Grand Ronde dancers win five prizes at 2011 Contest Powwow

08.31.2011 Dean Rhodes Culture, Entertainment, Events

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One hundred-ninety competition dancers, almost 20 visiting drums and five in-the-money finishes for Grand Ronde Tribal dancers.

That's the short version.

There also was a traditional wedding and a 50th wedding anniversary party at the 2011 Grand Ronde Contest Powwow this year held at Uyxat Powwow Grounds near Fort Yamhill State Park.

Dances honored Elders who have walked on. The Tribe hosted guests from as far away as Costa Rica, and the Tribe's only member living in Vermont came for a visit.

Saturday afternoon for Grand Entry, dancers circled until they were three deep under the tent at Uyxat Powwow Grounds. The stands were so packed, not a seat was available. The temperature hit 95 degrees.

Tribal Culture Committee Chairwoman Kathleen Provost and committee member Carol Logan, both Tribal Elders, staffed the committee's vendor booth, back again with information about the international Peace & Dignity Journey, which is inspired by an ancient prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor coming together.

Willy Towner, a Siletz Tribal member with Vivette, Logan and LaBonte families in his bloodline, displayed traditional crafts and materials in the booth. He offered background information to the many people who came by.

"How does one learn to make a hat like this?" asked one visitor, referring to a cedar flat-topped hat.

"Find a good teacher," Towner told her.

The Culture Committee also staffed the wire recycling bins throughout the powwow grounds, recycling what they could and returning deposit bottles to add to the committee's budget.

"The support accounting crew, facilities crew, community and Tribal members who volunteered, the Grand Ronde Color Guard, Kristi DeLoe and her crew, preparing and serving meals during powwow - it takes all of us to make this a success," said Dana Ainam, a Tribal member and longtime organizer of the Contest Powwow.

Ainam went on to add her thanks to West Valley Fire District employees, Polk County Sheriff's Office personnel, ProStar staff, Susan Reyes and the valet group at Spirit Mountain Lodge "who are exceptional during powwow," running shuttle buses to the powwow, as well as Carter Tollas, Marketing production assistant, and Tribal member Jocelyn Huffman, sponsorship coordinator, both for Spirit Mountain Casino.

Patrolling the powwow grounds and Reservation this weekend were Luke Puerini, Jeremy Bailey, Bryan Fendall, John Koonce, Andrew Puerini, Brooks Wakeland, Jim Pinder and Richard Nelson. Members of the patrol group drove the engine in the parade at Fort Yamhill State Park on Saturday.

"We don't thank these people enough," said Ainam.

"Everything!" said Bonnie Mercier, a Tribal Elder and leader of this year's Royalty, in answering what's special about this year's group.

Grand Ronde 2011-12 Royalty Court includes Nakoosa Moreland, Senior Miss; Iyana Holmes, Junior Miss; Amelia Mooney, Little Miss; and princesses Amaryssa Mooney, Elizabeth Watson Croy and Makenzie Aaron, all members of the Tribe.

"It's definitely a teamwork group of girls," said Reina Nelson, a Tribal member and longtime Royalty leader. "They're all special girls and they all deserve it. They worked hard all year, travelling and representing their Tribe, and making their Tribe proud."

Community member Christina Mercier made crowns for Royalty.

"It's always an honor to bead the crowns for the Royalty," she said. "This year, I really wanted to make the girls proud to wear them. Holding back the sorrow of Dean's passing, I needed to put a lot of prayer into them. With the vision of the girls wearing them, I was able to complete the crowns just in the nick of time."

Nakoosa's mother, CeCe Kneeland, also a Tribal member, and her family invited Tribal members to a Prayer Song Giveaway on Saturday afternoon.

Also that afternoon, powwow leaders held a dance special in honor of the late Patricia Ike (Yakama), who passed on just before last year's powwow.

A dance honored Korea and Vietnam veteran Louie Pacheco, who passed on during powwow weekend.

That night, the Canoe Family held a full dress exhibition in the Tribal Plankhouse. Those who participated included Tribal members Kyoni Mercier, Andrea Grijalva, Kayla Grijalva, Kimberly Roybal, Santiago Atanacio, Nick Atanacio, Kalene Contreras, Kimberly Contreras, Bobby Mercier, Kai Kanim Mercier, Jacob Holmes, Tammy Fisher, Nakoa Mercier, Izaiah Fisher, SuSun Fisher, Cristina Lara, Carmella Rojas, Lisa Leno, Mataya Holmes, Tianna Holmes, Dana Leno-Ainam, Justice Ainam, Nya Ainam, Anesia Ainam, Janel Lara, Jenevieve Davis, James Davis, Alexis Contreras, Damien Findley, Chris Contreras, Beryle Contreras, Brian Krehbiel, Kailiyah Krehbiel, Ali Holsclaw, Zoey Holsclaw, Teri Mercier, Kaleigh Simi, Shannon Simi, Dominik Briant, Shannon Stanton, Lio Norwest and Shantell Ulestad.

At the Tribal Housing Authority booth, Housing Services Specialist Deborah Kroeker had the site plan for Elders' Housing Phase II available.

