Tribal Government & News

Tribal Council candidate statements

08.23.2013 Ron Karten Tribal Council, Elections

Hello my fellow Tribal members,

It is with deep humility that I want to thank you so very much for giving me the opportunity and honor of serving our tribe for the past six years as your council member for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Although I do not feel the need to go into my ancestry, I do however want you to never forget how very blessed I was to have been adopted by my grandparents in 1951. Through the difficulties of adoption they faced a two-year struggle with the State of Oregon, due to their advanced age, in true Grandparent tradition their resolve never wavered. My Grandmother taught me to care for others and to have compassion. My Grandfather taught me the rewards of hard work and patience.

In my sixty-four years I have learned many valuable lessons spent serving this great nation as a proud Marine. I worked hard on our family farm, was married at 18, a father at the age of twenty. I have pushed the limits of my own mortality multiple times some of which was the result of my own foolish and stupid behavior. Some from my many close calls in Vietnam by some means escaping it all forever changed but somehow untouched. To my ongoing fight with serious health issues the latter being Leukemia, a word no one wants to hear. I believe that no one can be that close to death and walk away. No one can be that insanely lucky unless we have a purpose why we are still here, that we are set upon a predetermined path that we are unaware of.

Due to the many prayers of my people, family, and friends I have become stronger each day. What does this all mean? My life experiences have prepared me to handle extreme circumstances and situations, to remain calm and rational. A trait needed when decision-making has the potential for immediate negative reactions. I originally ran for council because of a feeling, a call to duty to help my tribe anyway that I could. I wanted to contribute and influence our younger tribal members in a positive way. To make use of my experiences from what put me on this pathway that has helped facilitate my success. To help motivate our members to be and stay self sufficient, and productive while achieving the goals they have in life.

Life is passing at a very rapid pace, set your goals soon and take the appropriate steps that will get you there. Being a council member of a tribe in today's times comes with challenges. We are of one large family woven together by the blood of our ancestors. Never is there a one-size-fits-all decision when it comes to our members. Decisions on issues that arise have to be based on the information supplied from all sides and a thoughtful, unbiased, rational decision is needed so the outcome will be beneficial for all.

We all have so much to be thankful for, in a world where half the population lives on two dollars a day. Dealing with insurmountable challenges such as instability, inequality, and in-sustainability with not only national but also a global economic down turn. It becomes a day-to-day battle to stay on track so that the changing climate does not cast a shadow over our children and grandchildren's futures. I just want to continue to contribute what I can to our tribe and our people. I love my tribe for all that they have given me.

All the best and much love

Steve Bobb Sr. #38

Hello my name is Kalene  Larose Contreras. My great grandparents were Jack Langley and Alice Quenelle Langley. My grandparents were Roy Langley and Delia LaRose Langley. My mother is Beryle LaRose Langley Contreras. My father is Angel Contreras. I was born and raised in San Francisco California. When I first came up here in 1997 my goal was to run for Tribal Council within 10 years. It is now been 16 years and I figure it is time to run and get my ideas out there to the tribal members. A little something about myself, I have 2 children, Raymond and Lea and I have 4 grandchildren. My overall goal is to work for my tribe and give back to the community and help my fellow tribal members. I am very good at organization, helping people, and fighting for what's best for the tribe and our future. I have always been taught to help others when I can and treat others how I want to be treated. One of my goals is to address the enrollment issue and the health and wellness of elders try to set up programs that maybe one day reach all our members near and far. Another goal is to see what we can do for our youth around here on the Rez maybe get a recreation center going for them to use all the time. I remember growing up in SF and we had the Indian Center where we could go to play pool and ping pong we use to take ballet there too. I also believe in keeping our culture alive, I have been a part of canoe family for the past 7 years, I have always been involved in pow wow, sweats, and other indian events. While growing up I was a kid when the native Americans took over Alcatraz island in SF and my mom had us over there every week-end, making sure we were involved and being a part of history. I graduated from Mission High School in 1982 and attended SF City College for one  year in 1983/84 and then began my working career with the US Postal services in 1986 to 1997. When I came to Oregon my goal was to work for the tribe or at SMC I have work at both for the past 16 years. I have also attended Chemeketa Community College taking classes. I have worked in Social Services for approximately 6 years I keep coming back because I love helping my people and giving back to the tribe and community. In 1956 on a relocation program my mom Beryle relocated to SF to attend Beauty School, now 41 years later I have relocated to Grand Ronde to raise my kids and work for my tribe. My grandpa Roy was secretary on Tribal Council at one time a long time ago, I would like to follow in his foot steps and do the same. I strongly believe that we have our ancestors in our heart and souls and they are guiding me in this chapter in my life. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at 971-599-8189 or e-mail me at


