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About Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) 19??-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 15, 2017)
S moke S ignals
DECEMBER 15, 2017
Collection was donated to the British Museum
from front page
Cultural Resources Department
staff from across programs will be
working to develop the exhibition,
which will include workshops,
presentations, gathering trips and
cultural classes connected to the
belongings on display. Artifacts and
belongings from Grand Ronde are
located in Russia, Japan, England,
France, The Netherlands, Canada
and the United States.
The Rev. Robert Summers, a Mc-
Minnville Episcopalian minister,
collected and purchased several
hundred items from the Tribe and
other Tribes when he lived in Or-
egon during the 1870s. He was a
naturalist as well as a minister and
maintained a journal with detailed
descriptions of each item, creating
a record of its history.
According to a blog by Native
historian and Tribal member David
Lewis, the Summers Collection con-
tains artifacts, baskets, tools, pipes,
bags and carvings, many of which
are believed to be originals from
the first Tribal members brought
to the Grand Ronde Reservation
in the 1850s.
The blog says that during his
time in Oregon, Summers and his
wife, Lucia, who was also a natu-
File photo courtesy of the Cultural Resources Department
This harpoon point is expected to be one of the artifacts that the Tribe will receive on loan from the British Museum.
ralist, traveled extensively to many
other Reservations. They collected
artifacts from Tribes, such as the
Siletz, the Klamath and those in
eastern Oregon, where they also
collected from burial mounds. At
Klamath, Summers was allegedly
so determined to obtain a neck-
lace that his wife literally traded
the dress she was wearing for the
The collection was donated to the
British Museum in 1900 after the
items had been given to another
missionary, the Rev. Selwyn C.
Freer, and both Summers and his
wife had died.
“In Summers’ journal, there is
a piece of correspondence where
he said that those items should go
back to the Tribes,” Edwards said.
Although it has been extremely
challenging for Tribes to have their
collections returned -- a full return
of items in the British Museum col-
lection takes an act of Parliament
-- the tide is beginning to change.
“The British Museum is starting
to understand the significance of
the items they have and returning
them back to communities,” Ed-
Although the items that Grand
Ronde will receive are on loan only
for a year, it represents an import-
ant first step.
“It was really a joint approach that
was an outgrowth of multiple con-
versations and conclusions of staff
and Tribal Council,” Edwards said.
“We took the approach that these
are important for many reasons, and
we are losing our connection to them
and what they exemplify.”
Edwards said Tribal Cultural
Collections Coordinator Veronica
Montano performed a bulk of the
work to secure the collection loan.
“We received word the Friday
before Restoration and I was ec-
static,” Edwards said. “But part of
that is having known there was a
team on it.”
He also thanked Cultural Re-
sources Department Manager Da-
vid Harrelson, Cultural Collection
specialists Sibyl Edwards and Nick
LaBonte, as well as the Tribe’s
Legal Department, Tribal Council
and executive team.
“Awareness at the British Muse-
um has also helped,” Edwards said.
“So have relationships through the
American Museum in New York.
It helped with recognition with
how important museum study and
engagement is to the Tribe.”
Montano said she was “a little
surprised” to receive word of the
“I didn’t think we would get it the
first time around,” she said. “But I
am super happy we did.”
Requesting a loan can be extreme-
ly time-consuming. Specifically, the
process has involved correspon-
dence, submittal of documentation
for use and display of the collection,
and reporting on the status of the
Tribe’s museum construction.
“One of the reports took eight
months to complete,” Montano
said. “Then it needed to be viewed,
revised and updated, and reviewed
Montano thanked everyone who
has helped over the years.
“Rob Greene (Tribal Attorney)
worked on this a lot,” she said. “A
lot of back work has been done to
make it successful.”
At the General Council meeting
held on Sunday, Dec. 3, Kennedy
recalled traveling to the British
Museum to view the collection.
“When I saw and handled those
articles, I could feel the presence of
our ancestors in each one,” Kenne-
dy said. “One was a pipe of many of
our grandfathers. As I unwrapped
it, I just felt like crying because
no one had seen it for 150 years.
… This loan is for us to celebrate
and welcome back these important
historical artifacts that embody the
spirit of our ancestors.”
WALK-IN DENTAL APPOI NTMENTS FOR KIDS <6
NO APPOINTMENT NECESSARY FOR DENTAL CHECK-UPS FOR KIDS 5 AND
UNDER WHO ARE ELIGIBLE TO BE SEEN AT THE TRIBAL CLINIC.
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