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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-7529

1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 1302
Portland, Oregon 97204

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Native American Community Advisory Council

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  • Native Family Day 2012

In 2010, in collaboration with Native communities and local tribes, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) co-created the Native American Community Advisory Council (NACAC), with the understanding that the Willamette Valley and Columbia River peoples are the original stewards of this region’s land. PP&R is a large land manager in Portland and is concerned with the welfare of public properties and the community interactions with parks. This is a common role that creates a unique relationship between the Native community and PP&R. In recognition of this parallel mission, and the essential value of working with the Native community, a unique council of concerned Native community members, who would inform PP&R about Native cultures and lifeways, was created. Their role is to advise and collaborate about park development, management, and projects.

PP&R recognized their relationship with the Native community by formalizing the Native American Community Advisory Council on November 6, 2013.

The NACAC provides a forum to express values such as sacredness of land, the importance of spiritual and cultural connection to heritage, and the recognition that Indigenous peoples have been here since time immemorial and continue to contribute immeasurably to our nation’s, state’s, tribes’, and city’s heritage.

The NACAC is comprised of local federally recognized tribal members and Native American urban organization members on staff with the City of Portland. The work of this council is to foster collaboration between and among Native communities and the bureau by developing partnerships and strengthening community ties.


  • Art Hendricks, Portland Parks & Recreation
  • Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong, Portland Parks & Recreation
  • Isabel LaCourse, Portland Parks & Recreation
  • Lorriane Wilson, Portland Parks & Recreation

The goal of NACAC is to contribute Indigenous values, knowledge, and vision to the cultural fabric of Portland while fostering physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health by:

  • Providing opportunities to educate and practice Native cultures and lifeways within the urban landscape.
  • Developing best practices to engage with Indigenous peoples in the area.
  • Collaborating, cooperating, and advising PP&R regarding issues, questions, and potential projects.

NACAC wishes to bring about a healing between Indigenous/Native American peoples and all others who live in this region, recognizing that the people are one with the land and consider themselves stewards of it and participating in the well-being of the land. Consistent with Parks 2020 Vision, the NACAC strives to work for a healing of this land, to protect it and to pass it on to future generations, and to leave a legacy for our children that build upon our inheritance.

Next Steps

  1. Discuss and develop agreement on the structure of the Council
  2. Increase visibility of the Council by creating a presence on the website
  3. Set clear expectations around the work, authority, and advisory capacity of the Council in the following:
    • Blessings ceremonies
    • Naming process
    • Interpretative signage
    • Staff recruitment
  4. Develop a process with NACAC to bring other issues, questions, or potential projects forward, for example, development of inter-tribal gathering areas on publicly managed land.