Tribal Government & News
Letters to the Editor - March 15, 2012
Dear Smoke Signals:
Let me begin by saying "thank you" to everyone reading this letter. Allow me to share my heartfelt gratitude.
Every day we experience and express kindness, happiness, devotion, pride and many other good moments. Whether it is a smile from a child, a loving remark from a spouse or an achievement at work, we all have our good moments.
Moments such as these are valuable and we should remember them always. Every now and then, good moments come together from the efforts of many people, and they manage to have an effect on one young person. Such is the case for my daughter, Hattie.
As a result of efforts from many people, Hattie and my family were granted an once-in-a-lifetime privilege. Hattie was selected to be a central character for a short biography on Nickelodeon Junior's (Nick Jr.) "Kids Around the World," which is a series of short videos about children from all parts of the world.
In October 2010, we were visited by producers, directors, writers and numerous audio/video specialists for a two-day shoot. One year and four months after shooting, Hattie's short video just recently aired on Nick Jr. We were all so happy to see a little story about Hattie.
I want to take a moment of everyone's time to say thank you for all your support, assistance, devotion, inquiries and friendliness regarding Hattie's video. There are many friends and family who have given Hattie guidance and support, assisting her to be a young person who is happy and outgoing. I can't even begin to identify those who are so special to Hattie and my family. By simply reading this letter, you are indirectly involved with Hattie's video by you being a member of this community, a contributor to the activities within this community or by being an interested reader of activities affecting this community. You have all done so much to make Hattie's life a joy for her to experience and share with the world.
As I have said many times before, "It truly takes a community to raise a child." Thank you all so much.
John Mercier and Family
(Editor's note: The video can be viewed by visiting www.nickjr.com/video/?timeOnly=true&videoid=114955 .)
Dear fellow Tribal Members:
It has been on my heart and mind to share with you a short story about our Tribe. For nearly 30 years, 1954-1983, the federal and state governments did not recognize our Tribe. It was a dark time in our history where we lost so much of our culture and identity. Tribal families and members were forced to move away and our tight-knit community was scattered but not completely lost.
In the early 1970s, a vision was birthed to have our Tribe restored. There were a few of us who worked tirelessly. We expended our own resources and time finding our scattered Tribe so we could show Congress that we still existed. I remember one time when I had driven to Warm Springs to meet with their Tribal Council and other Grand Ronde people and lost my purse. We ended up picking up cans along the roadside and cashing them in for gas money so we could get home, back to Grand Ronde.
It was hard work that required us to come together and unite with a common goal. I was not alone; there were many who got involved and we all struggled together to see our Tribe restored. Because of these many efforts, our Tribe was restored, re-recognized and we now have all that we do; a Tribe, an identity, Tribal lands, health benefits, per capita, education for our youth, retirement for us Elders and many other benefits.
It was critically important for each of us to get involved. It was our duty to work for the Restoration of our Tribe and if we had not made the necessary commitment we would not enjoy the Tribe we have today. We, as Tribal members, need to come together as one to resolve our enrollment issues for the path toward our future Tribal members.
It is once again critically important for the membership to respond to this call to action. As a fellow Tribal member and Tribal Elder, I ask that every Grand Ronde Tribal member, that YOU now make the same commitment to get involved and do the following:
- Register to vote in Tribal elections with the Grand Ronde Election Board;
- Vote in Grand Ronde Tribal Council elections;
- Register and vote in any BIA constitutional elections.
It's your duty. It's your responsibility. I fear without your vote and your voice our Tribe could once again cease to exist. Just like we worked for Restoration for the benefit of our children, our children's children and great-grandchildren. I implore you to act now for your children and all future descendants.
To view my short video and to download a Signature Verification Form, please go to this site http://wp.me/p1ia2z-2k or scan the QR Code with your smart phone's QR code reader.