Tribal Government & News

Veterans Powwow slated for July 7-9

06.14.2023 Danielle Harrison Veterans, Powwows, Events
The Grand Ronde Veterans Honor Guard leads a grand entry of the 2022 Marcellus Norwest Memorial Veterans Powwow held at uyxat Powwow Grounds last July. (Smoke Signals file photos)


By Danielle Harrison

Smoke Signals assistant editor/staff writer

The Marcellus Norwest Memorial Veterans Powwow will return to Grand Ronde’s uyxat Powwow Grounds in July and include a veterans resource fair, Royalty coronation, food and lots of dancing.

It will be the first year that Tribal Elder and Vietnam War-era Marine Corps veteran Steve Bobb Sr. will not be the organizer. He walked on in August 2022. That role has been filled by Tribal and Veterans Special Event Board member Molly Leno.

The powwow will begin at uyxat Powwow Grounds off Hebo Road with a Veterans Royalty pageant at 11 a.m. Friday, July 7, and conclude with a grand entry at noon Sunday, July 9.


If you go

Marcellus Norwest Memorial Veterans Powwow

When: Grand entries at 7 p.m. Friday, July 7; 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday, July 8; and noon Sunday, July 9. Royalty pageant at 11 a.m. Friday with coronation at 5 p.m.

Where: uyxat Powwow grounds, 9600 Hebo Road

Cost: Free


This year’s host drum will be Bad Eagle of Vancouver, Canada. The master of ceremonies is Nick Sixkiller (Cherokee) with Carlos Calica (Wasco, Paiute and Yakama) serving as arena director.

Dance specials will include men’s traditional with prizes of $800, $600, $400 and $200 for first- through fourth-place winners, sponsored by the Liebelt family and Veterans Board. There is also an outgoing queen special jingle dance for all ages with prizes of $300, $200 and $100 for first- through third-place winners, sponsored by Tasina Bluehorse and her family.

Continuing with last year’s change, there won’t be an official Veterans Summit, but instead a resource fair with a more casual format held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, July 7.

The resource fair will include breakfast snacks, lunch, information and speakers from the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Native Wellness Institute, VA Roseburg Health Care System and Lines for Life. A closing ceremony will be held at the Tribal plankhouse, achaf-hammi, at 3 p.m.

Navy Veteran Ramona Quenelle (Pit River), who serves as the Tribe’s Veterans Service Officer, will have a booth at the event.

“One of my main goals this year is to inform veterans about the changes that came about because of the approval of the PACT Act legislation in August 2022,” she said. “This legislation opens up two new presumptive illnesses that Vietnam veterans can apply for if they were exposed to Agent Orange as well as more locations of service. This legislation also opened up myriad new presumptive illnesses and locations for Gulf War and post-9-11 era veterans as well. My goal is to reach veterans to inform them of these changes as well as educate them about filing claims that can be successful.”

Quenelle added that successful claims require a current medical diagnosis, an in-service event and a link between the two.

“It sounds formidable, but my role is to walk veterans through this process and help them throughout this process,” she said. “I especially want to reach those who have never filed for service-connection ever. I also want to reach those who have a lower-rated disability percentage and see if they can be increased. Being service-connected brings many benefits to veterans including a monthly tax-free payment from the Veterans Administration (based on the percentage (it) deems the veteran disabled), access to health care, and many state/federal benefits.”

Quenelle also encourages all veterans to visit their nearest veterans service officer to explore filing for service-connection benefits.

“It doesn’t matter what era, how old you are, whether you were combat or non-combat, or anything else,” she said. “If you are a qualified veteran, look into service-connection.”   

She added that every veteran who visits her booth will be entered into a drawing for gift cards.