Yesteryears -- June 15, 2023

06.14.2023 Danielle Harrison Yesteryears

2018 – Sixteen Tribal artifacts from the Summers Collection, housed for the last 118 years in a warehouse outside of London by the British Museum, returned to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and were showcased during the Phase II re-opening of Chachalu Museum & Cultural Center. Enthusiasm to see the historic cultural items was high. An Elders and guest-only admission started early as approximately 30 people arrived promptly to view the remodeled museum. They also welcomed home the artifacts gathered by Episcopal minister Robert Summers in the 1870s from the first Native Americans to inhabit the Grand Ronde Reservation.

2013 – The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde acquired 338 acres on the North Santiam River southeast of Salem in Marion County, known as the Chahalpam property and valued at more than $3.5 million. The purchase was made using funding from the Bonneville Power Administration. The property was acquired through BPA’s Willamette Wildlife Habitat Agreement, a 15-year agreement that required BPA to provide stable funding for habitat acquisitions in the Willamette Basin to offset the effects of federal dams on the Willamette River and its tributaries.

2008 – Tribal member Stephanie Wood researched Native baskets at the University of Oregon’s Natural and Cultural History Museum. Wood, a senior, focused on baskets made when her grandmother, Tribal Elder Opal Davidson, was young. Wood was majoring in cultural anthropology. The 250 baskets she was studying came from Tribes living in the Willamette Valley in the 1800s and early 1900s and were part of the university’s collection housed on the campus. She became involved with the museum after being asked to be a tour guide.

2003 – The first Native Youth Co-ed Basketball Tournament was held in Grand Ronde. The community came out to support the youth during a weekend of “fun, togetherness and basketball.” The event was sponsored by the Tribal Youth Prevention Program and featured teams from Washington and Oregon. The Grand Ronde team was coached by Dustin Harmon. The 13 and younger division had four teams and the 18 and younger division had six teams. The tournament was held in the Tribe’s new gymnasium.

1998 – Spirit Mountain Casino and the Grand Ronde Tribe took home the grand prize for best float more than 35 feet long during the annual Rose Parade in Portland. The display featured a storyteller wearing regalia and a headpiece featuring a Coyote story. Entitled “Adventures of the Spirit,” the float was one of approximately 90 entries in the Rose Festival’s Grand Floral Parade.

1993 – The 1993-94 Grand Ronde Royalty Court was named. Senior princesses were Kristina Dizick and Lisa Schmid. Melanie Summerlin, Sydney Clark and Courtney Warren were junior princesses. During the Royalty competition at the Tribe’s annual powwow in August, they would be judged on participation at required events, personal interviews, public speaking ability, dance ability, knowledge of their Tribe and family history, poise and personality, and regalia.

1988 – Eleven candidates were nominated for three open Tribal Council seats. They were John Allen, Frank Harrison, Merle Holmes, Marvin Kimsey, Gene LaBonte, Ed Larsen, Merle Leno, Tom Leno, Ray McKnight, Darrel Mercier and Riley Porter. The seats were held by Merle Leno, LaBonte and McKnight. Elections were scheduled for September and all voting information would be included in the July edition of Smoke Signals.  


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