In the mythology of this area, Coyote and other beings shaped the surrounding landscape as you see it today. This work was very intentional as they were preparing it for their relatives to come. This connection to place created a culture that made the people and landscape inseparable.
The Stafford area is home to the Tualatin or Atfalati, and the Clackamas People. The Tualatin are the northernmost band of the Kalapuya and once consisted of around 20 villages throughout the Valley down to the Yamhill River. The Clackamas were Chinookan people who occupied the Clackamas River from the foothills of the Cascade Range to the Willamette River.
Like the farmland here today, managed landscapes played an integral part of life for the area’s original inhabitants. The earliest known maps of this area indicate modified soil and scattered foliage achieved through selective burning and thinning of trees. This helped to produce abundant hazel/willow gathering spots for use in basketry, and created open camas fields and grazing meadows for wild game. These spaces would be developed and maintained over time, creating strong connections to place and establishing a multi-generational awareness of the cultural landscape.
We are grateful to the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde for sharing their wisdom and influence in the region. Wishing them success in their efforts to reestablish their rights to fish and gather in their ceded lands, and continue to strengthen the cultural ties to the landscape and ancestors, preserving them for future generations. The region is blessed that you have “ALWAYS LIVED HERE”!
You can get more information on the agricultural impacts of the Grand Ronde in the region by visiting their panel on the Hazelia Agri-Cultural Heritage Trail.