Kalene Contreras Roll #3286

Klahowya (Greetings) Tribal Members

I am Jack Giffen Jr. and some of you may know me as Ike. I have served you on Tribal Council for three terms. I am asking each of you for your support in this 2013 Tribal Council election, it will be my forth and final term serving you.

I am descended from Abraham Hudson and Maude (Warren) Hudson, John Houck and Frances (Leno) Houck (Porter), DeWalt Houck and Arvella (Hudson) Houck and Jack Giffen Sr. and Arlene (Houck) Giffen (Beck).

Here are some of the issues the Council will need to address in future.

Endowments: Protect the corpus of each endowment for at least seven generations. Plan to use a portion of the growth in the budgeting process to help fund the program for which it was established, helping to relieve the pressure on casino gaming dollars, using the endowments as a form of economic development. 

Per Capita: Develop a plan in the budget process that allows for increasing the Per Capita percentage to twenty five percent, as requested by the voice of the membership. In the budgeting process is how this will be accomplished to ensure the level of Per Capita will be maintained.

Cultural Resources: Our Tribe has many cultural resources, from the language, elder recordings, baskets and other artifacts. The museum project to house and display all the resources is in phase 1, future expansion should come from fund raising and donations not just Tribal dollars. I feel Tribal dollars should be used to expand Tribal member participation in the cultural resources programs. 

Enrollment Audit: The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde being a Self-Governed Tribe has an obligation to maintain complete and accurate records. The Tribal Council has an obligation to all the membership through the Council Oath of Office to act on any findings of incomplete membership records. As one Council member I also feel it is our duty to explore language for the constitution that the membership can vote on that will help correct the injustices that occurred as a result of past enrollment practices.

Health Coverage: Continue to explore options to save Tribal dollars, as well as maintaining the quality of health coverage. Working to educate the membership to use the tribal membership plan as a secondary payer if other insurance is offered at their workplace or state and federal programs are offered.

Sovereignty: Keep working to protect our treaty rights in our ceded lands, ongoing education for all local, state, and federal governments and agencies on CTGR's treaty's covering the Willamette valley, the Umpqua valley and the Rogue valley. Working to get the tribes reservation bill through congress this year, amending the process to take land into trust and moving it into reservation status.

In closing I would like to say thank you to all the tribal members for the opportunity to serve as your Voice on Tribal Council. My promise to each of you is that I will educate myself on the issues that come before the Council and cast my vote based on valid information and review what the impact will be on each member. I renew my commitment to be a good steward of Tribal resources, Council work hours and Tribal meetings. Continuing to review my travel, maintaining a high level of benefit to the Tribe. I look forward to serving you on our Tribal Council. The past and present leadership has guided our tribe to many accomplishments over the past thirty years that all of us should be proud of.

Thank you all Jack Giffen Jr

Roll # 182


Fellow Tribal Members,

What is Grand Ronde to me? That's no trick question, but one every Council candidate must dig deep and ask themselves before deciding to be put in a position of leadership.

To outsiders, Grand Ronde is a dot on the map, another town one blows by en route to the Oregon coast. Knowledgable outsiders will remember there is a Tribe out here, and owns Spirit Mountain Casino. Odds are they are more familiar with the casino than the Tribe. I'll wager many gaming Tribes face similar confusion.

Grand Ronde is many things to me. I knew Grand Ronde in my youth, a place much smaller, where everybody knew everybody else, and the idea of Tribal restoration might have been considered far-fetched. People would have thought you crazy if you told them a large state-of-the-art gaming complex could one day dominate the landscape off of Highway 18, or a Governance Center or IHS Clinic occupy the old hay fields off Grand Ronde Rd.

Grand Ronde is a place I chose to leave to pursue a better life in southern California. I returned more than a decade ago to a community transformed, for the better, but very different from my childhood. The friends and relations of my youth had grown up, settled into careers, married, had kids, and even grandkids. Grand Ronde is a true community, where we have all matured and faced challenges together.

