Cowlitz Country News - Archives - Grand Ronde Tribe
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January 2014

Grand Ronde: Mass Disenrollment Hits the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde - Part I - Up to 1,000 members (nearly 20% of the membership) of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon will be receiving letters of potential disenrollment, resulting in what could be the largest termination of American Indian citizenship in United States history.

Grand Ronde: Mass Disenrollment Hits the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde - Part II - Over the years our Tribal membership, through Constitutional amendments, has consistently pushed for tightening our membership requirements.

Grand Ronde: Aristocrat launches nLive online offering for Oregon casino - Land-based and online gaming technology supplier Aristocrat Technologies has launched its latest nLive play-for-fun online casino for Oregon’s Spirit Mountain Casino. Owned by the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Spirit Mountain Casino is Oregon's largest casino and entertainment destination.

Grand Ronde: Sauvie Island Academy and Confederated Tribes host cultural heritage night - Third grade students from Sauvie Island Academy will join tribal members from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde to host a Tribal Cultural Heritage Education Night in the school gymnasium on Dec. 12. This event is free and open to the public.

Grand Ronde: A Positive Portrayal - In the fight to keep Molalla High School the home of the Indians, Superintendent Tony Mann said he will continue school district efforts to forge a strong relationship with the leaders of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, which includes descendents of the Molalla tribe.

Grand Ronde: Disenrollment Tragedy: Family of 1855 Treaty-signer Getting Booted - Family members received letters from the tribe in September saying they had been enrolled in error, but they say their history with the tribe is clear: Their ancestor, Tumulth, was a leader of the Cascade Indians along the Columbia River who signed the 1855 Willamette Valley Treaty in which the United States assigned 27 disparate tribes bands and Indian communities to become the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. But before the tribe was formally created in 1856, Tumulth was executed, hanged with nine others by the U.S. Army. Note: Descendants of Tumulth also serve on the Cowlitz Indian Tribal Council, and yet these same Grand Ronde leaders say the Cowlitz have no connection to the area. When, I wonder, will they gang up with the Quinault leaders to lay claim to all of Cascadia?

December 2013

Grand Ronde: The first step on a lifetime of memories - A few years ago, Medford resident John Waldrop, a Marine who lost both his legs below the knees while serving in Vietnam, gave me an inexpensive but powerful gift. It was a little pin with two yellow footprints. A little over a year ago, I gave the pin with the yellow footprints to fellow Marine Steve Bobb, who had stood next to me that chilly March night in 1969. I figured Steve, who had been diagnosed with leukemia before I gave him the pin, needed a chuckle and a reminder of what he could endure.

October 2013

Grand Ronde: Oregon tribe pumps $10 million into Arlington’s MicroGREEN - Investors have pumped $42 million into sustainable plastics technologies company MicroGREEN Polymers Inc., the firm says. The latest cash infusion comes from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Ore., which, along with other investors, are backing the company with $10 million. The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde first learned about the MicroGREEN proposition from the Arlington-based Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, which invested $5 million earlier this year.

Grand Ronde: Willamina school adopts tribal education lessons - Willamina Elementary School fourth-graders will receive instruction in Grand Ronde tribal history this school year when a curriculum created by the nearby tribe is taught for the first time. Grand Ronde Adult Education Coordinator Trinity Minahan said the curriculum comes with supplemental resources, such as a Native American reading list compiled by Grand Ronde Tribal Librarian Marion Mercier, a specialized compact disc of Native music compiled by Grand Ronde Land and Culture manager and award-winning Native flutist Jan Looking Wolf Reibach, maps created by Grand Ronde Tribal GIS Coordinator Volker Mell and copies of the Tribe's seven ratified treaties and the Tribal Constitution.

Grand Ronde: Tribes invest in Arlington green plastics company - The Arlington sustainable plastics company MicroGREEN Polymers has seen $42 million of investment this year, including two donations from Pacific Northwest tribes. The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, an Oregon tribe, recently invested $10 million, inspired in part by a $5 million investment from the Stillaguamish Tribe earlier this year in January.

