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Story of Molalla Tribe origin immortalized at Long Park with coyote and grizzly bear statues

This month brought the final installation of Molalla's Heritage Art Walk. Altogether there are six statues throughout the city featuring sculptures of Molalla's tribal heritage. PMG PHOTO: SANDY STOREY - The grizzly bear and coyote statues are now in place at Long Park in Molalla.

Working closely with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, the city's design team chose artist Ben Dye from Oregon City. They were inspired by the origin of the Molalla Tribe, the story of the Coyote's swallowing match with the Grizzly Bear.

The story starts with Coyote heading toward Mt. Hood when he encountered the Grizzly Bear. Coyote told Grizzly that he was making the world. Grizzly wasn't pleased by Coyote's statement and challenged Coyote to a fight. Coyote challenged Grizzly to a fire heated rock swallowing match instead.

Coyote tricked Grizzly into swallowing the very hot rocks while Coyote swallowed strawberries in their place. Swallowing those hot rocks eventually caused Grizzly to burst open. Coyote took Grizzly's heart and it became the Molalla Tribe. They became a great people and were great hunters as they continue to be today.

The Molalla people signed the Willamette Valley Treaty of 1855 and were forcibly removed from their homelands. Today their descendants are members of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde located in Grand Ronde, Oregon. The town of Molalla is proud of its rich Native American heritage as shown in its curriculum of the Molalla River Public School District and the city's heritage banners.

The Molalla Heritage Art Walk is brought to the city through a tourism grant from Oregon's Mt. Hood Territory, and the sculptures of the Coyote and Grizzly came through a generous donation from Molalla Communications.

The Coyote and Grizzly were the final sculptures installed on Molalla Avenue. The others include the bench, river and fish, also on Molalla Avenue and 5th Street at the base of Sally Fox Park. A Huckleberry statue is located on Main Street/Highway 211. The Canoe is also located on Main Street, and a Basket is located at Shirley and North Cole Streets.


Carol Rosen
Reporter
503-266-7507
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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