I won't write my biography here nor wax nostalgic about simpler, more innocent times. But I share this hoping you understand how much this community and Tribe have meant to me. Even during two decades in Los Angeles working in the medical field, my life and career have been forever linked with this Tribe. With your vote, I hope to take the next step.

We know there has been unrest within the general membership, a dissatisfaction with the present leadership and overall direction of the Tribe. The discontent is not unjustified, but I won't engage in the usual Council-bashing. Truthfully, I believe most of the Council are doing their darndest, but their toughest obstacle is distraction. They are so busy tripping over one another or engaging in petty battles that the big picture is often forgotten. Sadly, that big picture is us, the general membership.

Over the next several years, I truly believe the Tribe will be tested unlike it has been tested in a long time. In Oregon we have a Portland private casino initiative that will probably return in 2014. Furthermore a possible competitor in the Cowlitz Tribe of Washington is poised just north of Portland. The recession shows little sign of letting up in the near future, and costs of providing services to our membership increase annually. 

Long story short, our future is uncertain. It is nothing like Termination, but still, tough decisions will be necessary, unpopular ones even, and now more than ever our Tribe needs stable, objective, and strong leadership. We need people unafraid to face criticism, who recognize that our general membership is tired of empty campaign promises of change. We deserve new ways of governance, of doing business, and new approaches to recurring problems. We need to reform our government, we need to modernize our Tribal laws and Tribal Constitution. Mandates from the membership, like term limits, need to be honored.

I don't promise revolution. But as somebody whose life has been forever bound to Grand Ronde, I promise this: Elect me, and you will notice a difference.

Thank you,

Denise Harvey #1874

Phone: 503.577.2860



Greetings Tribal Members:
I am Ed Larsen. I have previously served four terms on our Tribal Council. I am writing to ask for your support in my campaign for election to a fifth term of service to you. In the past it has been an honor to serve our Tribe, and I would be honored to have another opportunity to serve our Tribe.
Our Tribe is facing many challenges and at the same time we are blessed with unlimited potential and opportunity to solve our problems and continue to increase our resources and services to the membership. Our greatest resource, of course is ourselves. With strong leadership and vision on our Tribal Council, our members can overcome any challenge we face. I know this because I have seen our courage and creativity bring us through hard time. I have seen our hard work and commitment result in a stronger community for all Tribal members.
In pride myself on relationships  and being a man of his word. During my service to our Tribe I was part of a great team of not only fellow Council members, but also a strong staff that built strong relationships with our bordering counties, state and federal officials. These relationships are critical because of our sovereign status. We must continue to work effectively and maintain our governing to government relationships with all jurisdictions.
My previous record on council reflects my strong belief in progress, unity, fairness, and peace.
I hope in this election we can all remember who we are as Indian people and remain proud. I will strive to protect the assets we have and pursue any viable opportunities that arise.
I am humbly asking for your support in this election. Please contact me with your suggestions, questions, concerns, and ideas. We are all family, most related by blood. I come from the Norwest and Riggs family and would be honored to represent you in this election.
Yours Truly
Ed Larsen-roll 414

Projects most Proud of while serving on Tribal Council
Elder and Disability Pension Plan New Housing
Opening Tribal Clinic   Per Capita Distribution Plan
Opening New Education Complex Burial Assistance Plan
Tribal Endowments    Self Regulation of Casino
Down Payment Assistance  Health Insurance for All

My Priorities
Increase Communication with  Economic Development
Support Youth Programs   Culture, Language Preservation
Prevention and Intervention  Support All Staff
Increase Services to Membership Invest in Our Community
Develop Programs for   Invest in what works
Single Parents

PO Box 153, Grand Ronde, OR 97347
Phone 503-508-1379

Dear Tribal Members,

My name is Lonnie Leno and I am again running for a position on Tribal Council. I am the son of Orville and Ramona (McKnight) Leno and the grandson of David and Emma (Tom) Leno and Tom and Elvira (Langley) McKnight. I have been married to my wife Tammy for 36 years. We have four children, Bri, Brandy, Brad & Brett, and eight grandchildren, Iyanna, Isaiah, Taylor, Gage, Sammie, Gunner, Evie and Aleana. As you are all aware my brother, Reyn, has served on Tribal Council for the past 17 years. While we are brothers and while I respect his work and commitment to the membership, I am my own person, and as anyone that has worked with me here at the Tribe can tell you, we have differing opinions and I have my own ideas and abilities I will bring to this position. 