Grand Ronde: Kalapuya tribes remembered, honored in Washington County Museum's mobile exhibit - The Washington County Musuem's "Touching History Mobile Museum" program features a Paul Kane print in which they falsely claim that the Kalapuya baby in the cradleboard is being held by a Kalapuya woman. Another Grand Ronde lie? Paul Kane's Works describes this as a painting of a "Flathead woman and child, in which he combined a sketch of a Chinookan baby having its head flattened by being strapped to a cradle board with a later field portrait of a Cowlitz woman living in a different region."

Grand Ronde: 12 run for 3 seats on tribal council - Twelve candidates–including two current board members–are running for three open seats on the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde tribal council.

Grand Ronde: Canoe journey a chance to live the life - After more than 10 days and 277 nautical miles, Lisa Leno, 44, is ready to be home. Leno and her younger sister, Dana, are the daughters of David and Lyn Leno, all formerly of Cathlamet. Of Cathlamet, Lisa says, “I have good memories. It was the time of my life.”

Grand Ronde: Problem gambling clinic expands in Portland with $50,000 grant - Lewis & Clark College has received a $50,000 grant to expand its new -- and rapidly growing -- free clinic for problem gamblers. Lewis & Clark Problem Gambling Services is located within the college's Community Counseling Center in a building on Southwest Barbur Boulevard owned by the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. The tribes provided the expansion grant through the Spirit Mountain Community Fund -- money that comes from profits at the tribal casino.

Grand Ronde: Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest launch annual spiritual Canoe Journey in Newberg - Bobby Mercier, 36, woke up at 5 a.m. to load up for the annual sacred Canoe Journey. Mercier, who is muscular and tattooed and has a thin silver braid that falls to his waist, has been on eight journeys before this one with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

August 2013

Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw-Coquille-Cow Creek Umpqua-Grand Ronde: Local Tribes to host 'Northwest Shells & Cedar Summer Event' - Four western Oregon Tribes are holding a Northwest Shells & Cedar Summer Event from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at Champoeg State Heritage Park, 7679 Champoeg Road N.E., in St. Paul.

Grand Ronde: Bringing Back the Bow: Grand Ronde tribes regain a lost tradition in program that teaches Native kids to build bows - "This" is Bringing Back the Bow, a three-day summer camp in June for the tribes' youngsters, where a group of traditional archers, several from the Portland area, help the kids make their own longbows out of wooden staves. Some of the staves are harvested from the hills near Newberg.

Grand Ronde: Tribes, nonprofit acquire land for fish, wildlife conservation - The property, which cost $3.5 million, includes two miles of waterfront — one mile of creeks and one along the North Santiam — and 338 total acres of forest, wetlands and old farmland. The land will eventually be transferred to the Grand Ronde, who will serve as the site’s long-term steward. Funding for the project came from the Bonneville Power Administration through the Willamette Wildlife Habitat Agreement.

Grand Ronde: North Santiam River frontage protected for salmon in partnership with Western Rivers Conservancy - A habitat conservation project on the North Santiam River, a major historical provider of l salmon and steelhead to the Willamette River, was announced this week by the Western Rivers Conservancy of Portland. The non-profit conservancy worked with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Bonneville Power Administration and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to conserve two miles of the river, just downstream of Stayton.

June 2013

Grand Ronde: Building police department from the ground up - Mere months ago Alvin LaChance, the Grand Ronde Tribe's police chief, was enjoying his retirement, spending most of his time traveling with his wife, Susan. Now he is leading a brand new police department that next week will add its fifth officer. Comment: Doubtless, he knows not to pull over the yellow corvette that is driven by their vice chairman.

Grand Ronde-Siletz: Native American students celebrate rite of passage - The district’s Indian Education Program organizes the ceremony to honor native students. The program also offers tutoring, open study halls and summer college preparation programs. The Siletz Charitable Contributions Fund sponsored the Pendleton stoles, programs and food for graduation. Volunteers from the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde Color Guard carried the flags and handed out the eagle feathers at the ceremony.

