The Oregon Land Justice Project Visits Warm Springs

Learning and Building Relationships.

In mid August, the Oregon Land Justice Project, in collaboration with Deschutes Land Trust, hosted a site visit to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

Thirty land trust staff and board members from across the state joined us to build relationships and hear directly from tribal members about how we, as a community, can show up for Warm Springs.

The Oregon Land Justice Project and youth and leaders from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
The Oregon Land Justice Project and youth and leaders from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

Over two and a half days, we toured the reservation with tribal leaders and community members, youth and elders. We learned about efforts across the Warm Springs community to steward their collective natural resources and abundance—from fish habitat restoration to wildfire response to economic development to food sovereignty, and overcoming difficulties stemming from an ongoing water crisis.

This site visit gave our land trust delegation a glimpse into some of the complexities of living and working on the Warm Springs reservation. Even though there are disparities, Warm Springs is a place of abundance and prosperity, created by the hard work and dedication of many individuals and groups.

The Oregon Land Justice Project visits a restoration site.
The Oregon Land Justice Project visits a restoration site.

Despite some of the issues they face, there is hope for the next generation. We were lucky to spend a full day with one grassroots initiative working to empower Warm Springs youth through job training and fostering a connection to their homelands. This group of teens recently worked on restoring huckleberry spots frequented by elders and families. In doing so, they built meaningful relationships between people and place, and ensured that this sacred site would continue to be a place of abundance for many years to come.

As we continue to host site visits, it is clear that relationships are key. And the Oregon land trust community has a lot of work to do in order to bridge historical lines of distrust, as we learn to be good neighbors and partners in this shared mission of conserving and stewarding Oregon’s land. This is a challenge we can overcome with humor, hard work, and humility, just as we witnessed in Warm Springs.

We want to extend a huge thank you to our friends and colleagues at the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs for your warm welcome and for sharing your impactful work with us! We are also thankful to Deschutes Land Trust for co-hosting the event and welcoming us to Priday Ranch.

About the Oregon Land Justice Project

The Oregon Land Justice Project is a program of the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts implemented in partnership with First Light Learning Journey, and Tributaries Network. The project organizes land trusts in Oregon to use their individual organizational strengths and assets collectively in service to Indigenous people and communities in Oregon. The Project works with land trusts across Oregon to increase land access, support Indigenous sovereignty, and return land to tribal communities.

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Anna-Liza Victory

Anna-Liza Victory

Anna-Liza is the Oregon Land Justice Project Manager at COLT

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