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Jackleen de La Harpe

Jackleen de La Harpe

Freelance Journalist

Portland, Oregon

First Foods Guide Tribal Decisions in Oregon

Cheryl Shippentower is a plant ecologist for the Umatilla Department of Natural Resources and a First Food gatherer for the Tribe.

Cheryl Shippentower is a plant ecologist for the Umatilla Department of Natural Resources and a First Food gatherer for the Tribe.

The Umatilla Tribal lands in northeastern Oregon are a wash of golden yellow in early July. The 172,000-acre reservation at the foot of the Blue Mountains is in the middle of wheat country, a fertile grain belt and major agricultural hub that spans Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The wheat harvest is underway early this year, prompted by record heat and an early summer. From a distance, a cloud of chaff follows a combine and looks like smoke against the harsh blue sky.

The Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), near the border of Washington, is a prosperous tribe and one of the largest employers in this part of the state. The tribe has retained their hunting and fishing treaty rights, owns and manages the Wildhorse Casino and Resort, operates the Wildhorse Foundation, and has invested strategically Read More >