Tribal Government & News

Tribe closes on 425-acre property in Marion County

05.31.2016 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council, History, Natural Resources

The Grand Ronde Tribe closed on Monday, May 23, on the 425.71-acre Chankawan property that fronts more than a mile of the North Santiam River in Marion County.

According to Tribal Lands Department Manager Jan Reibach, the property is worth more than $1.27 million and the purchase is being entirely funded by Bonneville Power Administration’s Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program

The transaction includes more than $600,000 in operation and maintenance funding from the BPA.

“This is a proud achievement for Grand Ronde, as the Tribe makes further strides in its land ownership and right to manage Tribal natural and cultural resources throughout our treaty homelands,” Reibach said. “Both play an important role in the Tribe’s sovereignty.”

The acquisition brings the Tribe’s total conservation acreage to more than 1,124 acres.

“Led by our Tribal Council and funded by BPA, this program protects unique and imperiled habitat for Tribally important species in the Willamette Basin, and restores ceded lands and homeland resources to Tribal ownership and management,” Reibach said.

“Through conservation easements over these properties, the Tribe actively manages them to restore, protect and enhance wildlife habitat. The Chankawan Wildlife Area will focus particularly on spring Chinook salmon, winter steelhead and Pacific lamprey, but will include many other Tribally important plant and animal species as well.”

Chankawan means “place of salmon” in the Santiam Kalapuya language. The North Santiam River was historically the single largest-producing tributary for spring Chinook salmon in the whole Willamette Basin system.

Reibach said the area is an important homeland of the Santiam Kalapuya people, located directly across the river from the reservation delineated in the unratified 1851 treaty with the Santiam Kalapuya.

“This project is truly a team effort,” Reibach said. “There are many folks to thank for their help and support during the acquisition process.”

Reibach thanked Tribal Council, the General Manager’s Office, Tribal Attorney’s Office, Natural Resources, Public Works & Facilities, the Tribal Historic Preservation Office and Finance, as well as BPA, the Western Rivers Conservancy, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon Department of Forestry.

“Much work remains before our treaty lands and resources are restored and recovered,” he said. “To that end we remain committed to working hard. In the spirit of that effort, today we celebrate the Tribal ownership of the Chankawan property.”