Reibach donates song 'We Are Grand Ronde' to Tribe

06.02.2011 Ron Karten Culture, People, Tribal employees

The genesis of "We Are Grand Ronde" dates back to the mid-1990s when Tribal member Jan Michael Reibach had just moved to Grand Ronde - Bunnsville, to be exact - was living in poverty with only a guitar to his name and started working at Spirit Mountain Casino.

"Back then, we did not have much, but we were rich in family and culture because of our Tribe," Reibach posted recently on the Tribe's Facebook page. "This song is inspired from moving to the Reservation after suffering from two strokes. Since that time I have been blessed as a national recording artist with the resources to record and give this song to my Tribe."

Now well-known professionally in the Native American music world as Jan Michael Looking Wolf and a recipient of many major Native American Music Awards, Reibach resurrected "We Are Grand Ronde" and recorded it in a McMinnville recording studio with his usual producer Keith Sommers.

Tribal members Kenny Lewis and Marcella Norwest Selwyn also appear on the recording on guitar and vocals, respectively. Reibach paid for production expenses, which he prefers to keep confidential, and says that "nothing is owed or asked for."

Reibach gifted the song to the Grand Ronde Tribal Council on May 25, handing off a letter to Tribal Attorney Rob Greene that transfers and relinquishes 100 percent ownership of the song to the Tribe.

"After traveling the nation as a performer and my music reaching foreign country radio charts, I realize more than ever that it is such an honor to be a member of this Tribe," Reibach said in his letter. "You all serve as my inspiration for the music and the lifeway."

"It's truly a blessing," said Tribal Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy. "The talent that you have and that you choose to contribute to your people. You can feel the love that you have for all. I want to say thank you."

Kennedy said the Tribe will use it in many different ways, such as at gatherings, etc.

Tribal Council member Wink Soderberg said that the song "was so good" that he was going to save it for 40 years to play at his funeral.

The song can be listened to and downloaded for free at

Reibach's presentation also can be watched on the Tribal Web site by clicking on the May 25 Tribal Council meeting video starting at about the three-minute mark.

"In continuation of support for our Tribe and wishing us all 'One Heart,' " Reibach said in concluding his letter.