May 2013

Grand Ronde: 'Teach our history, keep Native mascots,' Grand Ronde's corrupt and racist Mercedes-driving tribal chairman urges - The issue of Oregon public schools using tribal mascots continues to surface in the Oregon Legislature thanks to the inattentiveness of the state Board of Education to Oregon's nine federally recognized tribes. The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde wants to set the record straight on the subject.

Grand Ronde: No burial ground at landfill, says Tribe - According to Grand Ronde Tribal Officials, a misinformed rumor has circulated around the future creation of the berm at Waste Management’s Riverbend Landfill.

Grand Ronde: Some tribal members express concern that excavation will disturb ancestral burial grounds - Recently the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) approved a recommendation from Waste Management to build a mechanically stabilized earthen berm. If the proposal is approved, the new berm (essentially a wall) will be erected on the west side of the landfill, stretching 2,100 feet long and up to 40-feet tall. According to WM plans, in order to create the berm soft soil from the site will need to be excavated and replaced with a stabilizing compacted granular fill. Several members of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in attendance spoke about their concerns that the new soil excavation might overlap into their ancestral burial grounds.

Grand Ronde: All nations, all wars - No one seems to know who sculpted the nearly life-size Native American on his horse alongside two stampeding bison, but the huge piece of art has ended up inside the front gate of Bill and Gwin Stam’s 5 acres just north of the town of Jefferson, around the hill just past the cemetery. Late this week it will be dedicated as the All Nations Native American Veterans Memorial. “I just learned in the past few months that the Grand Ronde (tribe) once lived all through this area — they fished in the river right here. Their trails went all through these hills,” 78-year-old Bill Stam said. Comment: This is nowhere near Portland, Fort Vancouver, La Center, or any of the other communities in the State of Washington that the Grand Ronde leadership claims as part of their traditional territory. Maybe somebody should send them a map.

April 2013

Grand Ronde: Cheryle Kennedy of Dallas has played a major role in the comeback of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde - Former Grand Ronde Tribal Chairwoman Cheryle Kennedy, who participated in her tribe's efforts to shaft the Warm Springs and Cowlitz tribes, remembers the days when the Grand Ronde needed the help of the Warm Springs, though she disrespected the Warm Springs by making no mention of that in this interview.

Grand Ronde: Budget reduction means fewer Polk deputies - A reduction in the Polk County budget will mean only 20 hours of regular law enforcement coverage for Ballston, Buell, Perrydale and the non-tribal part of Grand Ronde in the county. Polk County includes much of Grand Ronde and a small part of Willamina. However, a contract between the Sheriff’s Office and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde as well as a donation from the Spirit Mountain Community Fund will maintain the current enforcement level in Grand Ronde, and Willamina contracts with Yamhill County for law enforcement.

Grand Ronde: Bill addressing reservation land introduced in Congress - A bill to streamline the process of incorporating tribal-owned land into the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde reservation was introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate in late February. The bill is essentially the same as the one introduced in 2011 in which hearings were held in 2012, but proceeded no further.

March 2013

Grand Ronde: Talk set on history of Grand Ronde tribes - Kathy Cole, Cultural Resources Department manager for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, presented a talk on the history, language and culture of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde on Feb. 8. She is a native language teacher and fluent speaker of the “chinuk wawa” trade jargon.

Grand Ronde: SAM Medical sells minority stake to Grande Ronde tribe - The Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde this month acquired a minority stake in SAM Medical Products that will help spur new product development at the Wilsonville-based manufacturer.

February 2013

Grand Ronde: SAM Medical Products Receives Investment from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde - SAM Medical Products, Wilsonville, Oregon, has sold a minority stake in the company to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. The cash investment will allow SAM Medical to accelerate new product development, and to expand their marketing and sales capabilities over the next five years. Comment: Another part of the Grand Ronde economic development plan is to trample the efforts of neighboring tribes. Disgraceful!

January 2013

Grand Ronde: Tactical Training - A trio of police officers navigate their way through hallways, doors and screams in the old Willamina Middle School in Grand Ronde. This was the third joint session since 2010 for the county's three municipal police departments, Grand Ronde's new tribal police and the county sheriff's office.

