Yesteryears -- April 15, 2021

04.14.2021 Danielle Harrison Yesteryears, History


2016 – A survey of Tribal members found an almost 50-50 split when it came to building a community swimming pool in Grand Ronde. The idea was not a new one, but received added impetus when Tribal member Rex Haller began a serious push for its construction, citing the lack of recreational and exercise opportunities for Tribal members living in the Grand Ronde area. When supporters were asked if they supported using Tribal revenue to fund construction that might cause a reduction in per capita payments or funding for other programs, 64.9 percent said no.

2011 – Tribal member Nakoosa Moreland was featured after she carried on a century-old tradition of attending Chemawa Indian School. “This is my first year here at Chemawa,” she wrote on Facebook. “I plan on staying here throughout high school.” Although Moreland was excited about the prospect, it wasn’t always that way for Tribal members who attended Chemawa. In the early 20th century, they were encouraged to shun their culture and discipline was swift for anyone who didn’t comply, and included withholding food, supplies, and even confinement in the guard house with hard labor.

2006 – More than 300 people a day attended the “Corps of Discovery II: 200 Years to the Future,” which was hosted in Grand Ronde for nine days. The project was named for the original Lewis & Clark expedition from 1803-06. Attendees traveled back in time with the program that described events through handheld recorders as visitors looked at related drawings on tent walls that the Tribe had created in partnership with the National Park Service. Approximately 30 unemployed Tribal members were paid with a grant to work at the event. Tribal vendors were also offered free spaces to sell crafts.

2001 – Tribal Elders Nora Kimsey, Ila Dowd and Mabel Gaston retired after serving a combined 58 years on the Tribe’s Enrollment Committee. The three enjoyed a farewell party in their honor for their commitment and hard work while on the committee. “The years working there were good,” Dowd, 92, said. “With my age now, I wouldn’t like to take on any more responsibility. With the early times, I knew a lot of the ancestors and I felt really necessary. I enjoyed the time I have spent with the committee very much. I appreciate all the attention my friends gave me during the time of our party.”

1996 – Tribal member Bryan Mercier was studying abroad during his fall and spring term as a participant in the Northwest Coalition of Universities exchange program. He was one of several students from the Northwest selected for the program. Mercier was a business major at the University of Oregon and also served as vice chair of the Tribe’s Youth Advisory Board. “Fall term I stayed with a German family, which was a great experience,” he said. “But this term, I will be in a residence hall with other students, so I am looking forward to meeting people.”

1991 – The Tribe received a Community Development Block Grant and plans were underway to build a Community Services Center in Grand Ronde. The center would house services including senior meals, education classes and programs, additional health services, some social services, community meetings and training seminars. Tribal Council had recently approved the final sketches for the facility and a scale model was being built by the architectural firm for display.


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