One of the main reasons I am running for Council is to give back to the Tribe. I grew up in Grand Ronde during termination and witnessed first-hand the transition to where we are today. As Tribal members we receive many benefits and our people have had our quality of life improved simply because we are Tribal members.  I have often wondered when and how I would try to give back, and I believe now is the time and being on Tribal Council is the how.

With respect to Tribal benefits, I believe all Tribal benefits are important, Per Capita, Health Insurance, Elder's/Disability/Veterans Pension, Education, Housing and our Natural Resources Program. I believe that by working together as a Tribe, we can strike the correct balance that permits all of these to continue for Tribal Members for many years to come. 

The following is a list of qualities that I know I can bring to the Council:

  • Honesty and Integrity. As a Tribal Program Manager for over 20 years, I have learned it is vitally important to provide a work environment where employees can speak freely when there are disagreements within the department, or if they have an opportunity to bring an idea forward that they believe has merit. I also believe, for multiple reasons, this has been difficult for some Council members. My many years of management skills have allowed me to develop the ability to put aside personal differences and do the job that I was hired to do. 
  • Dependability and Self Responsibility. I have held numerous positions throughout my 23 years of employment with the Tribe and I have always had an excellent attendance record despite difficulties and hardships that come along with everyday life.
  • Respect. I have a great deal of respect for the office of Tribal Council. I believe the position of a Tribal Council member is not to serve their own interests or just the interests of the people that support them, but to serve all Tribal members and that is what I intend to do if you vote me as a member of your Tribal Council.
  • Trustworthiness: I believe trust is essential to any relationship. I will work to gain your trust and work even harder to never lose it.      

As most of you are aware, I ran for Tribal Council last year. What I learned from my initial attempt is that I needed to become more available and reach outside my comfort zone in order to introduce myself to you. This year I intend to do just that. You can find me on Facebook, or you can reach me at 503-474-8399. 

Thank you,

Lonnie Leno

My name is Cory Meneley; I am very proud and honored to be nominated as a candidate for the 2013 election for Tribal Council. I understand the responsibility and commitment it takes for this position and I will do my best to uphold the traditions and values for the people of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

I was born and raised here in the Grand Ronde area, graduating Willamina High School in 1990. I worked as a Recreation Aide for the tribe in '89, and a Forestry Aide in '90 for the Tribe. In October of '91 I went into the Marine Corps going through Boot camp, Combat Readiness Training and School for Subsistence Supply Chief and Business Management and Accounting. I graduated first in my class and was meritoriously promoted to Lance Corporal out of school. I was then assigned to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, CA where I had the pleasure to manage a multimillion dollar budget for the biggest Mess Hall in the Marine Corps. Which also was in the Guinness Book of Records for feeding the most people in the least amount of time? Also there I was assigned to the most prestige's Mess Hall in the Marine Corps and was nicknamed Mr. Fix It for overcoming daily obstacles and challenges that we were faced with and resolving personnel issues. I then got orders to Guantanamo Bay Cuba in '94 to the worst Mess Hall in the Marine Corps as to reputation. While I was there I was asked to be an OJT Sniper for the Company because I had the highest rifle score and would be tasked with shooting 200 rounds every Friday with my rifle and to be trained by two former Recon Staff NCO's. After a year in Cuba I returned to California being stationed at MCAS Tustin and MCAS El Toro to finish out my term on active duty as a Sargent in the Marine Corps in October '96.

I then worked for Spirit Mountain Casino in the Receiving Dept. and worked my way up to Shift Supervisor for Table Games and Poker Supervisor. I moved on from there to gain experience in the Natural Resources Dept. with the Tribe working my way up to qualifications for Crew Boss, and Engine Boss. I worked in the Mentorship Program with the Accounting Dept. and Natural Resources. I then gained experience Training and Supervising Table Games and Poker at Three Rivers Casino. Later I returned to Spirit Mountain Casino as a Shift Supervisor and I am now, as you know, trying to campaign for a seat on Tribal Council.

My Family and I appreciate all and any support given in this campaign while running for Tribal Council, and to thank everyone for their help.


