Culture Committee hosting Restoration Powwow, seeking Potlatch donations

10.14.2014 Michelle Alaimo Culture, Events

The Tribe's Culture Committee will be hosting this year's Restoration Powwow on Saturday, Nov. 22.

The powwow will begin with a Grand Entry shortly after the traditional Restoration dinner celebration has ended about 2 p.m.

"We need to remember how we did it before Restoration," says Culture Committee member and Elder Margaret Provost. "We never used to have these big powwows. It would be a gathering where people would come together and some people would drum and dance, and we would have a dinner and then there would be a giveaway." 

It is that tradition that the 2014 Restoration Powwow will honor.  Community and family are the focus, with opportunities to honor the Elders and loved ones who have played important roles in the Restoration of the Grand Ronde Tribe. There also will be a Potlatch (giveaway) sponsored by the Culture Committee.

"The Culture Committee wants to honor everyone with a giveaway and I believe we should all come together and just be together in a good way to share this time," committee member and Elder Linda Brandon says. "Restoration is a time of sharing and feeling good.  My grandma, Nora Kimsey, has always been my inspiration and she loved her community and her Tribal family and showed her love in different ways like this."

"We encourage families to step forward to be a part of this. We want everyone to be involved," says Sarah Ross, Culture Committee secretary. 

This year, families are being invited to sponsor a dance special or donate to the Potlatch as part of the celebration. 

"There never used to be big competition powwows. Families would sponsor the specials and giveaways. Back then not many people danced like they do now, and they would have to be encouraged to dance," says Provost, who also described the traditional practice of Potlatch.  "The giveaway was a big deal. People might bake pies or make jelly. Some people might make things like jewelry. Everything was taken care of by the families, and then it was all given away."

The Culture Committee encourages the community to get involved and make items to be included in the Potlatch.

"It is traditional that people used to donate to the Potlatch without recognition," said Culture Committee Chair Betty Bly. 

"I was taught that there were times when people would be gathering items for giveaway, and in the old days the chiefs had Potlatch to show how rich they were by giving away all that they owned," says Culture Committee co-chair Marcus Gibbons.

"We want to let the people of Grand Ronde know that we are here for them no matter what. If you come for the medicine and to learn the traditions, then we are here to support you and everyone in the Tribe."

The 2014 Restoration Powwow is meant to commemorate the Tribe's 31st Restoration and honor the community and the important role each Tribal member fills.

Families interested in sponsoring a dance special or donating to the Potlatch can contact Bly at 503-879-6336.

Tribal members planning on attending the Restoration events are encouraged to RSVP to Public Affairs at 503-879-1418 or

Drums interesting in performing at the powwow also should contact Public Affairs. Guest drums will be capped at seven.