Yesteryears - March 15, 2022

03.14.2022 Danielle Harrison Yesteryears

2017 – Spirit Mountain Casino was planning for the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 in Grand Ronde with a special viewing event for guests of Spirit Mountain Lodge. When the moon passed between the Earth and sun, a total solar eclipse would provide a momentary sliver of daytime darkness from one corner of the United States to the other. The casino’s location was in the totality viewing area so it was planning to make the most of the rare occasion.

2012 – The Grand Ronde Chinuk Wawa dictionary was officially unveiled at a General Council meeting by Tribal Cultural Resources employees. “Chinuk Wawa: As our elders teach us to speak it” was feted with a celebration that included drumming, singing, thanks to those who assisted in the decade-long project and Chinuk Wawa bingo. The new dictionary was 500 pages and included 1,000 core words and 3,000 compound words documenting the Northwest Indian trade language as it was spoken for generations.

2007 – A Tribal delegation welcomed Linfield College’s 19th president, Dr. Thomas Hellie, during an inauguration ceremony at the school’s main campus in McMinnville. Tribal Council delegates included Wesley West, Kathleen Tom and Cheryle A. Kennedy. Council members presented Hellie with a Tribal logo Pendleton blanket and welcomed him to the community.

2002 – Tribal member and Marine Corps veteran Steve Bobb Sr. completed a walk to memorialize Grand Ronde’s Trail of Tears from Table Rock in Medford to the Reservation, a 265-mile journey. Donning a backpack and two flags – the U.S. and Marine Corps – Bobb set out on his journey while also utilizing the opportunity to raise money for the planned Grand Ronde Veterans Memorial. He finished the walk in 14 days, with almost 100 people joining him in Grand Ronde to the finish. He also was accompanied on the walk by Tribal member Brent Merrill.

1997 – Tribal member and high school senior Dustin Brooks was recognized as Smoke Signals’ outstanding scholar and athlete of the month. Brooks participated in wrestling and weightlifting, and played soccer and golf. He was honored by his soccer team as its rookie of the year. He participated in a cultural exchange program and attended school in Spain. In his free time, Brooks volunteered doing yard work for senior citizens and at local community cleanup efforts.

1992 – The Tribe’s Economic Development Department was offering a basic tourism course through Chemeketa Community College in Grand Ronde. Being aware of the trends and issues surrounding the tourism industry was encouraged for Tribal members interested in the business since tourism was a priority for the Tribe, according to department employee Shelley Hanson.

1987 – Tribal members Eula and John Petite celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a special mass at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Grand Ronde. A reception was held afterward to mark the couple’s golden anniversary.


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