Grand Ronde tribal member Carol Logan and Yakima tribal member Wilbur Slockish look across Highway 26 toward the tribal sacred site The Place of Big Big Trees, which was leveled by ODOT a decade ago in order to widen the highway, Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022.

Editor’s note:This story is part of a series that illuminates the historical context of tribal law in the Pacific Northwest and examines cases where tribes and tribal members have used federal courts to expand their rights under federal law.

Read the entire series here.

On the shoulder of a busy mountain highway an hour east of Portland, tribal elders Carol Logan and Wilbur Slockish gazed across four lanes of traffic at the sacred site they have fought for decades to protect: Ana Kwna Nchi Nchi Patat, or Place of Big Big Trees, where for centuries Indigenous people camped and rested while traveling an ancient road over Mt. Hood.

Logan, a Clackamas descendant and member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and Slockish, hereditary chief of the Klickitat/Cascade Tribe and member of the Yakama Nation, keep the old ways. At burial places like Ana Kwna Nchi Nchi Patat, they sing specific songs, pray and leave offerings, so those buried there are remembered and will be able to rise up one day when the Creator calls to them.

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