December 2012

Grand Ronde: Tribe celebrates 29 years of Restoration on Nov. 18 - Thanksgiving Day on Nov. 22 this year marked the official 29th anniversary of the federal government restoring recognition of the Grand Ronde Tribe, giving the hope of renewal to 850 Tribal members recorded on the Grand Ronde Termination rolls and for their heirs going forward.

Grand Ronde: Former tribal councilor sentenced - Former Grand Ronde Tribal Councilor Valorie Sheker Robertson will spend the next 18 months on probation after pleading guilty in Polk County Circuit Court to one count of possession of a controlled substance/methamphetamine, a Class C felony.

Grand Ronde: New middle school sex ed program approved - After a month’s time in which to consider the proposed new middle school sexual education program, Willamina’s School Board voted unanimously to adopt the program at last week’s board meeting. The program will be offered with support from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde’s Youth Prevention Program which received a four-year grant to institute sexual education in the community. The tribe has offered to share the program with the district at no charge.

November 2012

Grand Ronde: Oregon casino proposal meets familiar foe and suffers familiar setback - Three times, groups have made a run at developing a casino near Portland only to be beaten back by an Oregon tribe that barely existed 30 years ago. If there was any doubt, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde once again have demonstrated their political and financial clout when someone threatens their bread and butter. "Unfortunately, we get pulled into these fights that we did not create," says Justin Martin, who lobbies for the Grand Ronde and is a tribal member. "We've had to step up and make sure Oregonians get the message about what's really going on here." The overall message could hardly be clearer: Try to intrude on Spirit Mountain's turf and expect a well-funded counterattack.

Grand Ronde: Tribes Continue To Spend Big Against Dead Casino - Nearly two weeks after Canadian investors abandoned their $6 million campaign to turn Wood Village into Monte Carlo with a water slide, the Grand Ronde tribe continues to pump money into advertising aimed at defeating Measures 82 and 83. A new poll The Oregonian released yesterday show the measures are likely to be defeated by more than a two-to-one margin, yet filings today show the Grand Ronde has dumped another $623,000 into the "It's Still a Bad Idea" committee, which opposes the casino measures. The Grand Ronde have now spent more than $2.5 million this year to defend their position as the largest casino in the state.

October 2012

Grand Ronde: Tribe shares grant for new sex ed program - Amber Mercier, a representative of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde’s Youth Prevention Program, gave a presentation to board members about the Federal Tribal Personal Responsibility Education Grant which the Tribes have recently received. The grant is designed to help the Tribes implement a more comprehensive sexual education program, which the Youth Prevention Program is offering to share with Willamina Middle School at no cost to the district.

Grand Ronde: Tribal Elder Receives Two Awards in One Week - Though she received two prestigious awards in less than one week in September, that doesn’t begin to tell the story of Grand Ronde tribal elder Kathryn Harrison. Her most recent awards include being named a History Maker on September 27 by the Oregon Historical Society and receiving the 2012 Betty Roberts Woman in Leadership Award September 28.

Grand Ronde: Sacred Meteorites Under Glass: Tribes and First Nations Fight for Spiritual Integrity - The recent sale of a piece of the Willamette Meteorite, revered by the Grand Ronde tribes of Oregon, and the Cree struggle to retrieve a 330-pound meteorite that is housed in an Alberta museum, are raising ire in Indian country on both sides of the 49th Parallel. When pieces of Turtle Island’s most famous meteorite, the Willamette, came up for auction on October 14 in New York City, the news did not go over well in Indian country.

Grand Ronde: Willamette Meteorite Chunk Part of Largest Meteorite Auction Ever in NYC - The largest meteorite auction ever is scheduled to be held in New York City on October 14, and among those on the auction block is a piece of the Willamette Meteorite, claimed by the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde in Oregon as sacred. Though the bulk of the Willamette is owned by the American Museum of Natural History, a 28-pound slice of it belongs to Darryl Pitt, the collector who is conducting the sale.

