This oral history interview with James K. Logan was conducted by Toni R. Black Cloud in Portland, Oregon, over three sessions from April 12 to May 23, 2002, as part of the Radical Elders oral history series. The interview was conducted as part of a senior capstone class on history at Portland State University, with instructor Sandy Polishuk. The sound quality during session 2 is very poor, and during session 3, the tape recorder malfunctioned.
In the first interview session, conducted on April 12, 2002, Logan discusses his family background and early life on the Washington coast. He describes family life with an abusive, alcoholic father and shares his memories of the murder of his father in 1969. He discusses his experiences in the foster care system in Oregon, and describes how he became homeless at age 12. He speaks at length about his experience as a homeless teenager in Portland during the 1970s, describes the dangers and stress of that life, and talks about his experiences with police and the justice system as an unhoused person. He discusses his six-year incarceration in MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility, talks about his alcoholism and drug addiction, and discusses his later experiences being incarcerated in his 20s. He then speaks about his efforts to get sober, about his involvement with the American Indian Movement, and about his relationships with women.
In the second interview session, conducted on May 9, 2002, Logan speaks further about his experiences as a homeless teenager and talks about his work mentoring youth gang members. He speaks further about his involvement with the American Indian Movement, talks about connecting to his Native American heritage, and describes discrimination he experienced as a person of color. He talks about attending pow-wows.
In the third and final interview session, conducted on May 23, 2002, Logan continues to discuss attending pow-wows and talks about the spiritual significance of playing drums. He speaks further about getting sober in 1989, and also about his involvement with the American Indian Movement. He describes his experiences working in the sobriety program at Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest, Inc. He talks about his sister, who had also experienced homelessness as a teenager. He speaks about going through the 12-step sobriety program. He talks about his work history in roofing and construction, discusses racism he experienced, and speaks at length about his relationship with his children and their mothers. He closes the interview by talking about his civil rights activism, and about his health.