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In Their Own Words

The Oregonian (Portland, OR) , September 12, 2004


All too often, Native American culture and history have been portrayed by writers, filmmakers and others who didn't understand the true story.

When the Umatilla tribes opened their Tamastslikt Cultural Institute six years ago on tribal land, they took a bold step to tell their story in their own words.

The $18 million museum and repository of tribal history is built in Eastern Oregon's wheat land, six miles east of Pendleton. It claims to be the only interpretive center along the Oregon Trail designed by and about Native Americans and their culture.

"One of the reasons our tribal council took a leap of faith and built the institute was to humanize our people," said Roberta "Bobbie" Conner, Tamastslikt's eloquent director, who was raised and lives near the museum on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. "The vision of us has been so dehumanized by Hollywood, through literature and in history books."

Subjects Covered: diversity training, education

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