Tribal Government & News

Yesteryears -- June 1, 2020

05.28.2020 Danielle Frost History

2015 – After spending 25 years working for the Tribe’s Natural Resources Department, Silviculture and Fire Protection Program Manager Jeff Nepstad retired. Nepstad, 52, had served the Tribe almost half of his life and said he was proud of the work that was accomplished during that time. The mission of the Silviculture Program was to promote the Tribal tradition of being good stewards of the land and all natural resources by protecting and maintaining forest health and productivity for future use.

2010 – Approximately 200 people attended a four-day conference of the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians, which was held at Spirit Mountain Casino and sponsored by the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Although attendance was smaller than normal, Native leaders from the Obama administration and Native attorneys following federal legislation and judiciary activity, as well as leaders representing 27 Tribes from Alaska, California, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Washington attended. Grand Ronde Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy related the Tribe’s history to the group during her welcoming remarks.

2005 – Native American novelist and poet Sherman Alexie (Spokane) entertained a large crowd at Oregon State University. Afterward, he was interviewed by a Smoke Signals staff writer. Alexie had written several novels including “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” “Reservation Blues” and the screenplay for “Smoke Signals.” “In case you came here to see a traditional Indian, you better leave now,” he joked at the start of his show.

2000 – Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber signed a ceremonial proclamation declaring American Indian Week at the State Capitol in Salem. Representatives from all nine federally recognized Oregon Tribes were at the signing. A reception immediately followed the signing ceremony. Kitzhaber said he had benefitted from his relationships with the Tribes during his years as governor. “The opportunity to get to know and learn from the sovereign Tribes in the state has been one of the best parts of this experience,” he said.

1995 – An expansion and relocation of Tribal offices was underway after the Tribe purchased and remodeled a two-story modular building. It would be used by Spirit Mountain Development Corp. as a training center as well as house the Small Business Development and Education program offices. To make room for Spirit Mountain Casino, the Natural Resources Department was relocated to a parcel of land on Hebo Road.

1990 – Tribal member Andrew Jenness was selected to receive an Office of Multicultural Affairs Recognition Award for academic excellence. The awards were established to honor the contributions made by university students through leadership and academic performance. Nominations came from faculty or administrators in an effort to give appropriate recognition to minority students for their accomplishments.

1985 – The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde announced its first annual powwow would be held Aug. 10-11 at Grand Ronde Elementary School. On the agenda was a traditional feast, games, overnight camping and raffles. A craft table and softball tournament also were scheduled. Volunteers were sought to help make the powwow a success. “We will all have to rally together, and dig down and do what we can to make this a success,” a Smoke Signals article stated.


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