Tribal Government & News
36th Restoration Celebration scheduled for Friday, Nov. 22
If you go
36th Restoration Celebration
When: Doors open at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 22, a meal will be served at noon and a powwow will follow at 3 p.m. All are welcome
Where: Tribal gymnasium, 9615 Grand Ronde Road.
RSVPs: Not necessary
By Danielle Frost
Smoke Signals staff writer
Restoration is a time for Tribal members to reflect, reconnect and celebrate together.
“For me, the most exciting part is that it is an opportunity for all of us to see old friends and relatives, and to be so thankful for our Tribe being restored and all of those who made it possible,” Tribal Council Secretary Jon A. George says. “It’s a time to come together and have fun.”
On Friday, Nov. 22, the Tribe will fete 36 years of Restoration and all of the accomplishments that have come with it.
George serves on the Restoration Committee, which is charged with arranging the celebration. The group has been meeting regularly for months to plan the event down to the smallest detail. This year, George will serve as master of ceremonies. He also designed the Restoration T-shirts.
“It’s always an honor to do that,” he said. “I have been helping plan Restoration celebrations since we had them at the Grand Ronde Grade School gym.”
George grew up in Grand Ronde during the 1960s and ’70s, when all the Tribe had left to its name was a 2.5-acre cemetery. Most people who lived in the area struggled to make ends meet in a rural economy with scant opportunity and rampant racism. Many Tribal members moved away after Termination in 1954 to survive, leaving their roots behind.
The seeds of Restoration were just beginning as George became a young adult, but he always knew his Tribal family was important.
On Nov. 22, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed House Resolution 3885 restoring the Grand Ronde Tribe, which had been terminated 29 years earlier, to federal recognition. His signature on the bill officially ended a dark time. Next came the work of guiding the Tribe into the future. George began working for the Tribe in 1991.
“To see how far we have come in that time is incredible,” George said.
As in years past, doors will open at 10 a.m., a meal will be served at noon and a powwow begins at 3 p.m. with a “Visionaries” dance special. There also will be recognition of Restoration Elders. Entertainment will be provided by the Grand Ronde Canoe Family.
There will be a giveaway to honor Margaret Provost, a key Restoration Elder who passed away in August 2018 at the age of 88. In July 2019, a life-sized bronze statue honoring Provost, Marvin Kimsey and Merle Holmes, created by Tribal Council member Steve Bobb Sr., was unveiled in front of the Governance Center and named “Visionaries.”
“The giveaway will definitely be one of the highlights,” George said.
Everyone is invited to attend the celebration. Last year’s event attracted approximately 400 people.
“These celebrations have definitely gotten bigger over the years,” George said. “I remember when we had them at the old grade school and everyone would fit in the gym. Now, the young ones are grown up and have children of their own. To see all that, and to spend time honoring our Elders, fills me with joy.”
At 9 a.m. on the day of the Restoration celebration, George will go to the Tribal Cemetery, where he performs a drum song and prays every year.
“Even if I am the only one there, I still do it,” he says. “Praying for the healing of our people is an important part. I find it very purposeful. To me, it is an obligation. Restoration is a day that should never be forgotten, so our young ones will always know and that history will always be there. We have all of this because of the work of all of those Elders.”
To find out more about the Tribe’s Restoration celebration, visit www.grandronde.org.