Tribal Government & News

39th Restoration Day returns to an in-person event

11.01.2022 Danielle Harrison Restoration, Events
Tribal Council member Jon A. George dances during the last in-person Restoration Celebration held in 2019 in the Tribal gym. This year’s event marking the 39th anniversary of Restoration will be hybrid, but also include in-person attendance at Spirit Mountain Casino for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. (Smoke Signals file photo)


By Danielle Harrison

Smoke Signals assistant editor/staff writer

If there was one word that reverberated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it was “resiliency.”

The Grand Ronde Tribe understands the meaning of it in a way few do: After 30 years of Termination under edict of the federal government and after working tirelessly for no pay and with little resources, Tribal leaders saw the realization of a dream when the Grand Ronde Restoration Act was signed on Nov. 22, 1983, by President Ronald Reagan.

Since then, the Grand Ronde Tribe has gone from having little money and only five acres of land to operating a successful casino that generates millions in revenue every year, having its hunting and fishing rights restored, and rebuilding Tribal institutions and culture.

Now, after two years of virtual celebrations, the Tribe is gearing up for its first big indoor gathering when it will host the 39th Restoration celebration at Spirit Mountain Casino, 27100 S.W. Salmon River Highway, on Tuesday, Nov. 22. Doors open at 11 a.m.

Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy remembers the devastating effects of Termination and was one of the first Tribal employees.

“As a Tribal people, community gatherings are a core component of who we are,” she said. “We sit down and enjoy a meal together. I believe that our milestones, like Restoration, should embrace that part of who we are.”

Tribal Communications Director Sara Thompson said the specific agenda is still being developed, but it will definitely include a powwow sponsored the Tribe’s Culture Committee.

Tribal members who plan to attend were required to RSVP by Monday, Oct. 31, using an online form at

“Also, we hope people will stay for the Restoration Powwow that the Culture Committee is currently planning,” Thompson said.

Tribal member Francene Ambrose chairs the Culture Committee. Other members are Shayla Myrick-Meyer, Sarah Ross, Kelly Tarr, Lorena Rivera, Jesse Peone III, Leah Brisbois and Tribal Council liaison Jon A. George.

“We are excited to host this year’s 39th annual Restoration Powwow at Spirit Mountain Casino,” Ambrose said. “Being able to come together once again with family, friends and community is wonderful. We are able to renew our social and community ties, continue building Tribal kinship and lift our spirits, while enjoying dancing and drumming.”    

Restoration will be a hybrid event for Tribal members and their families, so those unable to attend in person or who missed the deadline to RSVP can still participate in the virtual raffle event. Thompson said people should check the Tribe’s Facebook page or for updates.

“We will have the in-person event at the casino, but will include every Tribal member, no matter where they live, in part of the raffle drawing,” Thompson said. “We began doing this during our online Restoration celebrations and are looking forward to continuing that into the future.”

Kennedy said that Restoration is about recognizing how far the Tribe had come since the dark days of Termination. 

“Our Restoration Celebration is about recognizing how far we (have) come as a resilient people, honoring those that fought for us to be where we are today, and taking a moment as family, friends, and a community to honor that,” she said.

Every year since the Tribe was restored, it has held a celebration that includes a meal, giveaways, speeches, dancing, drumming, singing and a Restoration Powwow. Approximately 200 Tribal members, family, friends and elected officials traveled to Grand Ronde in 2019 for the last in-person event, which was held in the Tribal gym.