Yesteryears - Feb. 1, 2023

01.31.2023 Danielle Harrison Yesteryears

2018 – The Grand Ronde Tribe was well-represented at the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Winter Convention held in Portland. The annual event was an opportunity for meetings, discussion, presentations and committee work that affected policy, legislation and the future of Indian County in the Northwest. Tribal Council Secretary Jon A. George led the invocation and Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy welcomed attendees to the event. ATNI is comprised of 57 Northwest Tribal governments from Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Alaska, California and Montana.

2013 – The Grand Ronde Tribe drafted a letter expressing its “great alarm and concern” to University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson regarding a restructuring that ended the contracts of three top diversity officers, including former Klamath Tribal Chairman Tom Ball. He had served as one of three assistant vice presidents in the university’s Office of Equity and Inclusion since 2005, and was the top Native American diversity administrator at the school.

2008 – The Tribe received a two-year grant from the Administration for Native Americans for the architectural schematic design of the Tribe’s planned museum and cultural center. The two-year project included surveying, soils analysis, wetland and archaeological site assessment, and preliminary interpretive design of exhibit space. The Tribe was prepared to provide $52,000 in matching funds for the schematic design as part of its 20 percent match share, with most of the other funds coming from in-kind staff time spent on the project.

2003 – Native American rapper Litefoot rocked the house when he performed at the Grand Ronde Tribal gym. Litefoot had received many accolades during his career, including four Native American Music Awards. He said his main goal was to break down stereotypes of Native people. “My people don’t wear headdresses and we don’t ride horses,” he said.

1998 – The Tribe created the Hatfield Fellowship honoring U.S. Sen. Mark O. Hatfield for his accomplishments on behalf of the Tribe, Native Americans, Oregonians and all Americans. The fellowship also was created to honor the memory of Susan Long, who worked in Hatfield’s office during the Restoration era. The fellowship would enable a Native American to serve as a staff member of one of Oregon’s congressional delegation members. The fellow would act as a liaison between the congressional member and Tribes in Oregon, and advocate for Tribal issues.

1993 – Tribal member Neesha Grant of La Grande was crowned 1993 Grand Ronde Powwow queen. Her parents were Steve and Jackie Grant, and grandparents were David and Emma Leno. The 14-year-old enjoyed horseback riding, camping and being with friends. At school, she was a member of the marching band and student league organization. “I am honored to have the opportunity to represent the Tribe through the Grand Ronde Royalty program,” she said. 

1988 – Chemawa High School students spoke about the importance of Elders and education while participating with Tribal leaders at the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians’ Winter Conference. The conference theme, “Our Children Are Our Future,” was discussed by Chemawa Assistant Principal Jake Bighorn, who urged students to be humble. The main focus of the conference was to have Northwest Tribes work on issues dealing with education, health, child welfare, natural resources, aging, culture and Tribal governance. 


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