Yesteryears -- April 15, 2023

04.13.2023 Danielle Harrison Yesteryears
Smoke Signals file photo, 2018

2018 – The first Gathering of Grand Ronde Tilixam was held at the Tribal gym and sought to give Tribal members an opportunity to connect, remember the past and learn how to best care for the community in the future. Approximately 75 people registered for the three-day event, which featured historical photos and sketches that lined the wall of the Tribal gym, group discussions, cultural activities and discussions on how to move past historical trauma.

2013 – The new Tribal Land and Culture Department made its debut at a General Council meeting in Grand Ronde. The 15-person department was created during a recent Tribal reorganization, merging the Land Management and Cultural Resources departments. The new department was headed up by Jan Reibach, formerly in charge of Land Management.

2008 – After receiving national TV exposure in March on the TLC cable show “Little People, Big World,” the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde was planning to add to its small screen appearances with an upcoming spot on the European Travel Channel. Almost 48 million Europeans would discover Oregon and the Tribe when the channel planned to air a 15-part series called “Oregon Uncovered” beginning in January 2009.

2003 – Native American TV and movie star Elaine Miles was a featured speaker in Grand Ronde when she spoke to Tribal youth during the Tribe’s first Native Youth Wellness Day. Miles, a member of the Umatilla Tribe, was best known for her portrayal of Marilyn Whirlwind on “Northern Exposure” and her numerous appearances in movies. She was also a prize-winning traditional dancer and had served as head woman at the 2000 Gathering of Nations Powwow.

1998 – A public hearing concerning Senate Bill 1691, sponsored by Washington Sen. Slade Gorton, called for a waiver of sovereign immunity of Indian Tribes and sparked much interest, debate and protest. The hearing was conducted by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Seattle. Tribal members, advocates of Tribal sovereignty and the president of the National Congress of American Indians all testified in favor of continued sovereignty.

1993 – Tribal brothers Shonn and Dustin Leno made state history when they became the only brothers to both win individual, back-to-back 2A titles in wrestling at the state championship. Shonn was the first wrestler in Willamina High School to ever place all four years, and Dustin was the first freshman ever to win a state title. The boys began wrestling when they were 4 years old and hoped to someday compete on an Olympic team.

1988 – The Indian Health Service began offering massage therapy services onsite in Grand Ronde, led by Dawn Faith Cloud, who had worked as a body/mind therapist since 1981. “I am very pleased to be able to offer this nurturing, healing experience to my Grand Ronde friends,” she said. “I sense that I was sent to Mother Earth not just to take but to give back something. The greatest gift that I can offer is myself.”


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