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This Week: Tribal Members Seek to Preserve Native Language at LCC and Prevent Gravel Mine Near Oakridge

Oregon Native American history and culture feels a bit under siege is Lane County this week

Over on the Lane Community College Campus on Wedesday, May 11, advocates for teaching Chinuk Wawa are organzing and asking to be heard by the LCC Board of Education. They will be meeting 6:30 pm in Building 3, Room 216 on the main campus and speaking during the 20 minute public comment session. 

Chinuk language advocates will meet prior to the board meeting at 5:25pm in Building 5 Room 126 for a meal, songs, and prayer, according to a Facebook event. More information is below, and you can also sign on to a petition at Change.org.

In the fall, Lane Community College's administration effectively canceled the Chinuk Wawa language program at the school, placing it on an indefinite "hiatus". While the American Indian Languages Committee at LCC has continued advocating for this invaluable and one of a kind program, the administration has been silent. So, some of us are seeking to be heard by LCC's Board of Education. 

Would you please join us in support of Chinuk Wawa at LCC?! Please help us pack the board room and request a reversal of the administration's decision and a commitment to the continuation of Chinuk Wawa at our community college!! The LCC Board of Education meets on May 11th at 6:30pm in Building 3, Room 216. Their meetings begin with 20 minutes for public comments so if you'd like to speak in support of the program please do!

Update: The LCC board voted 5-1 to reinstate Chinuk Wawa.

Another issue facing local Tribal members and land use and environmental advocates is the proposed TV Butte gravel mine, called the Old Hazeldell Quarry by the developers. 

EW columnist and Indigenous rights activist Kayla Godowa Tufti, a desecent of Charlie Tufti, known for discovering Waldo Lake, has been advocating against the mine, pointing to historical records she says shows possible Native graves in the area.

There is a hearing tonight, May 10, about the mine with the Planning Commissio  at 5:30 pm  in the Goodson Room at 3040 N. Delta Hwy., Eugene.

In a Facebook event opposing the mine, which is associated with Ed King of King Estate Winery, organizers write:

Lane County Planning Commission will be hearing rebuttal to the proposed mining project in Oakridge, Oregon. It is critical that people turn out to oppose this mining project which threatens indigenous cultural resources, the regional ecology, and the health and wellbeing of rural residents.

Last night I attended the initial meeting where the mining company attempted to convince the commission to change the zoning of TV Butte from forest to mining. In doing so the presenters ignored or dismissed concerns about increased fire risk, particulate pollution, and water contamination or depletion.

They also assaulted and called the police on the lineal descendant of Charlie Tufti when she raised concerns about the impact this proposed mine would have on cultural resources and native graves. There are many reasons to oppose this plan. Please share this widely and please come to the meeting and voice your support for the people of Oakridge. Goodson Room 3050 N. Delta Highway Eugene Oregon