The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Tana Atchley Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Janice Dilg.

September 15, 2015


“A Role Model for Oregon's Tribal Youth”  September 15, 2015  Location: Offices of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Portland, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Atchley describes her family background and upbringing in Sprague River, Oregon. In this, she details her experience of tribal traditions growing up on what was once the Klamath Indian Reservation. She discusses the importance of first foods to the tribal community, shares her thoughts on the impact of agricultural practices in the Klamath Basin, and reflects on the social, cultural and economic impact made on the Klamath Tribes by their termination in 1954. Atchley likewise reflects on her experience of school growing up - including a year where she was homeschooled due to county budget cuts - and the importance of the Underrepresented Minorities Achievement Scholarship that funded her during college.

The session then turns to Atchley's years as an undergraduate journalism major at the University of Oregon, her work in the years that immediately followed her graduation from the U of O, and her decision to return to school as a graduate student in the Oregon State University College Student Services Administration program. In recalling her OSU experience, Atchley notes a collection of individuals who were important to her, and comments on the rivalry between OSU and the U of O.

The remainder of the interview focuses on Atchley's work activities in academia and elsewhere. She describes her years at Portland State University as a counselor and advisor, details her involvement with salmon camps and other youth outreach, and outlines her move to the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and her duties as its tribal workforce development and outreach coordinator. She also notes her recreational involvement with the Jammin' Salmon dragon boat team. The session concludes with Atchley's thoughts on the role that education has played in her life and the role that it might continue to play for Native American communities in Oregon and elsewhere.