The Portland Headquarters is built on the traditional lands of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin, Kalapuya and Molalla along with many other tribes who lived along the Columbia River. Today, Portland has a large urban Native American population, with over 380 federally recognized Tribes represented in the Portland Metro area. The Odin Falls basecamp is located on the ancestral lands of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, comprising the Warm Springs, Wasco and Paiute tribes. The Mazama basecamp is on the ancestral lands of the Nlaka'pamux and the Okanagan tribes.
We acknowledge the systemic policies of genocide, relocation and assimilation that have and continue to impact many Indigenous/Native American families. We recognize that we are here because this land was occupied, and its traditional people were displaced by colonists and settlers. As guests on this land, we honor with gratitude both the land itself and the people who have been stewards of the land both past and present.
Land acknowledgements are a formal way to recognize and respect the traditional territories and Indigenous Peoples as stewards of the land. This can be presented both verbally and visually and is often done at the beginning of ceremonies, lectures or any public event. They may also exist as part of more in-depth lessons, particularly with some of Outward Bound’s longer format courses. Some may mention the name of a local treaty. Some may include words from the native language of the First Nations connected with a territory.
At Northwest Outward Bound School, outdoor spaces are integral to many of our experiential courses. We take hundreds of students, each year, to some of the most remote and beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. When we share, protect and learn from a space, it’s important to understand and acknowledge that place’s past, present and future and to seek to understand our place within that history. To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation we give to the Indigenous Peoples who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial.
Acknowledgement and teachings of Indigenous presence vary across Northwest Outward Bound School courses. It is something we are learning more about and expanding to include in all our courses. Please talk with your Course Advisor to learn more about the curriculum for specific courses.
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