Yesterday Matters: how to tell Beaverton’s complex history

Yesterday Matters: how to tell Beaverton’s complex history



A remix to this Woodie Guthrie banger is long overdue: “This land is not your land. This land is not my land. From Gabrieliño (indigenous name for Los Angeles) to Manahatta Island (indigenous name for New York City). From Tch-Léh-Dûñ (Redwood Forest) to Karankawa (Gulf of Mexico), this land was conquered for you and me.”

The Kalapuya of the Tualatin (name of a collection of related but independent villages that spoke a similar Kalapuyan dialect) are the natives of this land that we claim as home. Beaverton Downtown, the settlers that the streets are named after, and the ensuing global diaspora communities are benefactors of the indigenous ancestors that harvested this land. Thousands of indigenous tribes were killed off by disease-spreading “explorers” (euphemism for colonizer). These white men are still romanticized and lionized in our history books, while their violence towards indigenous people, including women and children, is trivialized at best and intentionally erased at worst.

The Beaverton Downtown Association (BDA) mission includes historical preservation of downtown buildings. While the structural maintenance of that history has been prioritized over the years, the storytelling element of historical preservation has been wanting. That history starts with land acknowledgement and traverses through white settlement, black exclusionary laws, and the current inequities that persist in the status quo.

Last month, the BDA planned a historical downtown tour that got attendees from various backgrounds, age groups, and occupations. We stopped by residential homes, some over a century old, and visited our favorite Downtown businesses. We visited Binary Brewing on Broadway; the owner provided a behind-the-scenes tour at how beer is made. We stopped at Ur Mediterranean and learned about an Iraqi family’s journey to the United States and their success in opening a restaurant within Beaverton’s Historical District. The tour ended with participants installing solar-powered lights on Washington Avenue.

Whatsoever passeth over the Earth and whatsoever existeth therein for Its use, yet doth not belong unto the Earth – Chief Seattle

In Community,

~ Kamil Khan


Beaverton Downtown Association

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