Indigenous Peoples and Land Gratitude

We want to begin by thanking the original peoples of the lands we now call home. Today, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians are living descendants of the Takelma, Shasta, and Latgawa peoples of these lands.

Before Oregon was a state, it was an abundant well-managed and bountiful territory home to over 100 indigenous languages, people, and a diversity of plants and animals. Like all the rivers from Alaska to Mexico, millions of salmon ran wild and in healthy numbers in the river now known as the Rogue River that connects Southern Oregon. The Indigenous peoples of Southern Oregon live a bountiful life in the valley that is now enclosed in the boundaries of Jackson County. These lands have always known fire as many of the plants are serotinous and can only sprout through being exposed to fire or high temperatures. The indigenous people of Oregon have known this and for thousands of years used traditional loans management practices such as cultural burns to maintain the bounty lands they intentionally cared for.

Before we can speak about the tragic displacement of our communities on September 8th, 2020, we acknowledge that our housing needs and our struggle for a just recovery from the wildfires stands in the backdrop of a 200-year-old struggle for restoration and recovery for Native Americans. 

We hope that by calling for housing justice for our communities, we can honor and uplift the calls for justice and #LandBack struggles echoing long before ours. 

Our story

Coalición Fortaleza was a vision that was seeded by our elders and families in 2020 after one of the largest climate disasters impacted our historically Latinx, working class, and seniors communities. At that time we were  a Latinx/e intergenerational coalition of community members, leaders, volunteers, and organizations in the Rogue Valley. We represented a mixed-status, working class community with deep roots here. Together we had decades of experience responding to exploitation, discrimination, environmental injustice, racism, poverty, and housing inequality. We are experts in our fields of supporting the economic liberation of Latino/a/x communities. 

Together we understood that for decades our communities have been the economic backbone for the largest economies in the Rogue Valley, yet by design, we have been left out of socioeconomic, environmental and political decisions that impact our everyday lives. 

In the midst of a global pandemic, on September 8th of 2020 the Almeda Fire scorched over 2,600 homes displacing our historically low-income, Latinx and Indigenous neighborhoods and revealing just how climate vulnerable, economically exploited and politically underrepresented our communities have been. A month after the Almeda Fire we found ourselves in a High School gym at a Northwest Seasonal Workers Association (NSWA) membership meeting with many families who were growing frustrated with the lack of answers from landlords and government officials. We sat there brainstorming solutions to our collective nightmare and in the middle of our meeting, one of our community elders who is now an ancestor, Don Leonso Solis, stood up and asked, “why don’t we just buy our neighborhoods back?

 That day was significant because we all remembered that we have the skills to create our own solutions and that we have each other. We also took power into our own hands and led a community-driven participatory action research project to understand the extent of our loss and damage. It has been the findings and the personal stories of our communities’ grief and Spirit of perseverance that have shaped our vision and grounded our work.

We are driven by the hope that we have the power to create something better than what we lost.

Keys To Recovery

Authentic Community Leadership & Representation

Cultures of Resilience and Sustainability

Social and Economic Solidarity

Preservation of Local Economy