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Oregon guide helps people explore tribal communities

The nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon partnered with Travel Oregon to publish the 'Guide to Oregon Indian Country.'

PORTLAND, Ore. — Like clockwork, every new year people make New Year’s resolutions that include getting into shape and eating healthier. But why not consider something a little different? How about getting outside more, exploring the state, or learning about cultures different than your own?

Travel Oregon and the nine federally recognized tribes in the state are making it easier for people to do just that with a new travel guide.

"Quite candidly, almost nothing you learned in school about American Indians is accurate or complete. We want to give people a more full set of data and perspectives about our history and our culture," said Bobbie Conner, the director of the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute.

Travel Oregon partnered with the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon to publish the 'Guide to Oregon Indian Country'.

"When visitors come and help us restore our economy by spending money here at the museum, at the Wildhorse Resort, at Hamley [Steakhouse and Saloon] in Pendleton, they are helping the tribe recover from economic hardship of over 150 years," Conner said.

She said tribes don't have a tax base to fund their governments or social services, so the additional dollars are welcome. The publication, which is available online and in hard copy, is a way to promote tourism in tribal areas across Oregon. It highlights spots to visit all over the state.

"You run everything from the southern region, coastal regions, east central Oregon, and then over to eastern Oregon as well," said Travis hill, the chief operating officer for the Umpqua Indian Development Corporation. He said there are plenty of things to do in tribal communities.

"We have resorts. We have great restaurants, hotels, spas, golf courses, so all the amenities you will be looking forward to, as far as destinations," Hill said.

Just as important as economically supporting tribal communities, there is so much to learn about indigenous people's land, history and culture.

"They've been here forever, in a sense," Hill said.

Conner also said that exploration of tribal communities could lead to better understanding.

"We're excited that this partnership with Travel Oregon may help us not only boost visitation to homelands of tribal people in Oregon, but it may help people understand better the issues and challenges we face, and may help our neighbors understand that we want to work with them collaboratively to solve the problems facing our planet," Conner said.

Click here for the online guide


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