Grand Ronde-Siletz: Donald Gene Hudson - Donald Gene Hudson, 65, of Siletz, Ore., died of cancer on Oct. 7, 2012. Don was a member of the Grand Ronde and Siletz tribes. He was dedicated to the service of Native American people and worked as a program developer to assist other Native Americans in finding employment and developing job skills. He was a member of several Native American honor guards, NIVA (Northwest Indian Veterans Association), and Siletz VFW.

Grand Ronde: Tribes pour another $247,000 into anti-casino fight - The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, whose Spirit Mountain Casino would be the big loser if a commercial casino is built in the Portland area, has kicked in another $247,000 to fight the two ballot measures aimed at siting a casino in Wood Village.

September 2012

Grand Ronde: Tribe Promotes "Vegas-Style" Gambling, Decries "Vegas-Sized" Grange - Opponents of a proposed Wood Village casino released their first television ad Thursday, deriding the project called the Grange by redubbing it "the Grunge.” The ad—created by Still a Bad Idea PAC and paid for primarily by the owners of Oregon’s largest existing casino, the Grand Ronde tribe—notes...“It would be a foreign-owned, Vegas-sized casino,” the ad warns. However, on the same day their anti-Vegas ad debuted, the Grand Ronde tribe paid for an advertising supplement in The Oregonian, promoting Spirit Mountain Casino as the perfect weekend getaway from Portland. The Grand Ronde ad touts “Vegas-style gaming” in the headline.

Grand Ronde: Two incumbents, newcomer elected to Grand Ronde Tribal Council - Newcomer Jon George and incumbents Cheryle Kennedy and Toby McClary were elected Saturday to serve three-year terms on the Grand Ronde Tribal Council. Chairperson Kennedy received 480 votes, or 14.2 percent of the vote. McClary trailed by just 13 votes, 467, or 13.8 percent. George polled 397 votes, or 11.7 percent. Kennedy was elected to a fifth consecutive term and McClary a second straight term. Other vote getters were: Denise Harvey, 387; Mark Mercier, 320; Andy Jenness, 293; Brenda Tuomi, 242; Charles Haller III, 196; Lonnie Leno, 194; Jesse Knight, 179; Billy Bobb, 96; Solomon George, 75, and Allen Lane-Butler, 62.

Grand Ronde: A peek into Molalla's pioneer past - For hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years, natives and wild animals followed the well-established game trail leading north and south, which is now Highway 213, intersecting with the trail leading east and west, which is now Highway 211. This was the area in which the Molala Tribe chose to make their home.

Grand Ronde: Project Space 'We're All Immigrants' exhibit wants to evoke participation, discussion - Project Space, the Salem Art Association’s summer downtown gallery, is meant to provoke discussion along with displaying art. An example is one of the current exhibits: a photo show titled “We’re All Immigrants (Unless You’re Kalapuya).” In it, four photographers from varied backgrounds explore their roots, including Chuck Williams, who descended from Cascade Chinook Indians and Oregon pioneers. Williams, an enrolled member of The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, said his work is informed by his mixed Indian/Euro-American heritage. Note: The Cascades were not Chinook. See: Northwest Indians Coastal Tribes

Grand Ronde: Remains found in '52 to be delivered to tribes - Human remains and funerary items found near the Little Applegate River more than 60 years ago likely will be presented to the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde later this month. The remains — in the form of 10 teeth — and funerary items, given to the Southern Oregon Historical Society in 1952 by a local miner, were uncovered on land once occupied by tribal ancestors. They will be given to the Grande Ronde tribes if no other tribe steps forward to make a claim by Sept. 24, according to the SOHS.

August 2012

Grand Ronde: Lewis discusses Tribal Prohibition - Tribal Elders remember their parents and grandparents making and selling alcohol during the era of American Prohibition. They sold it to outlets in McMinnville, Salem and Portland. There was a report that the BIA hired a private investigator to look into the illegal activity, but there was not much will to stop the activities. Reservation stills fed speakeasies in Salem at the Reed Opera House, Capitol Towers and “a malt shop on State Street,” as a member of the audience said.

