Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) 19??-current, April 15, 2012, Page 10 and 11, Image 19

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    10 APRIL 15,2012
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GRAND RONDE WOMEN
continued from front page
trade, women weavers of clothes
and baskets, women contributing to
our knowledge today of Native lan
guage, powwows and royalty, Res
toration efforts, present and former
women in Tribal government, and
"The Missing Generation," telling
the stories of Native women held
in prisons and mental institutions,
some used like test animals for so
called scientific research.
"A lot of this information has
never been collected before," said
Tribal member and Cultural Re
sources Department Manager David
Lewis. "The stories we are telling
are stories that have gone untold for
a century and a half. It is important
that we get them out there."
And yet, it still doesn't tell the
whole story.
"Halfway through, I realized
I can't do justice to my family,"
Brown said. "It would take more
months and more space, but I want
to capture the stories and the lives,
not just of the women, but the men
also before they are gone."
"For me," said Millie Harmon of
Salem, "the main thing is there is
so much information here that we
don't know and hasn't been gath
ered before. I'm really pleased that
someone has captured this before
the people have died."
Among the exhibits, Brown devel
oped a basket map tying together
different styles of weaving with
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Photos by Michelle Alaimo
Tribal mamber Stephanie Wood, right, tells Lisa Gilman, director of the
Folklore Studies program at the University of Oregon, about the section of
the "shawash-ill?i luchman ntsayka ikanum: Grand Ronde Women Our
Story" exhibit that includes her family during the exhibit's opening reception
at the Willamette Heritage Center at The Mill in Salem on Thursday, April 5.
Wood curated that portion of the exhibit for her master's degree terminal
project and Gilman is her adviser for the project.
different Native areas. She worked
more than two months with master
weaver Margaret Mathewson, who
also advises other Tribes interested
in local weaving methods.
The exhibit features many of the
raw materials from which baskets
are made and a sign encouraged
viewers to "Please touch."
"You don't see this kind of map,"
said Lewis. "And most of these
styles are from people who came
through Grand Ronde."
"It makes me so mad that we
gave them $35 for all their land,"
said Salem resident and Willamette
Heritage Center member Karen
Bender, referring to one section
of the exhibit. At Termination,
allotments of Tribal people were
sold as community property and
each Tribal member received $35.
'That's just unreal."
"Because of reading the stories,
it puts a face on Indian culture and
their heritage in the area," said her
husband, Ed. "We lived in Oregon all
our life, but we never heard this."
If the information was new to
some, for Tribal Elder Kathryn
Harrison the exhibit brought on
another reaction. "It takes me back
to some wonderful Elders,' she said.
"They really showed us the way.
They're the glue that held us to
gether. I'm proud of our women."
Tribal Council Chairwoman
Cheryle A. Kennedy said the big
thing was the attendance of so
many youth.
"Thank you to all the families
who brought children," Kennedy
said. "This is what it is all about:
to teach our children."
In fact, some 35 members
many of them youth of the Grand
Ronde Canoe Family attended for
drumming and singing at the din
ner. And many others were on hand
with their parents on the third floor
of the Mission Mill, where dinner
and drumming were held.
"The Canoe Family," said Har
rison, "they make you proud over
and over."
Among the youth was Tribal
member Dakota Ross, 10, who came
with his family. He had already
seen the exhibit.
"Really interesting," he said.
Kennedy also said that her own
grandmother and mother "raised us
to be strong women. As Grand Ronde
women, we stand. We hold our family
close. We encourage them."
Then, Kennedy spoke about pio
neer women. "These women that
came west on the Oregon Trail,
they are the hardiest of all human
beings. Now, we're all here together
forging forward in partnership."
"There isn't anyone here who
doesn't have a woman in their life
who made a difference," said Tribal
Council member Kathleen Tom.
"We very much value the part
nership and friendship (of the
Grand Ronde people)," said Ross
Stout, president of the Willamette
Heritage Center Board of Directors.
Noting four exhibits on which the
Heritage Center and the Tribe have
participated, Stout said, "We're
better telling the story of the Willa
mette Valley's first inhabitants."
Among their descendants was
Tribal member Mike Colton, who
came with his family to see the
credit that went to his late mother,
former Tribal Elder Jackie Whisler,
featured prominently in the section
on Tribal Restoration.
"This is something that is long
overdue," said Tribal Elder Gladys
Hobbs. "It's also nice to see that
we're letting everybody know we're
bringing our language and basket
weaving to the forefront. It's very
heartwarming."
"We should do more of these," said
Tribal member and Culture Com
mittee member Perri McDaniel.
At the same time, Brown was
thinking about the recent days
when she was working day and
night without much, if any, sleep
Tribal Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy, right, and Tribal Elder Margaret Provost watch a video that is part of the
"shawash-ill?i luchman ntsayka ikanum: Grand Ronde Women Our Story" exhibit during the exhibit's opening
reception at the Willamette Heritage Center at The Mill in Salem on Thursday, April 5.
getting the exhibit ready.
"I was tired," she said. "I wanted
to snuggle up in my jammies. And
I thought, 'What if I had to do the
Trail of Tears?'"
Brown led a group that included
Cultural Resources Program Man
ager Kathy Cole, Secretary Veron
ica Montano and Hermila Chavez,
as well as University of Oregon
graduate student Stephanie Wood
(all are members of the Tribe) in
putting the project together.
