The First Oregonians

The First Oregonians is a uniquely Oregon text, an edited volume of 17 chapters involving 18 authors. It tells the unique stories of Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes from their perspective. The first edition stemmed from a three-year heritage recovery project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, that focused on the native peoples of Oregon. The second edition, updated for the 21st century with support from the Oregon Council for the Humanities, shines a light on some important changes in Indian Country between the two editions. 

360 pages. ©2007.
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Reader Reviews for this Book


Review posted April 4, 2021


A wonderfully detailed collection of information about Oregon tribes. There was quite a bit, perhaps too much, facts, data and numbers, which could use some transitions. More images or maps would've been helpful (maps to help track where things were happening for each chapter). As each chapter had different authors, the flow varied. This would be an excellent tool for people in school, and great for history lovers generally, especially if supplemented with a podcast or other materials to help explain the context or significance. Everyone should have this book, but not everyone will be able to understand it or get through it without supplemental help.

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Review posted March 26, 2021


Excellent Book!


Review posted March 23, 2021


Interesting perspective of the federally recognized 9 tribes of Oregon. I work in a Tribal child care center and this helped me understand the lasting effects of historical and generational trauma endured by the tribes of Oregon.


Review posted March 22, 2021


The First Oregonians is a great book that introduces the first Oregon Native Americans. The way in which this book is written, the storytelling, greatly displayed the rich history from the past to present. Great read.


Review posted March 19, 2021


This book is a very enlightening look into the the tribes of Oregon and PNW. I think it's well worth the read for everyone to understand the lands and history we are on.


Review posted March 15, 2021


I am happy to have this book. I am currently learning about SB13 Tribal History Shared History and how to implement it in my school library. The First Oregonians book is actually easier to grasp than it appears. The organization is approachable and searchable. The bibliography and index are comprehensive. I think that the statement by Dow Beckham and Michael Bond in the chapter called Patience and Persistence The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians is apt "The story of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians is one of inequity, misrepresentation, tantalizing hope, deep frustration, triumph, and persistence. The tribe's ability to survive is testimony to unquenchable human spirit and determination to shape a better future."


Review posted March 14, 2021


Honored to review and receive. This book tells the stories of native Americans in all regions of Oregon. It includes history of both known in lesser-known tribes. It accounts for the survival of the cultures despite being taken over by white settlers. I think this book does a good job telling stories from the viewpoint of the lost voices of the indigenous people of Oregon. Not only do you hear about the past but of present views, stories, histories and recollections. Part one of the book is broken down into different tribes. And part two describes the continuation of the cultural knowledge. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone especially Oregonians. I feel like it’s important for present day Oregonians to know and understand the history of their surroundings.


Review posted March 2, 2021


Although I don't know how many Indigenous people participated in the writing of this book, this book is much more truthful and accurate than any of the other books that I've read that spoke of Indigenous people and what happened to them.


Review posted March 1, 2021


"The First Oregonians" is an interesting and well researched history of Native American history in Oregon. The local connections made this book particularly interesting. I am born and raised in Southern Oregon and truly love learning about local culture and the actual history of what has actually happened rather than the history that is removed from textbooks. This book does have a bit of a textbook feel to it. There are pictures to support the real stories and information provided. The book is well researched and provides sources for deeper and continued learning.


Review posted February 8, 2021


The First Oregonians is a thorough and necessary dedication and to the indigenous people of Oregon and especially enlightening for non Indians. It's a history recalling early settlements, their struggles with trying to hold onto their land, how tribes lived as well as a current commentary from living Indians. This book helps to convey a sense of place in Oregon, as well as the deep connection to the land, their lifestyle, and the spirituality these tribes had and still have. It's not only a history book that I plan to reread, but an insight into who the Indian people of today are.


Review posted January 28, 2021


Very informative, I love hearing all the different perspectives.


Review posted January 11, 2021


Very informative and well written book. I am a big fan of history and love my state, so this provided me with a beautiful narrative of both.


Review posted December 15, 2020


This is a beautiful book with lots of good history. I would recommend all read this book.


Review posted December 9, 2020


It was very informational and easy to read.


Review posted December 4, 2020


This book provided the perspectives that are so often omitted from history books- the perspective of the subjects. Growing up with Chichimeca ancestry (Zacatecas), I was discouraged from claiming my heritage out of the need to fit in. Reconnecting as an adult has been rewarding and empowering. Reading about the tribes whose lands I occupy was heartening.


Review posted December 1, 2020


The First Oregonians is a great resource and would be especially helpful for those who teach social studies in early grades. Very detailed with chapters from tribal group perspective and by topics (language, for example) I hope an update will be available to continue the story. I wish I want to know more to honor the people who were here first and understood their connection to land resources. I wish there were more maps. Thank you for opportunity to learn.


Review posted November 23, 2020


I wanted to read this book because we moved to Oregon 4 years ago and I wanted to learn more about the Native Americans who live in Oregon and their history and culture. This book is a wonderful resource for anyone to learn more about the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon. Each chapter is written by a tribal member sharing stories of their people. They discuss art, linguistic heritage and their different perspectives. Their values, including great respect for the earth and it's creatures, provide valuable lessons for all of us. There is also a good list of additional resources, including websites, events and pow wows in Oregon where one can learn more and experience some of the celebrations of music and culture. I plan to use this book as a resource when we travel to various parts of the state to hike, camp, and visit museums and cultural centers.


Review posted November 18, 2020


Good quality, good read, love this program.


Review posted November 15, 2020


I have always been interested in Native American culture. Now since I live in Oregon, it was nice to read about the Native Americans here. I think it was very effective using the Native American perspectives and having them tell the story in their own words. I think this book is very relevent today as we are now looking at racial inequalities. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read the "real" story about the Native American culture.


Review posted October 30, 2020


A very informative resource of our Oregon told by through the eyes of original inhabitants.


Review posted October 28, 2020


I love the detail of this book! It’s well rounded and explains so much! The integrity of the book is wonderful