by Sean Cruz
Portland, Oregon— The Republic of South Korea is currently running its “Korea: Be inspired” campaign, promoting trade and tourism with television spots featuring ancient Hahoe Folk Village, a UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage Site.
This campaign is unfolding as UNESCO and its partners worldwide prepare to celebrate 40 years of natural and cultural site protection in 2012.
In the spot, narrator Charm Lee, President of the Korea Tourism Organization, speaks to the camera among several views of Hahoe Village:
“Korea embraces the future, but never forgets its traditional past, such as Hahoe Village, spectacularly well-preserved and picturesque, where members of the same families have lived for 600 years.
“Visiting this place is like taking a journey back in time, to a world where people lived the principles of harmony.
“The Confucian ideals are still very much part of everyday life here, and the residents of Hahoe Village welcome anyone who wants to experience the heritage and traditions that they have been keeping alive for many centuries.
“This UNESCO-listed national treasure is testament to the Korean philosophy of living in harmony with nature.
“The Korean culture of sharing, of respect and care, especially for guests of the house, also means that the most delicious treats are reserved for visitors.”
“Korea: Be inspired”, the message concludes.
The Korean Tourism Organization website celebrates Hahoe Village as UNESCO’s 10th inscribed World Heritage Site, and offers this description of the cultural treasure:
“Founded in the 14th-15th centuries, Hahoe and Yangdong are seen as the two most representative historic clan villages in the Republic of Korea. Their layout and location – sheltered by forested mountains and facing out onto a river and open agricultural fields – reflect the distinctive aristocratic Confucian culture of the early part of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The villages were located to provide both physical and spiritual nourishment from their surrounding landscapes. They include residences of the head families, together with substantial timber framed houses of other clan members, also pavilions, study halls, Confucian academies for learning, and clusters of one story mud-walled, thatched-roofed houses, formerly for commoners. The landscapes of mountains, trees and water around the village, framed in views from pavilions and retreats, were celebrated for their beauty by 17th and 18th century poets.”
With all due respect, Hahoe Village has nothing on Celilo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the Americas, where the same families have lived for thousands of years, profoundly in harmony with nature, iconically in harmony with nature, forever in harmony with nature, the core, the heart, the engine of one of the most important trading centers on the continent.
Over the last 150 years, however, since the coming of white Euro-American “pioneers”, seizing land and plundering resources in the name of Manifest Destiny, often at gunpoint and under the color of laws that are—and often were at the time—unconstitutional, Celilo has suffered under relentless, unceasing attack while its villagers have struggled to survive.
Under the 1848 Oregon Donation Land Act, which would “leave the whole of the most desirable portion (of Oregon) open to white settlers,” these aforementioned white settlers claimed two and a half million acres of the best land in Oregon before any treaties with the Indians were signed, and all for free.
And those treaties were “negotiated” under intense genocidal/ethnic-cleansing pressure by armed white vigilante groups and regular U.S. Army troops, who moved all the Indians they didn’t murder to remote reservations by forced marches.
This “whole of the most desirable portion” of Oregon included all of the Williamette and Rogue valleys and the entire length of the Columbia River, from where it winds into the state out of Washington all the way to the sea and down the coast beyond.
Yet the Indians remained at Celilo Falls, clung to the rocks, fished the river, lived at Celilo Village, countless generations back to the dawn of time….
In that narrow stretch of the Columbia Gorge, where White-Settlers-in-a-Hurry first dug a canal through Celilo Village, later White-Oregonians-in-a-Hurry drove rail lines and a highway, and still later an interstate freeway, through the village.
Still more White-Oregonians-in-a-Hurry and a predominantly White-Nation-in-a-Hurry built a dam and barge locks in the 1950’s at The Dalles and flooded Celilo Falls, destroying an economy as old as mankind in the process, deliberately interrupting a cultural continuum with the same willful spirit that characterized the seizures of Indian land across the state in the nineteenth century.
There can be a happy ending to this story, use your imagination…Be Inspired!
“Oregon Loves Dreamers,” so goes the state motto….
It’s time to put its money where its mouth is….
Let’s start our work by moving the rail lines and I-84 away from Celilo.
These were built by People-in-a-Hurry for People-in-a-Hurry, but many hundreds of millions of People around the world have different values, and we will have their support.
Friends of Celilo Falls is forming….
UNESCO celebrates 40 years of saving and protecting World Heritage Sites in 2012.
Celilo Falls and Celilo Village, the Columbia River tribes, and the salmon…truly a World Heritage natural and cultural landscape, well worth preserving into perpetuity, and under the same management as before, before Manifest Destiny and Lewis and Clark.