Yesteryears -- Dec. 1, 2023
2018 – The 35th Restoration Celebration drew 400 to Spirit Mountain Casino, including all Tribal Council members, Gov. Kate Brown and former Rep. Les AuCoin. Tribal Council Secretary Jon A. George announced a life-sized bronze statue honoring Merle Holmes, Marvin Kimsey and Margaret Provost would be created by Steve Bobb Sr. and placed in front of the Governance Center. “The three key Restoration Elders have since walked on – Kimsey and Provost earlier this year,” George said. Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy urged young people to talk to Elders who experienced Termination by the federal government in 1954.
2013 – The Tribe’s Land and Culture staff hosted the first annual history conference with Tribal Historian David Lewis. “We’ve come a long way from our 2.5-acre cemetery,” Tribal Council Vice Chair Jack Giffen, Jr. said in opening remarks to 150 attendees. Tribal Archaeologist Briece Edwards discussed cultural connections in ceded lands. Attendees included faculty from several universities, Willamette National Forest, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Geographic Names Board and the Willamette Falls Heritage Area Coalition.
2008 – The 25th anniversary of Restoration chronicled the early days of Tribal members meeting in churches, restaurants and Chemawa Indian School. The Temporary Council of the Grand Ronde Indians in 1975 included Marvin Kimsey, Merle Holmes, Margaret Provost, Patti Martin, Vicki Lawrence, Darrell Mercier, Russ Leno, Les Houck and Ken Hudson. On Dec. 7, 1975, the Council Treasurer noted a balance of $2.27 and Holmes received a letter from Sen. Bob Packwood.
2003 – The Willamina High School girls’ volleyball team, led by Tribal youth, made the state playoffs held at Pacific University in Forest Grove. This was only the second time in the school’s history that this happened. The team went on to place fourth in the 2A division.
1998 – In its first business foray into the Portland area, the Tribe invested $3.7 million in a $44 million transit-friendly housing, retail and office project. It included 480 dwellings, a child care facility and community center. Located near the MAX line in southeast Portland, the housing complex would include 40 percent affordable housing. “Our ancestors lived where Portland is now and many of our Tribal members still live there,” Tribal Council Chairwoman Kathryn Harrison said. “We’re proud to help build good housing that people can afford.”
1993 – The 10th anniversary of Tribal Restoration included a mini powwow at Grand Ronde grade school. Special guests included former Rep. Les AuCoin, who introduced the Grand Ronde Restoration Bill to Congress in 1983, his wife Sue, Don Wharton of the Native American Rights Fund, and State Sen. Dick Springer. Powwow Committee Chairman Merle Leno, his wife Claudia and Janell Haller were recognized for their many years of services and for organizing the event.
1988 – A higher education and career awareness workshop, sponsored by the Tribe’s education program, was held at the Nazarene Church in Grand Ronde. Participating colleges included Western Oregon State College, Eastern Oregon State College, the University of Oregon, Portland State University and Chemeketa Community College.
Yesteryears is a look back at Tribal history in five-year increments through the pages of Smoke Signals.