Grand Ronde: Tribe, Pentacle Theater among cultural grant recipients - The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde (CTGR) and Pentacle Theater were among the recipients of recent Oregon Cultural Trust grants. The Oregon Cultural Trust Board announced July 31 that it issued $502,552 in competitive cultural development grants, including 11 awards totaling $105,252 in the Willamette Valley. The tribe earned a $15,000 award, while Pentacle’s share was $10,000.

Grand Ronde-Siletz: County backs Grand Ronde in tribal dispute - The Siletz sought support for taking land into trust anywhere in the long-dissolved Coast Reservation, established in 1855 for all of Western Oregon's tribes. That would open up 1.1 million acres in six counties -- Tillamook, Lincoln, Yamhill, Lane and Douglas. However, the Grand Ronde Tribe also lays claim to former Coast Reservation lands, as does the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Tribe. The Grand Ronde deliberately omitted the contested lands from their bill, recently introduced by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, and felt the Siletz should have done the same with its legislation, being carried by U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader. Comment: Let's not forget that the Grand Ronde leaders are also trying to claim all of the Cowlitz and Chinook territory in south west Washington State, too.

July 2012

Grand Ronde: US trip for waka captain - Kaitaia man Chappy Harrison (Ngati Kahu), who captained the waka Te Hono ki Aotearoa on the River Thames last month for the Queen's 60th jubilee celebrations, will fly to the US next week to take part in an epic Native American canoe journey. Now Mr Harrison and fellow crew member Joe Conrad are preparing to join the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde on a 200km Tribal Canoe Journey in Washington State that will take them to Squaxin Island in Puget Sound, near Canada's Vancouver Island.

Grand Ronde: Tribes to hold veterans' powow - The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde announced that the Uyxat Powwow Grounds, located off Hebo Road at Fort Yamhill State Park, will host its next event Friday through Sunday. The 2012 Marcellus Norwest Memorial Veterans’ Powwow, renamed in honor of a U.S. Army veteran and tribal elder who “walked on in 2011,” begins Friday with the first Grand entry scheduled for 7 p.m. Grand entries are also slated for 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and again at 1 p.m. Sunday.

June 2012

Grand Ronde: Tribal council seat vacant after vote - Valorie Sheker Robertson’s seat on the Grand Ronde Tribal Council, one of three up for election this fall, has been vacated by a vote of her colleagues. Comment: Although the details in this case are reasonable, a problem that members of some tribal councils face is that they can be recalled by their peers simply for making motions that anger the dominant factions. This leads to the formation of voting blocs to promote the best interests of the factions rather than of the tribe.

Grand Ronde-Warm Springs: Feds Assist Warm Springs Use of Tribal Foods - The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs were among 27 grant awardees announced Monday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A $30,000 grant will help the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs conduct a feasibility study and develop a business plan for the commercial processing and freezing of traditional tribal foods, such as salmon, elk, mushrooms and berries. In addition, the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde has been selected to receive a $30,000 grant to develop a marketplace where more than 30 tribal artisans may sell local basketry, paintings, traditional clothing, jewelry, sculpture and more.

Grand Ronde: To End Racism, State Should Mandate Teaching Oregon Tribal History - The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, along with representatives from some of the other nine federally recognized Tribes in Oregon, does not support the recent Oregon Board of Education decision to ban Native mascots used by some high schools.

Grand Ronde: Celebrating 15 Years and $56M in Charitable Donations—The ‘Spirit’ of Grand Ronde’s Spirit Mountain Community Fund - At the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon’s Spirit Mountain Casino, wide smiles light up senior citizens’ faces as they disembark tour busses, ready for a day of play at the most successful casino in the Pacific Northwest. It’s Oregon’s top attraction, drawing three million visitors a year. Spirit Mountain provides the backdrop. And to top that, you can feel good about playing, knowing you’re contributing to the six percent of net profit the Grand Ronde Tribe’s Spirit Mountain Community Fund dedicates to charitable organizations in Western Oregon, and to tribes located anywhere in Oregon. Comment: That must be why it's okay for the Grand Ronde leadership to attack the efforts of the Warm Springs and Cowlitz tribes and contribute to their poverty. It's really all for a good cause.