In addition, master weaver Mar
garet Matthewson, and Tribal
members Eirik Thorsgard, Travis
Mercier, Brian Krehbiel, Bobby
Mercier, David Harrelson and
Melisa Chandler participated. Kre
hbiel is Cultural Education special
ist, Mercier is Cultural Language
specialist, Harrelson is Cultural
Protection specialist and Chandler
is a Cultural Site monitor.
The exhibition runs at Willamette
Heritage Center through Monday,
May 28. D
By Ron Karten
Smoke Signals staff writer
SALEM When Pleasant
Valley Presbyterian Church was
being built in the late 1850s,
the Native peoples who would
become citizens of the Confeder
ated Tribes of Grand Ronde were
being forced marched from their
many homes up to the Grand
Ronde Reservation.
On Saturday, April 7, the
church, originally built in the
Aumsville area and moved to
the Willamette Heritage Center
site in the 1970s, was a place
where history buffs and other
Oregonians learned a little of
what it is like to be a woman
in the Grand Ronde Tribe, and
what made them the leaders they
are today.
As a supporting event to the
Grand Ronde exhibit, "shawash
ili?i luchman ntsayka ikanum:
Grand Ronde Women Our
Story," Tribal Elder June Ol
son read from her book, "Great
Circle, The Grand Ronde Reser-
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tiltoBirDaidFh)Bp fD
vation 1855-1905," and
signed copies.
"This work that she
has produced," said Peter
Booth, executive director
of Willamette Heritage
Center, "records a very,
very important transi
tion for the Grand Ronde
people."
"I wrote the book," Ol
son said, "because as a
Native American person,
I am pledged with remember
ing. She spoke about the process
of writing, read stories from the
book and answered questions.
Olson said the Trail of Tears
brought together peoples of dif
ferent languages, religious views
and philosophies. Tribes and
bands tended to stay together,
even building separate dance
houses.
"They were still trying to hold
on to their Native identity within
their new community," Olson
said. ,
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Photos by Ron Karten
Tribal Elder June Olson answers
questions from the audience during
her book reading at the Willamette
Heritage Center on Saturday, April 7.
The work also will be impor
tant for genealogical studies, she
said.
But it almost never got written.
"It took years to research," Olson
said, "but I didn't know how to
handle it. I walked around it for
awhile."
For a time, she put it away and
it might have stayed away if her
Willamette Heritage Center Executive Director Peter Booth introduces the panel discussion
featuring women leaders from the Grand Ronde Tribe. Former U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth
Furse, far left, moderated the panel that included, from left, Grand Ronde Tribal Elder Kathryn
Harrison, Tribal Council member Kathleen Tom and Tribal Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy.
daughter had not invited her to
an estate sale, completely un
related to the book project. At
the sale, they were giving away
historical magazines, which
included some interesting infor
mation about the Tribe, and "it
was just what I needed to keep
on with what I was doing."
Tribal Council member Kath
leen Tom called Olson, "One of
the treasures of our Tribe."
Following Olson's presentation,
former Oregon Congresswoman
Elizabeth Furse, who has long
been a friend of the Tribe and
was instrumental in helping the
Tribe's Restoration effort, served
as moderator for three of Grand
Ronde's women leaders: Tribal
Elder and former Tribal Chair
woman Kathryn Harrison, cur
rent Tribal Chairwoman Cheryle
A. Kennedy and Tom.
"I met Kathryn Harrison early,
early in the work of Restoration,"
Furse said. "She and I used to
travel to Washington, D.C., and
I can tell you that it wasn't first
class."
The work, however, was not in
vain. "The Tribe's contribution
has been hugely important to the
state and the local communities,"
Furse said.
She asked each of the female
leaders, "What kicked you into
being so active?"
For Harrison, it was her father.
"As I grew and lost my parents,
I always wanted to go home,"
she said. The Tribe became that
home.
When she got here, she thought,
"I'm walking the same path my
father walked, looking at the
same trees my father looked at. I
knew I'd feel at home there."
Kennedy said that she was
influenced by the murder of
her father when she was young.
Raised by her mother and her
grandmother, Kennedy learned
"not to be a slacker, and that
you have everything you need
within you to do the things of
this life."'
Her grandmother's father was
a medicine man. Her grand
mother would take her out and
teach her about different plants
and their uses. "I thought I was
special because she was sharing
this with me. She taught us that
we had to be careful how we live,
and that whatever we do, we do
it in a good way."
A missionary visiting the
family home picked Kennedy
out and told her, "You have
some unique qualities," and
suggested she had a future in
government.
"That was scary for me," she
said, "but others told me the
same thing."
In the end, "the big thing is to
have the willingness," she said.
Tom, who is on the board of
Willamette Heritage Center, is .
the fourth generation in her fam
ily to serve on Tribal Council.
"I don't think you wake up
every day and think you'll be a
leader, but duty was instilled in
me," Tom said.
As one of the many relocated
Native families, the Toms spent
many years away from Grand
Ronde. In 1989, she said, her
father, Tribal Elder Leon "Chip"
Tom, called and told her, "You
need to come back and serve
your people.
"My mom was a fighting Irish
woman who said, 'There is noth
ing you can't accomplish.' I
also always had strong women
around me. I remember when
I saw Kathryn Harrison, I
thought, T can do that.'
"It's a value we need to tell
our children: 'Run for office. You
can make a difference for your
people.' " B