Oregon History 101: First Day of Class

Native Life and Pre-Contact

Dr. David G. Lewis, Tribal Historian and Manager of the Cultural Exhibits and Archives Program, Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde

Originally presented on Monday, September 8, 2014, at McMenamins Kennedy School in Portland, Oregon

native cultures


Native societies in Oregon have seen monumental changes in the last two hundred years. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Oregon’s tribes and bands have witnessed great losses of land to federal government allotment programs; death from European diseases; and the loss of culture and language from assimilation programs at Indian boarding schools. Through all these changes, Native cultures in Oregon have adapted, and now are thriving. Dr. David G. Lewis, Tribal Historian for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community, will describe what life was like for western Oregon tribes, and examine the changes that resulted from the resettlement of Native lands.

David Lewis is the Tribal Historian and Manager of the Exhibits and Archives Program for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community. David is an enrolled member at the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, his ancestral heritage is Chinook, Takelma, and Santiam Kalapuya. He earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Oregon.

David teaches at area universities and regularly travels throughout western Oregon and presents on topics of Tribal History and Culture, Tribal Genealogy, and Oregon Tribal Termination. He is a long-term member of the advisory committee of the Oregon Encyclopedia, and the Willamette Falls Heritage Area Coalition, and serves the state as the Chair of the Oregon Heritage Commission.


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Learn more about Native American history in Oregon on The OE