May 2012

Grand Ronde: Tribe to honor vets - The annual Grand Ronde Memorial Day Observance that will be celebrated at 1 p.m. Monday at the West Valley Veterans' Memorial has special significance with Steve Bobb. A Grand Ronde Tribal Council member, tribal elder and Vietnam veteran, Bobb created the memorial north of Highway 18 on Grand Ronde Road.

Grand Ronde: Artifact found in Salem is a biface - Micheaylaa Engman made a trade this week, much like what the Kalapuya people might have done more than 200 years ago. She traded a Native American artifact that she found in her front yard to The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in exchange for a modern arrowhead and a shell necklace made by tribal members, and a book and DVD about the tribes.

Grand Ronde: Tribal leader faces meth, assault case - Valorie C. Robertson, due to complete a three-year term on the Grand Ronde Tribal Council on Sept. 1, was arrested Tuesday by the Polk County Sheriff's Office on assault and drug charges. Robertson, 49, who also goes by the name Valorie Sheker, was charged with one count each of fourth-degree domestic assault, harassment and possession of a controlled substance/methamphetamine.

April 2012

Grand Ronde: Trees Head To The Grand Ronde Tribe - 800 cedar and yew trees cut from the west end of the Sellwood Bridge to make way for the replacement bridge project are being given to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde under a 157-year-old treaty. The bridge is located in the tribe's traditional homeland, so they're getting the trees under the Willamette Valley Treaty of 1855.

Grand Ronde: Generous backers dwarf community funding as Mary Nolan takes on Amanda Fritz for Portland City Council - It seems clear that the Democratic Party establishment is intent on replacing Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz. They have recruited a candidate, state Rep. Mary Nolan, and have funded her, as of last reporting, with more than $160,000 in campaign money, mostly from unions and special interests. As far as non-union donations are concerned, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde have kicked in $7,500. With an eye toward future casino ventures, wouldn't the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde enjoy having a sympathetic ear on the council?

Grand Ronde: Telling the Story of Injustice and Peace / Grand Ronde Women – Our Story - The story of Grand Ronde women will be made available April 6th through May 28th at the Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill when the exhibit shawash ill?í luchm?n – ntsayka ikanum: Grand Ronde Women – Our Story will show the importance of women to the Native community in western Oregon with photographs, handmade cultural treasures, murals and the living voices of these survivors. Bringing the tale of native peoples to Salem seems natural to tribal elder and Tribal Chair Cheryle Kennedy. “In our culture certain sites are known for gathering,” she told the Salem Weekly. “Salem is one of those important sites, because of our history with the river.”

Grand Ronde: General Council briefed on Tribe's Contract Health expansion effort - The Tribal membership was briefed on the Tribe’s continuing efforts to expand its Contract Health Service Delivery Area, which has the potential of saving a significant amount of Tribal dollars, on Sunday, April 1, at the General Council meeting held at the Monarch Hotel near Clackamas Town Center. In 2010, the Grand Ronde Tribe proposed adding 13 more Oregon counties and two counties in southwestern Washington state to its designated delivery area. Those 15 counties reflect the Tribe’s ceded lands. However, other Tribes – Coos, Coquille, Cowlitz, Cow Creek, Klamath, Siletz and Warm Springs – objected to the Grand Ronde proposal for expansion because it might affect their user populations and, hence, federal funding. Comment: The ceded lands of the Grand Ronde tribe do not include the territories of the several other tribes that the Grand Ronde tried to expropriate, and their effort would have adversely affected the members of all of the tribes listed above.

March 2012

Grand Ronde: Terminated: 'Things weren’t the same after that' - In 1856, several tribes realized their own "trail of tears" when they were forcibly moved to the newly established Grand Ronde reservation. Nearly 100 years later, in an effort to assimilate Native Americans, the government passed a bill declaring the Grand Ronde tribe, along with several others, terminated. “It changed our lives,” said Margaret Provost, 80, who remembered being told she was no longer an Indian. "Things weren’t the same after that."

