Tribal Government & News

Yesteryears -- Aug. 1, 2020

07.30.2020 Danielle Frost History


2015 – Archeology students from the University of Washington in Seattle participated in an archeological dig at a site on Grand Ronde Road. The Tribe’s Historic Preservation Office, in collaboration with the university’s Department of Anthropology, hosted a summer archeology “field school” on the Tribal homelands for students. The course, “Field Methods in Indigenous Archeology,” taught students how to document and preserve Tribal cultural resources by working with Tribal staff and students. “There is a need for additional information about the time period from the settlement of the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation up until Termination,” Tribal Historic Preservation Program Manager David Harrelson said. “This is an era of history where we don’t have living people to tell us about those days and so the material evidence by archeology can help with that.”

2010 – The Grand Ronde Canoe Family completed the Paddle to Makah in Neah Bay, Wash. More than 80 canoes participated in the journey. Tribal member and Grand Ronde Canoe Family skipper Bobby Mercier introduced the family during the Landing Day ceremony. Other participants included Social Services Manager David Fullerton, Tribal members Brian Krehbiel, Kailiyah Krehbiel, Shannon Stanton, Kalene Contreras and Christina Lara, and Elder Henry Petite.

2005 – A group from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde visited New York City and the American Museum of Natural History to see Tomanowos, a 15.5-ton meteorite that holds spiritual and cultural significance to the Tribe. “It holds a lot of power,” Tribal member and Language Specialist Bobby Mercier said. “Who knows how many generations before us have touched it in the same spots that we have.” Other members of the Grand Ronde delegation included Elder and past Tribal Council Chairwoman Kathryn Harrison, Elders Pat Allen, Betty Lambert and Patsy Pullin, and Tribal members Hope Lafferty, Ashley Bedortha, Denise Harvey, Alicia Selwyn and Tribal Council member Angie Blackwell.  

2000 – Grand Ronde’s Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies contingent grew to six. Sgt. Jeff VanLaanen and Deputy Allister Bunch were the latest additions to the Grand Ronde community. VanLaanen had worked in the area before and recently returned as a supervisor. Bunch was a former Los Angeles Police Department officer and had moved to Polk County after living in Southern California for many years.

1995 – A historical marker was unveiled in Grand Ronde, marking the 97th marker to be erected for Oregon’s Historical Marker Program. The marker, located one-fourth of a mile east of Grand Ronde Road, depicted Tribal photos and a summary of the history of the Grand Ronde Tribe and its people. Tribal Council and staff members had been working on the marker project for several years. The process included meeting about location, text and design of the marker. At the dedication ceremony, Tribal Elder Ila Dowd delivered “The Lord’s Prayer” in Chinuk Wawa.


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