Cory Meneley


Dear Fellow Tribal Members:

I am asking for your vote for the up coming 2013 tribal council election. For the last decade, tribal council candidates have addressed the "enrollment" issue. Many previous candidates who have been elected to tribal coouncil have stated a desire to "heal" broken families and improve the enrollment requirements. The results have been restricting constitutional language for amendment which only turns out to be complicated and confusing. So what are we actually hearing? In speaking with other tribal members, there is a lot of concern regarding enrollment. Let's face it folks. The Enrollment issue is "messy" indeed. I do not have the total answer on hand. I don't have the magic wand fixing this. I can only promise you that I will look into this issue to pursue a fair and equitable outcome.

In previous elections, I have heard many candidates spout off about "transparency" and "accountability." In my personal opinion, the tribal council ignores both of these. First of all, During the day time the council gathers in a conference room to discuss council meeting agenda items. The end result is when there is an on the record council meeting on Wednesday evenings, all agenda items are already decided on, with little or no discussion prior to any vote, regardless of the importance of the decision. Furthermore, the items listed are often vague often making it unclear on just what the council is voting. Now how can one call this transparency? If I am voting on any controversial item, I will explain my reason on the record. Realize it or not, each year, the tribal council is responsible for million plus dollar expenditures. Money is yet another topic of interest to me. In early 2013, the tribal council voted to eliminate approximately 15 job positions, one of the reasons being saving money, touting the fact they saved 1.25 million dollars. Yet shortly thereafter, I find out that the tribe allocated 2 million dollars to convert the old Grand Ronde elementary school into a museum. Now tell me just how is the tribe saving money?

Another thing. The tribal constitution requires that five (5) members are needed for a quorum so the tribal council can conduct business. In the past, the council has allowed that other council members be "present" by phone while on travel status. In March of 2012, I voiced by feelings about this, saying it was totally irresponsible and unaccountable. Yet it has been done since! Tribal members, this is wrong. What if a council member being "present" on the phone votes on a decision regarding expenditures of substantial sums of money? Is this accountable? Not in my books! What if there were only 3 council members in the meeting room and there were 2 other council in separate locations present by phone? The tribal council needs to require that 5 members be physically present in the council meeting in order to conduct business. Folks, I have yet to see any other government do this.

I would be honored for your vote this election.

Mark Mercier

Roll #551

Fellow Tribal members my name is Brent Merrill. I am the son of Tribal Elder Donna Stronach (Bean) and the Grandson of the late Fremond Bean.

My Great Grandmother was Margaret Bean (Maggie Menard) and the late Merle Holmes was a family mentor to me and taught me a great deal about the Tribe as I was growing up and when I began my career working with the Tribe.

My Great, Great, Great Grandfather was legendary Tribal leader Joseph Shangretta and my Uncle Tom Bean was a well-known advocate of the people of our Tribe and especially those members who chose sobriety as their path. If I achieve a spot on council this year I will do my best to carry on his good work of helping people in a tangible way throughout our community.

I was fortunate enough as a young college student to be recruited to leave school and come to work for our Tribe back in the 1980s. At the Tribe's request, I left school to set up the Tribe's Newspaper and Public outreach programs and the Tribe's Natural Resources program back when there were only 12 employees in the entire Tribal administration. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to work for many Tribes throughout the northwest and along the way managed to pick up enough college credits to match the necessary requirements for my Bachelor's Degree which I hope to pull all together soon. The sacrifice to leave school early and not get my degree was outweighed by the unique opportunity to work for my own Tribe at a crucial time in our community's development. It was an honor to watch the way our leaders conducted themselves back in those days and that is one of the main reasons I hope to achieve a seat on the council in this election - I hope to bring back those ideals that made our Tribe successful before we had anything. Those values can be balanced with an educated, strategized effort to bring our Tribe into the modern day in our economic development efforts and our ability to achieve harmony within our rolls and within our families.

The desire to heal split families and create opportunities for our young people and our young parents to get ahead in life is the driving force behind our campaign this year. As a family, it is our belief that the young people in this Tribe can decide this election along with the support of the local population and the Elders in our community that have given their credibility to our campaign. Together, we can actually bring about change in a positive way, especially if we unite our efforts to bring about that change. If elected this year, I would use my experience and contacts throughout the nation to bring about new and diverse economic development ideas that are not currently being pursued or even thought of by current leadership. My background working for Tribes both as a staff member all the way up to the executive level to my work as a consultant both in Indian Country and in the dominant culture I believe makes me a worthy candidate to bring about the kind of economic change that would potentially be meaningful for our people.

