native languages are teaching them to the children. Because English is nowspoken almost exclusively on the reservations, it is difficult to re-establish the native languages.
Even though the Wasco, NorthernPaiute and Warm Springs cultureswere almost wiped out byEuropean settlers and the USGovernment, many culturaltraditions are still practiced, eventhough life on the Reservation isvery different than life was whennative Americas lived all overOregon. Every year at the WarmSprings reservation there are festivals, ceremonies and rituals that keep the culture alive and unique.
One of those traditions is called “twining”. Twiningis the way the Native Americans made rope, fishingnets and baskets. 100’s of years ago if a NativeAmerican needed something to hunt or fish or makea basket with they had to make it! There were nostores to go buy things from. So they twistedgrasses to make strong twine that can be weavedinto larger ropes, baskets and nets. Twining is stillpracticed today to make hand made rope, nets andbaskets and is a skill passed down from onegeneration to another.