Tribal Government & News

Yesteryears -- July 15, 2023

07.13.2023 Danielle Harrison History


2018 – Tribal Elder and Marine Corps veteran Reyn Leno and Tribal Elder and Army veteran Raymond Petite gifted Army veteran Ken Kraft with a Wounded Warrior Project blanket during the Marcellus Norwest Memorial Veterans Powwow held at the uyxat Powwow Grounds. Kraft lost a leg during a mortar attack while he was serving in Baghdad in 2005. He also was gifted a pillow. Both items were created by Tribal Elder Evelyn Seidel and her husband, Leo.

2013 – Former Hatfield Fellow Francene Ambrose joined the Tribal Council office as an administrative assistant. She was the Grand Ronde Tribe’s 2008 Hatfield Fellow, working in the office of Sen. Ron Wyden. “I felt like this was my opportunity to give back to the Tribe in a meaningful way after they provided me with a scholarship and a wonderful fellowship,” she said.

2008 – Construction on Grand Ronde Road was set to begin in August and included widening the road to add bicycle lanes and sidewalks on the east side of the Yamhill River bridge to allow for safe pedestrian travel. Roadside ditches were to be replaced with storm sewers to make room for the roadway widening.

2003 – Tribal member Bobby Mercier traveled with a delegation of Tribal members to New York City for an annual ceremony with Tomanowos at the American Museum of Natural History. He was asked to perform the private ceremony. Those who attended said that they felt humbled to be in the presence of a sacred Tribal object.

1998 – Oregon Rep. Darlene Hooley toured several Tribal offices, accompanied by Tribal Council Chairwoman Kathryn Harrison and Tribal Council member Chip Tom. Additionally, former Sen. Mark Hatfield led a delegation of entrepreneurs and doctors who met with the Tribal Council with a proposal to tackle the spiraling diabetes epidemic in Grand Ronde. Hatfield, an honorary chairman of the Omega Point Foundation, outlined a proposal to create a community-based diabetes education program that would be managed by the foundation.  

1993 – Tribal member Bruce Thomas accepted the position of Spirit Mountain Development Corp. general manager. Thomas, a lawyer, also had a master’s degree in business from Willamette University. “The first thing we’re going to focus on is getting our offices organized and ready to conduct business,” he said. “Chris Leno and Tammy Cook have done a good job working independently, so it shouldn’t take long.” Another immediate goal was to plan and develop the property purchased from the Zimbrick family earlier in the year along Highway 18 near the Spirit Mountain offices.

1988 – Tribal veteran Joseph Mercier was featured in a Smoke Signals article that detailed his service in World War II. Mercier served from 1943 to 1945 in the Pacific Theater, where he fought in six landings in the Philippines at different villages where the Japanese forces were hiding. “Gen. MacArthur drove by us once,” he said. “I think he was a pretty smart guy. Instead of landing on the beaches head on, he would have us land on the trails in between villages. Then, we would set up machine guns and hit them as they came along the narrow trails.”


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