Meet The Calapooia With Me…

by | May 25, 2022

The Calapooia River is home to two species listed as “threatened” under the federal E Species Act: winter steelhead and spring C0hinook.  The Calapooia watershed steelhead represent the uppermost distribution of steelhead in the Willamette system.

Dreaming & learning on the Willamette

“The Calapooia flows generally northwest from its source in the Cascade Range near Tidbits Mountain. In its upper reaches, it passes through parts of the Willamette National Forest. Further downstream, it lows through Holley then Crawfordsville and Brownsville in the Willamette Valley before joining the Willamette at Albany.”

Calapooia River

The Calapooia’s gifts to us

I didn’t know much about Calapooia until now. Shows how my sights were on so many other things far less important than the roots of America’s true pride, in my mind.

These are the people of our past, like so many Native American tribes who provided the white man with the tool kit to thrive in a land known only by them.

The Calapooia connected with the land, and thrived for centuries before the white man killed the spirits who protected and preserved nature’s gifts. This land belongs to the Calapooia.

I believe now, though, in the 21st Century, we know who owns this land. The white man honors and tries to make amends, preserve and protect the gifts given to us by the Calapooia.

Calapooia Park set aside by the City of Albany, Oregon is one if many examples of the white man recognizing the Calapooia’s early contributions of community building, living in harmony with a land owned by God not man.

Calapooia Watershed Council

Early Life and Culture on the Calapooia Landscape, 1846–60After traversing the Oregon Trail during the late spring, summer, and early fall, immigrants to the Oregon Country generally arrived in the Willamette Valley just as the wet season began.

Sometimes they immediately continued south to find a new home, as did Benjamin Freeland, who came to the Calapooia in 1853–54: “We was six months in Crossing the plains and after we got in the Valle we started up the Valle and to look for a home.

We traveled slow we would stop and look and we traveled over one hundred miles till we crossed the Calapooya river and on the Calapooya we found a claim and bought it which we paid fore yoak of oxen.

Claims is skerse.”

Other settlers wintered in the north near Oregon City and then headed south in the spring to choose a claim that they could immediately begin to work. For instance, although John Courtney’s family arrived in Oregon in autumn 1845, they reached the Calapooia only the following spring.”

Look Closer at this land not things

Look closer in your communities and you will see and hear the Calapooia. Listen quietly in a meditative sitting position, and close your eyes. You will see and learn things bigger than us.

I feel peace when connected with Native American history and culture. I can see again, drift away, be with the Calapooia as they loved this land more than things not made by God.

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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