Over 30 tribes and bands from Kalapuya, Molalla, Chasta, Umpqua, Rogue River, Chinook, Tillamook and others make up today’s Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde Community of Oregon. Twenty-seven bands and tribes from Umpqua, warm springs, Tillamook, Molalla, and Alsea and others make up the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians. Oregon State University is built on the homelands of these Indigenous peoples whose ancestors were forcibly removed. The over 10,000 combined members of these two indigenous communities remain active throughout their ancestral homelands, including here at Oregon State University. The Polar STEAM team conducts our work here with gratitude for the past, present and future of the Indigenous peoples of this land.
Much of the work of the Polar STEAM programs occurs on the Arctic homelands of Indigenous peoples. We acknowledge a history of polar research endeavors complicit in undermining Indigenous sovereignty and knowledge systems. As a team, we are continuing to learn about the past and present of Indigenous peoples of the Arctic. We are committed to cultivating a culture of gratitude among Polar STEAM participants and partners and to supporting practices and outcomes that honor the rich human and ecological histories of polar regions.
We offer these acknowledgements with full awareness of the emotional labor they may represent to Indigenous peoples and do not surface this acknowledgment as “optical allyship” but to follow through with concrete steps and actions in support of these communities. We invite accountability and collaborative efforts to cultivate practices that support and honor and do not harm Indigenous culture, people and land.
We encourage you to take the time to engage with different ways of knowing and to discover the past and present stories of the communities who shaped and are shaped by the land on which you conduct your own work.