The Community Health Plan's Diabetomic Health Group tested 75 members from the Shasta Health Plan at the powwow over the weekend, said Wellness Program Manager Bonnie Mercier, wearing yet another hat at powwow.

Diabetomic tests read momentary and long-term blood sugar levels, but also provide information on overall kidney, pancreas, heart and liver functions in a convenient, easy-to-read report that can be shared with your primary care physician.

At the Wellbriety Movement booth, Tribal Elder Margo Ordaz reported that a local Recovery Talking Circle is almost ready to start providing services in Grand Ronde.

"We hope to be treating families by the first of the year," she said.

The group has temporary quarters in the Saddle Club building, where the Grand Ronde Food Bank used to be, beyond the community garden at the end of Bunnsville and over the little wooden bridge.

Related, the Portland-based Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest sponsored a tent hosting AA and NA meetings during the powwow.

The Indian Child Welfare program staffed a booth, as did B Beautiful Children's Foundation for Ethnic Hair and Skin.

Charlene McManis, the only Grand Ronde Tribal member living in Vermont, returned to where her father, former Tribal Elder Charles Sid Willing, grew up.

"This brings back all my dad's stories about living here," she said.

McManis was born in Grand Ronde, but moved to Los Angeles when federal funding became available in the 1950s for Tribal members mainstreaming in the cities.

"At the old age of 57," she said, she just earned her bachelor's degree in Cultural Studies from Union Institute in Montpelier, Vt. "I'm so proud of myself after all these years."

In the interim, however, McManis has been busy. She drew a comic strip, "Umpqua County," that ran in Indian Country Today and currently serves on the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs.

Tribal Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy honored her aunt, Tribal Elder Nora Kimsey, who is 102, as she does every year. Kimsey is the oldest living Grand Ronde Tribal member.

Tribal Vice Chairman Reyn Leno honored Steve Bobb Sr., also a member of the Tribal Council, who has been ill of late battling leukemia. He also honored the late Sen. Mark Hatfield, longtime friend of the Tribe, who walked on Aug. 7.

Tribal member Anthony Cook won a 19-inch flat screen television with a built-in DVD for selling the most raffle tickets - 290, said his mother, Tammy Cook.

"I told Tom last night, I don't feel like it's been 50 years," said Charlene LaChance, wife of Tribal Elder Tom LaChance. Daughter Toni LaChance-Stahl, also a Tribal member, planned their 50th wedding anniversary party at the Tribal Community Center on Saturday, the day after their actual wedding date.

The lasagna was top-notch, and Tom said he felt "the same as the first day I was married."

On Sunday, Tribal Elder Sharon Herron married Larry Wattier in a traditional ceremony in front of Tribal member Deitz Peters' tipi.

"We wanted our moms to be there," said Herron, noting that both are growing frail. Herron also spoke of "our love for each other" and her thanks to "a lot of people. We pulled this off without a hitch."

Juan Paul Landazuri and family from Costa Rica stopped by on Sunday.

"Very distinctive," he said in Spanish. "It's quite a surprise to know that this still happens in the U.S. I wasn't expecting this. I love the clothes, the regalia and the dancing." They bought a dreamcatcher and a drum to take home.

This year's Color Guard had Wayne Chulik (Tlinget) carrying the Eagle staff, with Chris Tinney (Lower Eastern Cherokee), Al Miller, Tribal member J.J. Lafferty and Norris Merrill also carrying flags.

Blackstone, from Alberta, Canada; Seekaskootch, from Saskatchewan, Canada; Indian Nation from Yakama; and Grand Ronde's own drum, The Woodsmen, served as host drums. Fourteen visiting drums also played.

"Drummers, sing your hearts out," said Tribal Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy. "Your message is very important to us."

They did, and dancers from the Grand Ronde Tribe responded with a message of their own: Tribal member Marcel Allen Jr. took first place in the Junior Boys Grass dance; Tribal member Leah Brisbois won first in the Women's Traditional dance; Tribal member Nakoosa Moreland won third place in the Teen Girls Jingle dance; Tribal member Makenzie Aaron won fifth place in the Junior Girls Traditional dance; and Tribal member Savannah Ingram won fifth in the Teen Girls Traditional.

Lara Ike was Head Judge and Freddie Ike Jr. was Arena director. They are both members of the Yakama/Rock Creek Wasco Tribes.

Hal Eagletail (Tsuu T'ina Nation in Alberta) was master of ceremonies. He has performed in this capacity across the Northwest over the last 22 years.

2011 Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Contest Powwow winners

Junior Girls Traditional: Decole Wilson, Klamath/Navajo, first; Oteskwebeeksaki Shebala, Blackfeet/Navajo, second; Kaylee Johnson, Paiute/Haida, third; Denae Smith, Yakama/Navajo, fourth; and Makenzie Aaron, Grand Ronde, fifth.

Junior Girls Fancy: Aurelia Johnson, Paiute/Haida, first; Gracie Ponyah, Lakota/Hopi/Dine, second; Autumn Sky Johnson, Warm Springs, third; Carissa Jackson, Klamath/Modoc, fourth; and Maya Moling, Kechua/Mesheeka, fifth.

