Yesteryears - March 1, 2023

02.28.2023 Danielle Harrison Yesteryears


2018 – Despite snowfall that covered several parts of Oregon, all nine Tribes attended Tribal Governments Legislative Day held at the State Capitol. The theme was “Oregon is Indian Country: Who We Are.” Tribal Governments Legislative Day was designed to be a time for lawmakers, legislative staff, agency directors and their staff, as well as members of the public, to learn about Oregon’s nine federally recognized Tribes. Grand Ronde was well-represented at the event, with eight of nine Tribal Council members attending: Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy, Vice Chair Chris Mercier, Kathleen George, Jack Giffen Jr., Denise Harvey, Michael Langley, Lisa Leno and Brenda Tuomi.

2013 – Tribal Council held a first reading on the proposed Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance. The ordinance’s purposes would include providing Tribal laws and rules governing preference in employment and contracting within the Tribe’s jurisdiction, increasing employment of Grand Ronde Tribal members, and providing a fair, enforceable and effective system of priorities in contracting or subcontracting where a significant part of the work would be performed on or near the Tribe’s Reservation. 

2008 – The Cultural Resources Department planned a celebration to commemorate the return of 600 items from Oregon State University’s Horner Collection. The return of the Tribal artifacts was the result of 10 years of negotiations. After years of work and collaboration, an agreement was reached to create a process for the return of Oregon-affiliated Native American objects in the Horner Collection to their rightful place. All nine Oregon Tribes were consulted throughout the process.  

2003 – Tribal member Jake McKnight joined a team from the Tribe’s Natural Resources Department firefighting crew and as many as 3,500 others from across the country who were deployed to Texas to help find remains of the NASA shuttle Columbia, which disintegrated upon re-entering Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. Finding the remains within 30 days was crucial because spring foliage would soon cover everything up.

1998 – The new governance building was under construction and scheduled to open in September. The 40,000-square-foot building and parking was expected to take up four acres and allow for a view of Spirit Mountain. The new building was set to become home to Tribal Council, the Legal Department, Tribal Court, Finance and various support staff and function in a manner similar to a State Capitol building. The project team was HGE and Elliot-Sheets Construction.

1993 – Tribal member Charlene Freeman was featured as entrepreneur of the month for her business, C Street Hair in Independence. She said she worked very closely with Economic Development Specialist Elaine Moore to refine the details of her business, such as having customers in a database, utilizing tax write-offs and working on expense tracking. “Thanks to the Tribe I am a lot more organized,” Freeman said. “I have learned more than I ever dreamed. Every day, there’s something new.”

1988 – A Tribal voter registration drive was set by Social Services staff in an effort to register every eligible voter for upcoming elections. Staff offered to assist in the voter registration process and had forms available at the offices, or could arrange for an in-home visit if needed.


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