Yesteryears -- March 1, 2022

02.28.2022 Danielle Harrison Yesteryears, People
The Grand Ronde Tribe’s eldest Elder, Pearl Langley Lyon, celebrated her 100th birthday at the Elders Activity Center in 2012. (Smoke Signals file photo)

2017 – Tribal Council Chair Reyn Leno and Tribal Employment Rights Office Acting Director John Mercier testified against a proposed agreement between the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, saying that the proposed agreement would create overlapping TERO districts. The two-year agreement between the state and Warm Springs would include a 60-mile radius that overlapped on the west side of the Cascades. Leno reminded ODOT officials that Grand Ronde signed a memorandum of understanding with ODOT that ensured contractors engaged in federal-aid highway construction projects within a 60-mile radius of the Grand Ronde Reservation work with its TERO program to provide employment preference to qualified Native American workers.

2012 – The Grand Ronde Tribe’s eldest Elder, Pearl Langley Lyon, celebrated her 100th birthday at the Elders Activity Center. Dozens of friends, relatives and well-wishers celebrated with the family. “One of the kindest individuals I know,” Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy said. “You’ve set a very high bar for the rest of us.”

2007 – Cultures connected after a performance by the Watoto Children’s Choir in Grand Ronde. The concert was the brainchild of Tribal Council member Wesley West, who learned about the group from his sister. The choir members were orphaned children from Uganda and proceeds raised from their concerts were used to build homes, clinics and schools to serve the children who lived in the Watoto village.

2002 – Former Tribal Natural Resources Director Cliff Adams was hired to serve as the Tribe’s general manager. He had worked in the Natural Resources Department for 14 years. “I’m excited about this because now I really get to see everything,” he said. “In Natural Resources I dealt strictly with forestry and things like that. You couldn’t help but feel away from the Tribes sometimes. Now I get to know about all aspects of what goes on.”

1997 – Tribal Council made appointments to the newly reorganized Powwow Committee. Among the members named to the committee were Donna Casey, Carol Gleason, Dana Leno, Mark Cook, Jon George, Kathy Tom and Joann Mercier. Alternates were Mychal Leno and Dakota Whitehead. Tribal members Jackie Provost and Buddy Haskins were appointed to serve as head woman and head man dancers at the powwow.

1992 – A new Tribal dental clinic was scheduled to open later in the month at the Tribal Community Center. The clinic would include a dentist, dental assistant and administrative assistant. The clinic was set up with three treatment rooms and new equipment. Future plans included hiring a hygienist and another assistant to keep up with expected growth of the practice.

1987 – Tribal Elder David LaChance, 95, of McMinnville was presented with the Purple Heart 69 years after wounds sustained during combat in World War I. He was wounded in the left shoulder and both legs while serving as a private with an infantry unit of the U.S. Army in France. He was subsequently hospitalized for 22 months and had a lifelong disability from the wounds.


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