Memorial Project

 

Our dream is to properly serve the memory of the original inhabitants of the Chetco River Valley. The Chetco Indian Memorial will be located at the Port of Brookings-Harbor, Oregon near the end of the boardwalk extension, where the Chetco River enters the Pacific Ocean. At the center of the memorial you will see the six-foot bronze likeness of Lucy Dick, the last known full-blooded Chetco Indian to live in the Chetco Valley.  She will be depicted near the end of her days with her beloved baskets at her side. The base of the sculpture will include a large boulder from the Mount Emily area.

This will be the first sign that the Chetco Indian people ever lived on the Chetco River since their relocation to a reservation. In March 2011, repair work following tsunami damage led to the discovery of Indian artifacts during drilling in the port of Brookings-Harbor. State Archeologists Dennis Griffin and Rick Minor surveyed the site. A local Curry Coastal Pilot newspaper article quoted Minor: "The historical find is significant...Its not very often you can see such an extensive village site intact." Dr. Minor's archaeological evidence from his fieldwork is available in his 2012 report entitled Rediscovery of Tcetxo: A Village of the Chetco Indians On the Southern Oregon Coast (Heritage Research Associates Report No. 365).

Robert Kentta, Cultural Director for the Siletz Tribe, also surveyed the site and confirmed that this is a culturally significant site. Currently, part of the village site lies under concrete and under a number of historic structures along the waterfront, and there are no markers that indicate that a tribe inhabited the area. This prehistoric site at the mouth of the Chetco River is an important place to tell the story of the Chetco people and of early Oregon history. 


The memorial will sit on an almost one-half acre landscaped site. Redwood kiosks will hold interpretive panels that will share the story of the Chetco people, how they lived, and how they have adapted to their surroundings over time. A part of this story will be told through the metaphor of Lucy Dick’s life. She was born into a relatively isolated culture, saw the first white settler, experienced relocation to the reservation, and lived long enough to return to the land of her birth where she was laid to rest in 1940.