Yesteryears - April 1, 2022

03.31.2022 Danielle Harrison Yesteryears
File photo from 2012


2017 – Tribal Elder Ed Larsen Jr. was profiled in Smoke Signals. Larsen served on Tribal Council from 1992 through 2004 and owned the Spirit Mountain Store at the corner of Hebo Road before starting his 12-year tenure on Tribal Council. During the time he owned the store and served as an elected official, Larsen gained a reputation for giving and looking out for his friends, family and customers. “My way was to get it done and not fight about it. My idea was to make it work whether it was my idea or somebody else’s idea. I think my strongest deal was getting along with people.” 

2012 – A celebration of Grand Ronde Tribal women was slated to run at Willamette Heritage Center at The Mill in Salem. The exhibit was called “Grand Ronde Women – Our Story” and featured Grand Ronde Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy, Tribal Elder and key Restoration figure Kathryn Harrison, Tribal Council member Kathleen Tom and Tribal Elder Margaret Provost, who was also instrumental in the Tribe’s Restoration effort. “Without the work and leadership of women, I don’t know that we would have many of the cultural programs we have today, including a vibrant language education program,” Tribal Cultural Resources Department Manager David Lewis said.

2007 – Approximately 125 veterans from World War II, Vietnam and the Korean War visited the Grand Ronde Veterans Memorial where the Grand Ronde Honor Guard presented each of them with a medallion of honor. The veterans were part of a group that traveled with a nonprofit organization called Remembering America’s Heroes, which brought veterans to local high schools to talk to students about their wartime experiences.

2002 – Tribal member Steve Hudson had a new lease on life after being released from prison: He got a gig performing blues acoustic guitar songs at The Summit View at Spirit Mountain Casino with local blues figure Richard Day-Reynolds. Hudson was born in North Bend, Ore., and had been playing the guitar since he was 8. During a two-year prison sentence for assault and drug charges, he used the time to practice his songwriting and guitar playing, and to address his addictions.

1997 – The Native American Club held its first election of club officers. Tribal members Brian Krehbiel, Sol George, Brianna Leno, Brandy Leno and Joe Mercier were elected to officer positions. Other club members included Ben Bishop, Erica Mercier, Manny Mercier, Rachel Towner, Jason Greenlaw and Tara Leno. The club was supervised by Tribal employees Marion Mercier and Marty Branch.

1992 – Tribal members Dustin, 14, and Shonn Leno, 16, won their high school wrestling division state championships. Wrestling had been a part of the boys’ life since they were toddlers and the two underwent intensive practices 10 months out of the year. During their high school wrestling season at Willamina, the boys also commuted to Portland at least weekly for private practices with the Peninsula Wrestling Club.

1987 – Tribal Council approved identification cards for members. The photo ID cards would be issued to enrolled members who were 11 years and older. An enrollment update form was also to be completed when the card was issued. There was no fee charged for the cards but those who lost them would have to pay a $2 replacement fee. No fees would be charged for Elders to replace the cards.


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