Lastly, I would begin to work immediately on restoring our relationships with our sister Tribes throughout the state, the northwest and throughout Indian Country. We used to be held up as a model community for other Tribes to look up to. Together, I believe we can begin to get that good reputation back as a Tribe.

My name is Ed Pearsall. My Grandmother was Adaline Menard-Haller. My mother is Bette Haller-Garrett. I have four children and eight grandchildren.
As many of you may remember, I served on Tribal Council from 1994-2004. During that time, I was Tribal Council Liaison to the Education Committee and acted as Tribal Council Secretary for four years. I have always stood strong in my beliefs, even when it was not the popular thing to do. I believed then, as I do now, that as elected Council, I am a steward of your tribal assets. Profits do not belong to Council. They do not belong to department managers. All of the tribe's revenue, including Casino profits, belongs to you. It is Council's responsibility to make decisions about your money along lines that the General Membership has helped establish.  
While in office, I supported funding the endowments for education, Elder's retirement, and health care. When I learned that Tribal Council had somehow managed to get around the unanimous vote required to spend interest from the endowments, I became concerned. In my opinion, the interest earned on the endowment should be reserved for periodic cost of living increases to Elder pensions or Elder activities. It should not be used to fund other programs. This is one decision, I want to revisit.
I was on Tribal Council when the question of per-capita as a benefit for Membership was first debated. I am still a strong supporter of per-capita because it is a benefit that all members, no matter where they live, can enjoy. I believe the most equitable way to fairly distribute tribal assets is through per-capita and that it should be distributed at a minimum of 25%. 
In order to achieve a healthy amount of per-capita, even at a 25% distribution rate, we need to manage government spending. I believe in a lean government, financial planning, and accountability at all levels of government starting at the Council level. I will be asking department managers to bring forward well thought through three year plans designed to help programs run efficiently. Grants can be very helpful in financing a program, but we need to be very careful because at some point they expire and tribal government can be caught unprepared and simply unable to maintain the program at full cost.
For the first time in the history of the tribe, we are undertaking a full scale enrollment audit that is sure to have far reaching effects. Given the serious consequences of this task, I am aware of the need to carefully, but diligently enforce enrollment rules and regulations throughout the process. When the audit is complete, I will support any effort to bring forward a Constitutional Amendment that would reverse the "parent on the roll at the time you were born" requirement.
While on Council, I was fortunate to be involved in the opening of Spirit Mountain Casino. After leaving Council in 2004, I was employed with the Casino for five years working table games and marketing. Through this experience, I learned firsthand about casino operations and Indian gaming.   
As you may know, profits from the Casino have declined over the last few years, but the Casino continues to be our primary revenue source. In the future, I want to financially diversify by purchasing land in highly populated areas for development and investment purposes.
In closing, my former experience on Tribal Council and at Spirit Mountain Casino will be useful when representing your interests on Council. I hope you will support me with your vote in the coming election. 
Ed Pearsall, Roll #729
503 779-9411

I am stepping-forward seeking your vote for tribal council. Kevin Simmons nayka nim and I have been shaped by OUR Creator to serve the Grand Ronde tilixam!

I am an honest, hard-working, and dedicated Grand Ronde Native and like many of OUR Ancestors, Elders, Cultural, and Community leaders I have learned to be an effective tribal councilor, tribal leader, and tribal citizen. 

I have been taught to SERVE ALL OUR GRAND RONDE TILIXAM, no matter where you live! I believe that EVERY tribal member has a contribution to make to OUR community, even if you were not raised in Grand Ronde, or were terminated from Grand Ronde, or relocated from Grand Ronde. 

I believe in strengthening tribal families in every aspect of what we do: from Elders to unborn children! I believe we have been blessed with numerous resources, programs, services, and individuals within our community. Just like with any gift, we need to be good stewards through sound planning, organization, and policy development. I believe the Grand Ronde people are the greatest resources we as a tribe have; we need to learn how to care for ALL our people, and be good stewards of ALL our resources! I believe learning, practicing, and living OUR culture is healing and empowering! I believe in planning 7 Generations in the future! I believe in Listening to our Grand Ronde tilixam!

