Tribal Government & News

Former Tribal Council member Wesley West walks on

10.12.2017 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council, People

Former Tribal Council member Wesley “Buddy” West walked on Saturday, Oct. 7, at the age of 75.

He was born on Oct. 1, 1942, and grew up in the eastern Oregon community of Odell. He graduated from Wy’East High School in 1960.

West was elected to Tribal Council in 2004 in his fourth attempt along with Angie Blackwell and Chris Mercier on a platform that there needed to be new voices in Tribal leadership.

“I believe I can make a positive difference for you on Tribal Council because I’m not a career politician,” he wrote in his 2004 Tribal Council Candidate Statement. “I won’t make empty promises or give special favors to certain families. … I will spend the next three years with all of us in mind, guiding me in my daily actions.”

West said he was descended from Chief Joseph Sangretta through his grandmother, Adeline Menard-Haller. His parents were Wesley West and Marion Haller-Davidson.

After graduating from high school, West served more than 20 years in the U.S. Army and was a member of the 101st Airborne Division. He served three tours of duty in Vietnam, where he was wounded. He received numerous medals, including two Bronze Stars, which are awarded for heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement or meritorious service in a combat zone.

He ran for re-election in 2007 and finished seventh in the voting. He also ran for Tribal Council five other times with his last campaign occurring in 2011.

West also ran for a seat in the Oregon Legislature representing the 23rd District in 2008, but was unsuccessful in the Democratic primary. He ran on a platform of tackling issues like crime, meth and drug addiction, and poverty in the district.

West attended the 20th anniversary celebration of the Grand Ronde Health & Wellness Center on Friday, Oct. 6, the day before he walked on and was recognized as a former Tribal Council member during the ceremony.