Tribal Government & News
Message from the Chairman
Dear Fellow Tribal Members:
While we may only be three months into the year, I can tell you that 2014 is already looking like it will be a tremendous year for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.
Our Tribal departments, casino and economic development ventures are already off to a great start. As in years past, I will continue to update you throughout the year on issues being considered by Tribal Council and the progress being made by our Tribal departments and businesses.
I feel it is important to have an open dialogue and hope that you will contact me when important issues come up. I have highlighted below just a few of the important issues before Tribal Council and hope that you find them helpful.
Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance (TERO) Commission
Over the last few weeks, Tribal Council has had a number of interviews with TERO Commission applicants. The first round of interviews was completed mid-February and the second set of interviews for the commission took place on March 5. Once Tribal Council has completed the interview process, we will appoint five individuals to serve on the Tribe's first TERO Commission. Once the commission is established, it will play a crucial role in enforcing the TERO Ordinance.
Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance (TERO) website
As some of you may know, the TERO page on the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde's website is up and running. There, you will find information on upcoming contractor certification training programs, a list of frequently asked questions, download TERO Indian-owned Business Certification Applications or find important contact information for our TERO staff on the Tribal campus.
The Coastal Connector
A new, daily public transit bus service known as the Coastal Connector has started providing service between Grand Ronde and Lincoln City. Grand Ronde and Siletz Tribal members can ride the bus for free just by showing the driver their Tribal identification cards. The service, provided by the Tillamook County Transportation District, will allow Tribal members to commute back-and-forth easier. The bus will pick up and drop off at the Tribal Community Center and at Spirit Mountain Casino's east entrance.
Women's Transitional House
After much anticipation, construction on the Women's Transitional House is complete. The transitional house is scheduled to open on April 1 and its first residents are scheduled to move in shortly thereafter. The transitional house will provide post-treatment services to Tribal members and will be a safe alternative for women who may often find themselves in difficult situations. For more information on the Women's Transitional House, contact Behavioral Health at 503-879-2026.
Cultural Employee Orientations
Recently, Land and Culture Department staff worked to develop a new orientation curriculum for new hires that focuses on Grand Ronde Tribal history, culture, cultural practices and language. The training also will be offered to existing employees throughout the year so they have an opportunity to learn something new about our Tribe and our culture. The orientations will provide employees with a detailed explanation of Tribal sovereignty and what it means to be a sovereign Tribal nation. Tribal Council has identified this as a priority and will be asking the Spirit Mountain Casino Inc. Board of Directors to review the existing curriculum at the casino and implement a similar training for its employees.
After months of planning and preparation, Land and Culture staff will soon begin working closely with developers to take photos and language recordings on and around our Tribal campus. Work is currently set to take place at the end of next month. When the photos and recordings are completed, app developers will then work to build an app that is user friendly and will teach users Chinuk Wawa. The app will be available for iOS devices later this year and will be made available for Android devices in 2015. If you or someone you know would like to participate in a photo shoot or language recording, please look for ads in an upcoming edition of Smoke Signals.
2015 Budget Priorities
Over the next few months, Tribal Council will begin developing its list of 2015 budget priorities. During the budgeting process, Tribal Council works closely with Tribal staff to identify priorities for the upcoming year in order to start the planning process. If there is something you wish to see budgeted for in 2015, please submit your priority in writing to Tribal Council for consideration.
Not long ago, the Tribe was awarded a $500,000 Indian Community Development Block Grant to help construct a food bank facility in Grand Ronde. Tribal Council has identified a location for the new facility and will be working with staff to finalize plans for the new food bank. We hope to work closely with our local food bank and other entities to better meet the needs of our Tribal members and our community. The Tribe is looking to break ground on the project this spring.
For decades, our Tribal leaders and our Tribal Elders have worked hard to create a system of good governance in Grand Ronde. If there's one thing I can assure you, it's that your Tribal leaders do their best to keep this in mind each and every day. One thing I'm often asked is "What makes good government?" I believe that a good government is made up of a few fundamental elements and among those incorporates good communication, accountability, transparency, responsible stewardship of resources and natural resources, doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people, and always remembering where you came from.
While one can expand on any one of those things, I think that all of them can be agreed upon in one form or another. Tribal Council will continue to work toward all of these to meet the expectations and needs of our membership.
As you can see, there are a number of positive things happening in Grand Ronde and there are certainly more to come. I would like to thank our membership and staff both at the Tribe and at the casino for helping us make the Tribe what it is today.
In closing, I would also like to recognize the efforts of our Natural Resources staff and thank them for working hand-in-hand with the state and local loggers to rescue three bear cubs that would have otherwise been abandoned a few weeks ago. The cooperation between our Natural Resources Department and the agencies involved speaks to the Tribe's mission and demonstrates our commitment to our community, environment and natural resources. I look forward to updating you in an upcoming edition of Smoke Signals.
Reynold L. Leno
Tribal Council Chairman