I stand for balanced and efficient budget management and oversight! I stand for those services that benefit ALL tribal members! I stand for tribal jobs for tribal people! I stand for treating ALL people with dignity and respect, no matter what position they hold, what family they come from, or what circumstance they may find themselves in! I stand for tribal enrollment that is historical, includes our cultural belief, and is CORRECT. Enrollment is the foundation of our sovereignty, it cannot be mismanaged! I stand for protection of our sacred sites, preservation and practice of our chinuk wawa language, and building a cultural infrastructure that lives for 7 Generations! I stand for SERVICE to all our Grand Ronde tilixam!

I have been blessed with the opportunity to be formally educated and hold a bachelors of arts degree in Native American Studies, and a masters of science degree in Special Education. I have been blessed to receive a cultural and traditional education from my family and OUR Grand Ronde tilixam. Like many of you, I have served OUR Grand Ronde community in a number of capacities throughout the years. I've worked in the Social Services and Education departments. I worked in the Eugene area tribal office. I was honored to work in Washington DC as the Spirit Mountain Community Fund's Mark O. Hatfield Fellow. I've worked in numerous other tribal communities throughout the Pacific Northwest and Northern California.    

nsyaka chaku khupa Suzette (Norwest) Simmons pi William Simmons tilixam. My grandmother is the late Marie (Daniels) Simmons from Muckleshoot, Washington and the late Edgar Simmons from Grand Ronde. My mother is Tamara (Tomlinson) Jacobo who resides in Portland, Oregon and my father is the late John Henry "Laughing Wolf" Simmons from Grand Ronde. My father and his 12 other siblings were removed from Grand Ronde in 1954 and placed in the custody of the state of Oregon and raised in foster homes while our grandfather Edgar was Tribal Chairman during the termination years.

I have been with my wife Robin for thirteen-years, and together we have five beautiful children: Kaelynn, Makai, Shasta, Seq'hiya, and Qwinem.

I humbly ask you to vote Kevin Simmons for Tribal Council. Contact me at 541.689.5822, or Facebook: 

Dear Tribal Members,

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and get to know me. It's always a challenge to reach all tribal members. I am running for tribal council because I have a deep conviction to serve my tribe. Tribal council is much more than a job to me  - It is a way for me to be fully engaged in my tribe. Participating in crucial decisions for our future, making sure our younger generations know their culture, feel a part of the community and continue to receive the amazing benefits we currently receive is very important to me.

I currently serve on our tribe's education committee and have served for 4+ years. I recently retired from the University of Oregon after working there for 18 years. While working full-time at the University of Oregon, I earned my Bachelor's degree in Family and Human Services and my Master's degree in Educational Leadership. I served on the Sapsikwala (Native American Teacher Licensure Master's Program) Advisory Board and worked with education representatives from the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon. I served as the treasurer for the Native American Alumni Association at the University of Oregon for 4 years. I also served on the Grand Ronde Color guard, opened the Eugene Satellite office and was a foster parent for our tribal children.

I know tribal council will be challenging and time consuming but I can and will devote my full attention to the position.

One of my top priorities as a tribal council member will be to build a cohesive tribal council. I believe that our strength comes from our leaders. Strong leaders encourage and create strong members and a strong tribe. When tribal members feel they are a valued part of the community, they focus on what is best for the community as a whole. I will build a cohesive tribal council by:

  • Modeling integrity and honesty
  • Promoting open and honest dialog
  • Staying connected with tribal members
  • Putting aside my personal agendas for the good of the tribe

Another goal as a tribal council member is to build community, establish relationships and create an overall sense of security. I will do this by:

  • Conducting bi-weekly brown bag lunches with tribal members
  • Responding to all e-mail messages and phone calls within 72 hours
  • Communicating openly and honestly
  • Exhibiting integrity and honesty
  • Promoting education on culture, politics and community

As a candidate for tribal council I offer you:

  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Strong work ethic
  • Sound judgment
  • Professionalism
  • Dependability
  • Respect for all
  • Commitment
  • Independence

I encourage all of you to get to know each of this year's candidates. Please e-mail or call me with any questions you may have regarding my qualifications, skills or reasons for running. I hope I have earned your vote and I hope that you'll vote and encourage all family and tribal members to vote.


Brenda Tuomi