BROWNSVILLE — History from the perspective of pioneer settlers is well known — the rigors of the Oregon Trail, the ruggedness of hardworking settlers carving out a living in wild land, the tensions between settlers and native people. That, however, is just part of the story.
In order to understand the full history of the Willamette Valley, the story of the Kalapuyans, the people who have lived in the valley for at least 15,000 years, is a foundational element.
A new exhibit at the Linn County Historical Museum, 101 Park Ave. in Brownsville, illuminates key events over the millennia that affected the lives of the Kalapuyans: their prehistory, contact with Europeans and Americans, the loss of their traditional life and culture through disease and displacement, their removal to reservations and their adaptation to new ways of life.
It’s a big story told through graphic displays, photos, maps and artifacts.
Even the legend of Eliza Young, the “Last of the Kalapuya,” has been revisited and corrected: thousands of Kalapuyan descendants live in Oregon today.
The exhibit is provided by grants from the Oregon Heritage Commission, the Linn County Museum Trust, the Central Linn Community Foundation, the Linn County Cultural Coalition and Randy Tripp.
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The Linn County Historical Museum is open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.
Contact Linn County reporter Alex Paul at 541-812-6114.