150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SIGNING OF THE TREATY BETWEEN THE CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF THE UMATILLA INDIAN RESERVATION AND THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT -- (Extensions of Remarks - May 26, 2005)
HON. GREG WALDEN
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2005
Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Speaker, it is a great honor for me to rise today to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty between the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the United States Government. I am proud to represent the people of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Congress and am always warmly welcomed when I visit the reservation.
Mr. Speaker, since time immemorial, the people of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation have lived on the Columbia River Plateau. Specifically, their homeland is the area now known as northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington. The Umatilla Tribes currently have over 2,446 tribal members who continue to care for and live on the land of their ancestors.
On May 28, 2005, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla will gather to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the treaty they signed with the United States Government. For the members of the Umatilla tribes this is an opportunity to remember and honor their ancestors who signed the treaties and to educate their youth and the public about these important documents.
I think it is fitting as we near the anniversary of this treaty to share with my colleagues a little bit of the history of the treaty signing. For nearly three weeks in late May and June of 1855, thousands of Native Americans from the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Tribes, along with the Nez Perce, Yakama and some bands of the Colville, all convened in the Walla Walla Valley, Washington Territory for a historic treaty council. During this three-week period the tribes met and negotiated with Washington Territory Governor Isaac Stevens and Superintendent for Indian Affairs of Oregon Territory Joel Palmer.
The agreement that came from this three-week negotiation has been the guiding document between the Umatilla, Cayuse, and Walla Walla people with the United States Government for the past 150 years and thus the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, Yakama, and Nez Perce Reservations were created.
Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to note that the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation have a long history of strong leadership and continue to preserve their traditional cultures and languages. Their leaders were among the most influential negotiators at the Treaty Council 150 years ago and today the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla are regarded as outstanding leaders within Indian Country.
Their leadership and innovative economic endeavors help lead the way in eastern Oregon and in Indian Country. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation determine their own futures through successfully operating a wide range of their own services and almost all of their Federal programs, including health services, housing, education, police and fire protection, tribal courts, natural resources management and protection, fisheries, administration, and economic development and employ over 1000 people in the region.
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to represent what is today the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and it is an honor to work closely with them to help improve their futures and the futures of all eastern Oregonians.