Broken Treaties: An Oregon Experience

Monday, October 1 at 9:00 p.m.

Most non-Indian people in Oregon don’t seem to know much about the state’s Native American population.

Northwest history is a popular subject these days. Bookstores have shelves filled with writings about the pioneers, the Lewis and Clark expedition and the history of Oregon.

But what about the people who were already settled here when those pioneers arrived?

What do folks today know about the earlier Oregonians who fished for salmon in the Rogue River and watched the late-day sun light up Mount Hood — thousands of years before Portland got its name?

“Broken Treaties” introduces viewers to Oregon’s tribes and explores a thread of the story that isn’t told well in those shelves of history books.

From the early days of white settlement, the native people faced efforts to separate them from their traditional religions and to convert them to Christianity. Indians, especially Indian children, were also discouraged from speaking their ancestral languages and pressed to adopt Western clothing and culture.

For several years, the U.S. government assigned various dominations of Christian churches to the reservations. The churches were provided “captive audiences” to educate in the Christian ways and worked to assimilate the native people at little or no cost to the government.

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