Published on June 20, 2012 by Amy
Located in north central Oregon, just south of Mount Hood is the 644,000 acres (AID, 38) Warm Springs Reservation. This reservation is home to eight bands from three separate tribes that function as a unit. The Warm Springs Indians lend their name to the reservation. They are represented by four bands, the Taih, Wyam, Tenino and Dock-spus. The Wasco are from the Dalles, Dog River and Ki-gal-twal-la bands. One band of the Northern Paiute is the remaining tribe (GAI, 183).
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The 3,000 residents (Ibid) of the reservation engage in farming and logging for sources of revenue. They also maintain the Kah-Ne-Tah vacation resort in the hills in the northern part of the reservation. It is at this modern resort complex that one can most readily see the flag of the “Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation”.
The flag is light blue (sample flag provided by Elmer’s Flag & Banner, Portland, OR). It bears a yellow ribbon across the top bearing, in red, the line “The Confederated Tribes of the” and another, similar ribbon arcing across the bottom bearing “Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon”. Between the two ribbons are two eagles, one approaching the center from either side. This recalls the most sacred of all animals to the Native American and the abundance of local wildlife to be found on the reservation.
In the middle of these ribbons and eagles is a central disc representing a traditional Indian shield. This symbolizes the protection and safety that the three tribes find within their sovereign boundaries. The shield bears a map of the reservation upon which appears a picture of Mount Jefferson, the highest peak on the reservation. Below it are three tepees and above the mountain are three stars. Both represent the three nations. The three tepees emphasize the fact that the three nations territory lies at the foot of magnificent Mount Jefferson which is half on the reservation.
Of the three nations, the Wasco or Wascopam is a very very small tribe about which little has been written. This small size is not uncommon amongst tribes in the Pacific north west. The Northern Paiute stretch across central and western Oregon, northeastern California and southwestern Idaho (ENAT, 174-176). Their southern cousins can be found in Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and southeastern California. The name Paiute means either “True Ute” or “Water Ute” pointing to an ancient relationship with that tribe. The Warm Springs are better known by their former name -the Walla Walla. The Walla Walla have traditionally lived in northern Oregon and southern Washington.
WallaWalla is a Penutian word menaing “Little River” (ENAT,246). Today Walla Wallas still employing that original name reside on the Umatilla Reservation further inland from the Warm Springs.