Stuart Harris can still remember the sights, scents and sounds of the autumn day when he gathered with his family as a boy and helped the adults smoke deer: crisp leaves, a dusting of frost and the laughter of children mingling with the smell of smoke in the air. For Harris, a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), the preparation and flavor of smoked food have been familiar since childhood.
Neebinnaukzhik means “summer evening” in the Ojibway (also known as Chippewa) language of the Great Lakes region. When Neebinnaukzhik Southall was growing up, she made handcrafts — friendship bracelets, dream catchers and beaded animals — and sold them to family and friends. She called her business Summer’s Specials.
Oregon’s Linguistic Landscape
What became the state of Oregon, an area stretching south from the Columbia Gorge to the Siskiyous, and east from the Pacific over the Coastal Range and Cascades to the High Desert, was a land of many languages, each one encoding information about the land and how to survive on it.
The traditions of native cultures — making reed baskets, eating wild foods, participating in sweat lodges — sustained people for centuries. Now those cultures are threatened by contamination. Researchers from the Umatilla reservation and OSU show why.