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Editorial: Save Nez Perce burial site from desecration

"Long before Old Chief Joseph died in 1871, he extracted a promise from his sons that they would never sell the Wallowa Valley. "You must stop your ears whenever you are asked to sign a treaty selling your home," the old chief said. The young Chief Joseph never forgot.

Both Josephs would be aghast to learn that recreational vehicles could someday dot ancestral hills near the old chief's burial site. If property owners get their wish, their 60 acres near the foot of Wallowa Lake might sport "an upscale RV community," as The Oregonian's Laura Oppenheimer reported Sunday. Whether upscale, downscale or in between, this development should not go forward. It would be a travesty.

These hills are sacred to the Nez Perce tribe. Many people who live in Joseph (population: 1,080) and throughout northeast Oregon also have a fierce attachment to this landscape, which many have known since childhood. Sadly, they took for granted that it would never be developed. With hindsight, it's clear it should have been purchased and protected years ago."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Save Wallowa Lake site (The Oregonian 9/14)

Relevant Links:
Nez Perce Tribe -
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation -

Related Stories:
Tribes blast development at sacred site in Oregon (9/9)
Nez Perce Tribe buys nearly 1,000 acres in Oregon (08/05)
Nez Perce Tribe vows to stop housing near cemetery (02/19)
Housing approved near Nez Perce cemetery (02/13)
Commentary: Unthinkable desecration of grave (2/12)
Debate continues on housing near Nez Perce gravesite (02/05)
Nez Perce gravesite threatened by development (2/2)
Appeals seek to protect Old Chief Joseph's grave (01/08)
Developer wants to build near Old Chief Joseph's grave (12/12)