In 2008 a collaborative project documented stories of the Elders in our community. Youth were paired with an Elder to interview and write a bio that would be on shared with the community. The Elders wall is displayed at NAYA in the cafetorium for visitors, youth and families to be reminded of our history, and the guidance and wisdome our Elders provide. More bios will be added, check back often!
Many people in the Native community of Portland take great pride in the fact that this building is located on land what was formerly a Native village site called Neerchokikoo. The first maps of the village site drawn in 1804-1805 by Lewis and Clark and again in 1883 by the Corps of Engineers survey confirm the village site of Neerchokikoo. These maps also show the Columbia Slough Access to river sites. This settlement of Portland was very difficult time for the people of Neerchokikoo, as the majority of inhabitants of the village died or moved away during the “cold sick” great epidemic of the early 1830’s.Additionally, many of the inhabitants were subject to attempted genocide and intentional removal of Native Americans during that period of Portland’s history. Some Chinook tribal members continued to live along the slough and use the land for ceremonial purposes despite significant efforts toward removal, with the last documented remaining elder moving out in 1906. He was known simply as “Indian John” and his picture is proudly displayed to honor his memory.