Yesteryears -- Feb. 1, 2019

01.31.2019 Danielle Frost, Staff Writer Yesteryears, History
2014 Smoke Signals file photo

2014 – The country’s longest car-free bridge over the Willamette River had a one in four chance of receiving a Chinuk Wawa name. Out of 9,000 submissions, the Grand Ronde Tribe’s suggested name “Tillicum Crossing,” or “Bridge of the People,” was among the finalists. “It is very representative of use by people,” Tribal Historian David Lewis said. “And it is connected by Tribal history and mythology with the nearby Bridge of the Gods.”

2009 – Bus service began between Grand Ronde and Salem. The Salem Area Mass Transit District and Tribal Council entered into an agreement that started nine round trips daily Monday through Friday between the Salem-Keizer Transit Mall and Spirit Mountain Casino. “This new agreement with the Tribe allows us to lower our layoff rate by using Salem drivers to staff these new Grand Ronde routes,” said Tribal member Shelley Hanson, who was secretary of the Transit District board of directors as well as director of Spirit Mountain Community Fund. “This is an excellent opportunity for Tribal members, casino employees, Tribal employees and casino guests to use mass transit to lower their commute costs as well as their carbon footprint.”

2004 – Tribal member Erick Estrada was seeing the War in Iraq from the front row after enlisting in the Army following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. “Just keep your eyes open and don’t trust too many people,” advised his grandfather, Tribal Elder Bud Leno, who served in World War II. In Kuwait, Estrada and fellow soldiers lived in tents with outside temperatures soaring as high as 130 degrees. As a nuclear, biological and chemical specialist with the 30thMedical Unit in Baghdad, Estrada also distributed uniforms that helped defend soldiers against weapons of mass destruction.

1999 – The opening of Spirit Mountain Lodge included Tribal members, community members and other guests who toured the hotel, casino and Hall of Legends. Tribal Council member Val Grout gave an opening blessing. Tribal Council Chair Kathryn Harrison thanked those who had supported building the hotel. “On days like this, I always think back to where our people came from,” Harrison said. “I am sure they didn’t live in a place like this. I hope when the future generations take over, they will have good things to say about us because, then, we will be the ancestors.”

1994 – Grand Ronde Tribal Council, Spirit Mountain Development Corp., Tribal members and staff traveled to the state Capitol in Salem for a dedication of Native American artifacts that had been recently found along the Columbia River. SAFECO Properties Inc. was in the process of developing land in Gresham when the artifacts were found. Archaeologists determined the artifacts to have originated from two separate settlement periods, approximately 950 A.D. and 1400 A.D. The artifacts were presented to the Tribe at a ceremony and were to be kept temporarily by the Marion County Historical Society.

1989 – Five Tribal members attending Willamina High School spoke at a Tribal Council meeting to request support for a school trip to Florida to visit the Kennedy Space Center, EPCOT Center and Sea World. The five students -- Trevor Aaron, Angela Leno, Leanna and Tommy McKnight, and Cory Meneley -- needed $575 each to pay for round-trip costs to visit Florida. The students were looking for sponsors and donations, and had raised approximately $200.

1984 – Due to its newly federally-recognized status, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde was an honored guest at the mid-winter Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians conference held at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Portland. Tribal Council Vice Chair Kathryn Harrison talked to the group about the Tribe’s history and the struggle for Restoration.


Yesteryears is a look back at Tribal history in five-year increments through the pages of Smoke Signals.