Junior Girls Jingle: Cherokee Eagletail, Northern Dene Canada, first; Nizhoni Tallman, Yakama, second; Leilonnie Wilson, Klamath, third; Tia Butler, Siletz/Yurok/Northern Cheyenne, fourth; and Jocelyn Hernandez, Siletz, fifth.

Junior Boys Grass: Marcel Allen Jr., Grand Ronde, first; P-Nutt Ponyah, Lakota/Hopi/Dine, second; Sky Smith, Yakama/Navajo, third; Hawk Squetimkin, Colville, fourth; and Robert Sampson, Warm Springs, fifth.

Junior Boys Fancy: Evan Ponyah, Lakota/Hopi/Dine, first; and Jonathan Perdiguerra, Apache/Shawnee, second.

Junior Boys Traditional: Aiden Ponyah, Lakota/Hopi/Dine, first; Bobby Butler, Siletz/Yurok/Northern Cheyenne, second; Isaac Butler, Siletz/Yurok/Northern Cheyenne, third; Devyn Leigh, Blackfeet/Cherokee, fourth; and Gus Garcia, Siletz, fifth.

Teen Girls Jingle: Camille Ponyah, Lakota/Hopi/Dine, first; Destiny Buck, Yakama/Wanapum, second; Nakoosa Moreland, Grand Ronde, third; Nixa Rice, Northern Cheyenne, fourth; and Courtney Molimer, Mesheeka, fifth.

Teen Girls Fancy: Numu Wockmetooah, Comanche, first; Ivory Gardner, Nez Perce/Spokane, second; Destiny Summers, Wasco/Klamath, third; Mia Peacock, no Tribal affiliation listed, fourth; and Kateri Whitehead, Siletz/Colville, fifth.

Teen Girls Traditional: Kelly Ponyah, Lakota/Hopi/Dine, first; Raedawn Wahl, Klamath, second; Melissa Moccasin, Lakota, third; Keteri Howtopat, Yakama/Oneida, fourth; and Savannah Ingram, Grand Ronde, fifth.

Teen Boys Grass: Desmond Madera, Blackfeet/Colville, first; Nathan Norwest, Klamath, second; Tyrone Sitting Eagle, Siksika, third; Cody West, Karak/Potawatomi, fourth; and Deon Smart Luit, Yakama, fifth.

Teen Boys Fancy: Manny Totus, Yakama, first; Davey Madera, Blackfeet, second; Garrett Begay, Yakama, third; Jared Jackson, Klamath, fourth; and Sheldon Jishie, Lukaachukai, fifth.

Teen Boys Traditional: SanPoil Whitehead, Colville/Siletz, first; Garyson Johnson, Warm Springs, second; Josef Perdiguerra, Apache/Shawnee, third; Logan Butler, Colville/Siletz, fourth; and Tristen Eagletail, Northern Dene Canada, fifth.

Women's Golden Age: Wilma Buck, Yakama/White Swan, first; Gwen Point, Sto:lo, second; Bernadine Robertson, Yakama/Walla Walla, third; Leona Ike, Warm Springs/Yakama, fourth; and Rose Starr Peters, Shoshone/Ute, fifth.

Men's Golden Age: Charles Tailfeathers, Cree/Blackfeet, first; Greg Red Elk, Sioux, second; Albert Summers, Wasco, third; Don Moccasin, Nakota, fourth; and Lee Sorrell Horse, Northern Cheyenne, fifth.

Women's Fancy: Crystal Howell, Paiute/Lummi, first; Aggie Meninick, Yakama, second; Shaneesha Mountainsheep, Dine/Crow, third; Christine Point, Sto:lo, fourth; and Arielle Bitsuie, Lukachukai, fifth.

Women's Jingle: Paula Shebala, Blackfeet/Choctaw, first; Jodie Starlight, Cree/Tsuu Tina, second; Kayla Johnson, Warm Springs/Lummi, third; Norene Sampson, Warm Springs, fourth; and Julie Johnson, Paiute/Shoshone, fifth.

Women's Traditional: Leah Brisbois, Grand Ronde, first; Sisiley Scott, Warm Springs/Sioux, second; Mallory Jones, Navajo, third; Celeste Nunes, Yupiit, fourth; and Cheryl Stinnett, Kiowa/Wasco, fifth.

Men's Grass: Kelsey Haywahe, Wasco/Assiniboine, first; Colton Tohannie, Shoshone/Navajo, second; Tyson Wahchumwah, Yakama/Nez Perce, third; Saul Jurado, Siletz, fourth; and Washie Squetimkin, Colville, fifth.

Men's Fancy: Adrian George, Yakama, first; Rod Begay, Yakama, second; Aaron Wright, Klamath, third; Freeland Jishie, Lukachukai, fourth; and Stanson Yazzi, Navajo, fifth.

Men's Traditional: Irvin Tso, Navajo/Dine, first; Sheldon Shebala, Navajo/Dine, second; Bryon Adams, Yakama, third; Colin Chief, Saskatchewan, Canada, fourth; and Mike Ponyah, Hopi/Dine, fifth.