Grand Ronde: Plan calls for borrowing $16 million for bypass - The Yamhill County Parkway Committee unveiled its long-awaited local match plan Wednesday for Phase I of the Newberg-Dundee Bypass. The match plan calls for Yamhill County and the cities of McMinnville, Dundee and Newberg to augment an earlier contribution - $4 million pledged by the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde - by borrowing $16 million through Oregon Department of Transportation's revolving infrastructure loan program.

February 2012

Grand Ronde: Kennedy testifies before Senate in support of Reservation Act amendment - Grand Ronde Tribal Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy testified on Thursday, Feb. 2, before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in support of Senate Bill 356, which would amend the 1988 Grand Ronde Reservation Act to streamline how the Tribe takes former reservation land into trust. Also during her testimony, which was delayed by almost four hours because of 18 floor votes that occurred in the U.S. Senate, Kennedy testified against a bill that would expand the Siletz Reservation. She was joined by Robert Garcia, chairman of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, in opposing the Siletz bill.

Grand Ronde: Preserving a native tongue: Tribe works to maintain elders' language - A new dictionary, 14 years in the making, will help their elders' words live on for The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. "Chinuk Wawa: As Our Elders Teach Us To Speak It" is the latest effort to revive the language that Northwest tribes used to communicate with each other and with traders. The last native speaker at Grand Ronde died in 2001.

Grand Ronde: Willamette installs president - Willamette University's G. Herbert Smith Auditorium was nearly full for Stephen Thorsett's inauguration ceremony Friday afternoon, and the crowd was rewarded with a retrospection on the community and the college. Bobby Mercier, language and cultural specialist with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, said the tribes look forward to continuing their relationship with the university.

January 2012

Grande Ronde: Two Powwows - Here at Indian Country Today Media Network, we’re always thrilled to showcase incredible photography, which has the spirit behind our ongoing powwow portrait series. So far, we’ve yet to receive any photos that didn’t look professionally done, and in the case of the photos we received from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, they were professional. The Confederated Tribes include the Rogue River, Umpqua, Chasta, Kalapuya, Molalla, Salmon River, Tillamook and Nestucca Indians. Enjoy the photos, and please, if you’d like to see your stunning shots end up on Indian Country Today Media Network, please send them to

Grande Ronde: The newest exhibit at the Willamette Heritage Center at The Mill views Oregon history through the lives of women - "Willamette Women: Our History Is Our Strength" opened Friday. The second annual Heritage Invitational features mini-exhibits from 21 other Mid-Valley museums, schools and organizations. It runs until March 10. The next show will focus on Native American women in the Valley. It's being curated by the Cultural Resources Department of The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

December 2011

Grand Ronde: Tribal people get say in Table Rocks - Agreement giving tribe a say in how the Table Rocks will be managed is a step in healing the wounds of forced relocation. Basically, the agreement places the tribe as equals in future management of the Upper and Lower Table Rocks.

Grand Ronde-Siletz: The long fight for 'our country' - Part 1 - The slaughter of Indians at Little Butte Creek in October 1855 launched the nine-month Rogue River Indian Wars.

Grand Ronde-Siletz: Speaking out for American Indians - Part 2 - John Beeson risks his life to speak out against violence toward Indians: Beeson spoke out against the poor treatment of Indians by his fellow settlers after he and his wife, Ann, and their son Welborn arrived in Talent in 1853.

Grand Ronde: Floyd Charles Daniels - A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, December 9, 2011, at 1 p.m. at Wilson's Chapel of the Roses.

November 2011

Grand Ronde: Obama initiative may give public more of Table Rocks

Grand Ronde-Siletz: City pays tribes for tax overpayment

Grand Ronde: Tribe vows $4 million to bypass

Grand Ronde: Find a chance to be awed by nature

THE KALAPUYANS: A SOURCEBOOK ON THE INDIANS OF THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY. 2ND EDITION. With a new afterward from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and an updated bibliography. [Paperback]
Pendleton Blanket: Spirit of the Peoples
Old Hickory Wool Buffalo Throw Blanket by Pendleton

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Rod Van Mechelen, Publisher & Editor, Cowlitz Country News

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