Tribal Government & News

Letters to the Editor -- Sept. 1, 2019

08.29.2019 Dean Rhodes Letters

Dear Smoke Signals:

It is nearing a year since my grandmother, Margaret Provost, has walked on. The family has mourned her loss and experience heartache each time we reach for the phone to call her and remember she is now with the Creator.

She was a wife, mother, grandmother and auntie to her family and Tribe … a leader, pathfinder and inspiration to us and so many more. She gave us love, strength and might; a stronger person would be hard to find and we miss her dearly.

Her legacy is that she believed in the impossible and lived her life striving for what she believed was right for a nation of our Tribal people.

We would like to thank the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde for the tribute statue of her, her brother, Marvin Kimsey, and their good friend, Merle Holmes. It serves as a reminder of their collective vision for the welfare of our Tribe.

On behalf of the family, we wish to thank everyone who attended her service, helped officiate, provided the opening ceremonies, drummed, sang and gave tributes, as well as all of the flowers, plants, cards and sentiments that were sent.

The family will be honoring her memory with a giveaway at the 2019 Restoration Celebration in November. Everyone is welcome.

Most sincerely,

Camille Mercier & the family of Margaret Provost

Roll #1982


Dear Smoke Signals:

On Aug. 15, I picked up the annual distribution of salmon for our family. We get three portions because of the three Tribal members in our house and we are thankful to the Tribe for the salmon.

My family loves salmon and I have been smoking about half of it most years. But this year our salmon was white, not pink. The last time this happened was two years ago and the salmon was terrible tasting. I tried to cook it and none of the meat had any consistency; it was like eating paste. We ended up throwing most of it out. This had happened before, too. In 2014, the salmon we got was very pale, white and pasty and I tried to smoke it. The smoked salmon turned out inedible and I had to throw it out.

Studying up on this, it turns out that when salmon spawn, they travel far and use all of their energy. The closer to the spawning ground the salmon is caught, the worse tasting they are as they are losing their nutrients. The meat turns white and they will die soon. Historically, Native people did eat these salmon, but only when they were starving or poor.

I wondered if anyone else had the same feelings about their salmon distribution. A poll on Facebook revealed that many other people have problems with the white, tasteless and pasty salmon and that some people now no longer pick up their salmon because this has happened so often.

I question the mission and policies of the salmon distribution program if people are not actually able to eat the salmon they are getting. We appreciate the fish, when it is edible, but I feel a little put off when the fish is inedible, and I am not alone. I wonder if there is a policy that ensures the quality of the salmon and, if so, how do we make sure that policy is being followed? Unless changes occur, I will no longer be taking advantage of the salmon distribution program.

I know a lot of Tribal members who feel the same way. I urge Tribal Council and the administrative staff to make changes to ensure there is effective oversight to ensure that Tribal members get quality services at all times.

David Gene Lewis

Roll #2741