Voices Carry

The BLM reaches out to Native Americans to help plan for the future of Oregon's public lands.

story by Jodi Bean

A wise sentiment.

Last November, the BLM gave pause during Native American Heritage Month to reflect on the teachings of the first Americans. The above proverb from our neighbors in the Arapaho Nation to the east not only represents our respect for the public lands, it also applies to our deep respect for our fellow citizens.

Recently, residents of Oregon have been spending a great deal of time talking about and planning for the future of Northwest forests. For the BLM, an important part of this dialogue has meant reaching out and incorporating the wisdom and experience of those who came before us.

In particular, the BLM visited five Federally-recognized tribes to request their feedback on the direction of western Oregon's wooded wonderland. Conversations covered a variety of topics such as forestry, recreation, and conservation on more than 2.5 million acres in western Oregon.

The BLM's Heather Ulrich said, "These listening sessions were really valuable to hear what the tribes are interested in - and to accurately reflect and portray tribal voices in the land planning conversation." Meetings included the Siletz Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians, the Klamath Tribes, and the Coquille Indian Tribe. At every assembly, tribal members shared excellent advice with the BLM.

"The Grand Ronde Tribe was pleased to host the BLM leaders and have them on the reservation to talk about the planning project. It's the largest group of BLM leaders we've had in a long while - possibly ever," said Mike Wilson of the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde. "The tribal leaders were happy with the listening session and look forward to a continued dialogue and continued collaboration on this and other BLM projects."

Nationally, one of the BLM's top priorities is to strengthen ties with our Native American neighbors. Thanks to these recent gatherings, the BLM will carry forward the esteemed voices of Native American tribes to help shape the future of Oregon together.

Want to learn more about the future of Oregon forestry? Check out this short animated video!