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Research at the Willamettes

This past year I have spent a fair amount of time researching subjects at Willamette University and Willamette Heritage Center. At the university their collections are very good for the local area and politics. Their Chemawa records are beyond most other archives in the area, especially their yearbook collection and photographs. I have contributed to the collection in a significant way and the availability of the collection to researchers is invaluable.

Then, the Marion County Historical Society archives, a part of the Willamette Heritage Center, along with the Mission Mill, has good collections as well. Their mostly volunteer staff is excellent. One volunteer, Susan Masse is truly excellent. I have gone to her on several occasions and found volumes of information with her guidance. Then, she would follow up with more information should she encounter anything on her own. The archives are in need of more digitization and are seeking movement in that direction at this time. But their services, and access to research aids are extremely good. I recommend stopping in if you are seeking information about people or subjects from Marion County.

Categories: Oregon indians Uncategorized

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Ethnohistory Research, LLC | David G. Lewis, PhD

PhD Anthropology (UO 2009) and Native history researcher. Member of the Grand Ronde Tribe, Takelma, Chinook, Molalla, and Santiam Kalapuya ancestry. Owner of Ethnohistory Research LCC, professional consultant and project researcher.

I teach at local universities and colleges and take contracts with tribes, local governments and nonprofits. I have experience in archival organization, museum development, exhibit curation, traditional cultural property nomination, tribal ethnohistoric research, tribal maps, traditional ecological knowledge, and presentations to large and small gatherings. Contact me for consultation about any of these projects.

2 replies

  1. David,

    I really enjoy reading your research.

    I was giving a talk on the Atfalati last week and seveal quesitons came up.

    1. In those early times how did the people fall the trees? (I have heard that small holes were drilled and hot coals were placed in the holes until they burned through. I also read that a fire was built around the base of the tree after mud had been plastered up the bark. That way the fire could only burn up to the mud on the tree without engulfing it.)

    2. How were the acorns prepared? I know that there is a video at Grand Ronde showing the process.

    Any suggestions for reference?

    Ginny Mapes 25185 NW Svea Drive Hillsboro, OR 97124




    1. A read through Kalapuya Texts can answer a lot of these sorts of questions. I think you are right about the use of fire to fall trees. but there was probably enough windfall each winter that would float down the rivers that they did not have to fall trees too much. They would just harvest what they could from the rivers. That is unless they needed a special type of tree.


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