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Clackamas County celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day with first in-person event

Clackamas County and Clackamas County Community College partnered to honor Indigenous history and culture through music, art, storytelling, and food.

OREGON CITY, Ore. — Clackamas County celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day on Sunday with a free community event. It was the first in-person gathering held by the county in recognition of the holiday.

On the Clackamas County Community College campus, vendors and artists representing tribes from around the region shared their traditions, skills and stories.

“I’ve been making fry bread since I could stand on a chair,” Elisha Bigback said.

Bigback is the co-owner of Sisters Fry Bread. She was at the event on Sunday, frying up her family’s recipe and serving up a helping of history on the side.

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“Fry bread is something beautiful born out of something ugly,” Bigback said. “When Native Americans were put on the reservation, [one] of the staples that were given to Native Americans was flour. Each tribe has their own recipe, their own process for making it.”

The county partnered with Clackamas Community College to put on the cultural event.  

“It’s a way for us to celebrate Indigenous peoples of Oregon, the different tribes and the different people who were stewards of the land before Oregon became a state and Clackamas became and territory,” said Tray Moreland, policy advisor for Clackamas County.

Other people KGW spoke to echoed that.

“Honoring people that were actually here when European settlers came. So, it’s really important to give credit where credit is due and celebrate that,” said Casey Layton, the chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at the community college.

The event was in recognition and celebration of Indigenous history while keeping traditions alive for generations to come.

“Awareness, respect and understating that there’s space for everybody,” Bigback said.

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