Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) 19??-current, June 01, 2013, Page 6, Image 6

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    6 JUNE 1,2013
Smoke Signals
Tnbe Cwstts FoirsG SaDmnKDini PomiirDOir
By Dean Rhodes
Smoke Sinnnlt editor
WEST LINN Nine days af
ter holding n private Tribal First
Salmon Ceremony at the Mclean
House in West Linn the first for
the Tribe in 130 years the Con
federated Tribes of Grand Ronde
held a public First Salmon Dinner
in the same spot to commemorate
salmon returning to the Willamette
The dinner also complemented
the Tribe's relationship with the
Willamette I'artnership, a coalition
of diverse leaders working "to shift
the way people value, manage and
regulate our environment," accord
ing to the partnership's Web site.
Grand Ronde Tribal Council
member Chris Mercier sits on the
partnership's Board of Directors.
"The celebration reminds us of
the role the salmon has historically
played in the lives of our people,"
Mercier said. "Not only
that, but it also highlighted
that the Willamette River
has always been a vital
part of life in the valley,
of not only our ancestors,
but of most Oregonians.
The celebration reaffirmed
the Tribe's commitment
to being a good steward
of our ancestral lands and
The event started at 5
p.m. with hors d'oeuvres
prepared by chef Matt
Bennett of Sybaris Bis
tro in Albany. Attendees
sampled a "Northwest su
shi" of seared venison loin in a ha
zelnut Oregon roll, lightly pickled
mussels, teriyaki eel and foie gras,
steelhead rillettes and a "canoe" of
crayfish salad.
At 5:45 p.m., Tribal Public Affairs
Director Siobhan Taylor led attend
ees on a walk around the McLean
House and briefly told guests about
the Tribe's salmon tradition and
the Tribal artwork displayed on
the path.
As Taylor recited the Tribal story,
the Tribe's Portland area drum
group, Place of Our Ancestors,
which includes Eric and Erin Ber
nando, Jordan Mercier, Tribal
Council members Jon A. George
and Chris Mercier, Elders Dolores
Parmenter and Debi Anderson,
Lisa and Greg Archuleta, Lei-Lani
Hernandez and Sam Robinson
(Chinook), drummed and sang.
Tribal Council members Cheryle
A. Kennedy and Kathleen Tom at
tended as well.
"One hundred and 30 years ago
was the last time the people who
make up the Confederated Tribes
of Grand Ronde conducted a salmon
ceremony here," Taylor said while
standing on a log. "Some of the
Tribal people here tonight are di
rect descendants of those people.
Chef Matt Bennett, owner of Sybaris
Bistro in Albany, plates the main
course of Chinook salmon, roasted
spring vegetables and wild ginger
royale during the First Salmon
Dinner at the McLean House in West
Linn on Wednesday, May 1 5.
Chief Oregon John was a member
of the Willamette Tumwater Chi
nook, which controlled Willamette
"In this spot a week ago, the first
Salmon Ceremony in 130 years was
held. Today will be the first time
in 130 years that we can celebrate
the return of salmon publicly with
our friends."
Taylor walked guests past carved
and painted cedar planks that told
the story of the salmon, the falls
and the Grand Ronde people.
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page to see more photos
"We have been here tens of thou
sands of years and we will be here
tens of thousands of years more,"
Taylor said. "And we hope to have
healthy fish in our rivers."
She also told the story of how
Crow saved the last salmon egg
from destruction so that Tribal
' fx. Zj
. T k : m ' 4 J
Photos by Michelle Alaimo
Tribal Public Affairs Director
Siobhan Taylor, standing on a
log, tells attendees a story of the
Confederated Tribes of Grand
Ronde from its Trail of Tears to the
Reservation to the Termination era
to Restoration to today on a walk
around the McLean House during
the First Salmon Dinner held in West
Linn on Wednesday, May 1 5.
From left, Eric Bernando, Lisa
Archuleta, Tribal Elder Dolores
Parmenter, Erin Bernando,
Tribal Elder Debi Anderson, Sam
Robinson (Chinook), Jordan
Mercier, Tribal Council member
Jon A. George, Greg Archuleta
and Tribal Council member Chris
Mercier drum and sing during
the First Salmon Dinner at the
McLean House in West Linn on
Wednesday, May 1 5.
peoples would always have salmon
to eat.
"This ceremony gives thanks for
the fish," Taylor said. "We eat ev
erything and the remains go back
to the river to ensure the continued
return of salmon for the genera
tions to come."
Upon arriving at the Tribal drum
group, attendees listened to Ken
nedy give an invocation and were
introduced to Tom, Mercier and
"We are the people of the salmon,"
Kennedy said after giving the invo
cation, "and as long as the salmon
continue to flourish, the people of
the salmon will flourish as well."
Kennedy said her grandfather's
village was located at the current
site of the McLean House. She said
the five wooden herons surrounding
the house's lawn derived from his
telling of the story of the five herons
who watched for the salmon return
every year.
"I think the people who are here
share the same vision as the Tribe,"
Tom said. "I think you are here for
a purpose. You're here to meet the
Tribes that were here. We welcome
you to our ceded lands ... we appre-
continued on page 7