Yesteryears - Sept 14, 2023

09.14.2023 Danielle Harrison Yesteryears


2018 – Tribal Council members, Tribal members and Tribal employees participated in a ceremony that blessed the future site of a fishing platform at Willamette Falls after receiving permission from the state to build the structure. Having a platform at the historic site in the Tribe’s ceded lands had been a goal since 1983’s Restoration, and was in negotiations with the state for two years.

2013 – Willamina Elementary fourth-graders would soon receive instruction in Grand Ronde Tribal history for the first time. The pilot project included several 40-minute lessons that would teach Willamina youth about Tribal history from time immemorial through Termination in the 1950s, Restoration in the 1980s and modern-day status as a sovereign nation. The curriculum was created after the Tribe signed a memorandum of understanding with the Willamina School District.

2008 – Spirit Mountain Casino was doing better than most other large businesses in a down economy. During an update at a General Council meeting, Acting General Manager Roy Rhode said despite high gas prices and lagging consumer confidence in the U.S. economy, the casino’s net revenue was higher in 2008 than in 2007.

2003 – Tribal members re-elected Cheryle A. Kennedy, and elected Jack Giffen Jr. to serve on Tribal Council. The third- and fourth-place candidates, Jan D. Reibach and Mark Mercier, were headed for a recount because there was less than one percent between their vote counts.

1998 – Cultural Resources Department staff, members of the Culture Board and community-based group Seekers worked together to provide a variety of cultural materials for the public during the Tribe’s Contest Powwow. These included an interactive Chinuk Wawa display, and some illustrations of old Tribal photographs. Additionally, an initial draft for the proposed cultural center and museum was available for public comment at the powwow.

1993 – Tribal nursing assistant Darlene Aaron was recognized for five years of working for the Tribe. Aaron noted that she had seen many changes in that relatively short period of time. “When I first began working for the Tribe, everyone worked in the Manor. There were only about 25 employees and the Health Clinic was only open one day per week,” she said.

1988 – Tribal enrollment reached 2,351, according to Enrollment Director Margo George. “Congratulations to all of our new members,” she said. “I have been working on a computer program to automate and update the enrollment records. The enrollment clerk, Beverly Smith, issued 45 (Tribal identification) cards at the powwow.” George also reminded Tribal members to look into the enrollment status of their children, and said that if they hadn’t received a roll number, they were likely not enrolled yet. 


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