DALLAS -- Ever wonder how important the plants in the Delbert Hunter Arboretum once were to this region's Native tribes?
This summer, a new arboretum feature will show how Native American tribes once interacted with the region's plant life.
Through a partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde's Ceded Lands program, an informational kiosk will be installed in July.
The Ceded Lands program places detailed signs and maps on lands Native American tribes in Western Oregon ceded to the federal government when they were forced to move the Grand Ronde Reservation. The signs provide information about the tribe's history in those regions.
"It's really been a desire of the Tribe as far back as I can remember to engage the public," said Michael Karnosh, the manager for the project. "The Tribe's history is something that is not often in public schools or places that are easily accessible."
Signs are placed in parks or other public places. Since launching the project three years ago, signs have been or will be placed in Salem, Scio, Wilsonville, Ashland and other locations.
Nancy Lenon, the arboretum's curator, said the partnership began as a desire to highlight the plants Native tribes would have used or cultivated in a display.
"We started with just wanting to get some information from the Tribe about how plants were used," Lenon said.
Arboretum managers were told many of the plants were already present in other displays, making an additional feature unnecessary.
However, it turns out the arboretum was a good location for the Ceded Lands program.
"We were quite excited about it," Lenon said. "We just thought this was a beautiful match and immediately started thinking about where we were going to put it."
Karnosh said the kiosk will be three sided, each with a 3-foot-by-4-foot panel containing information about the arboretum, the region's history and native plants and their uses.
Plans are to place the kiosk in the arboretum's meadow feature.
"I like the location," Karnosh said. "It's really close to one of the main trails through the arboretum and I think it will look really nice there."
A dedication for the new kiosk will be scheduled during Summerfest.