It’s really happening! After many long years of planning by the small volunteer Siletz Tribal Arts and Heritage Society Board, we have broken ground for the Siletz Cultural Center and Museum. Aptly named “Ghii De-Nee Dvn” or “A Place for the People” it’s a dream being realized.
The primary goal of the STAHS board has been to build a museum in Siletz. Many long hours have been spent over the past twelve years to reach that goal and at long last, we can celebrate the beginning of the completion of this project. We have had many board members come and go over the years, each contributing in their own special way. At times our number was only four. Thankfully, soon we will have a full working nine-member board. Members as of this writing are: Gloria Ingle, Chair; Teresa Simmons, Vice-chair/Secretary; Angela Ramirez, Treasurer; Glendora Osborn; Kent Rilatos; Shawna Gray; and Selina Rilatos. Our Capital Campaign Manager, Stephen Reichard, has guided us through the entire process and is responsible for applying for the grants and lobbying on our behalf during the years of the pandemic when nearly everything was shut down.
Groundbreaking is such a good word. It speaks of hope, the beginning of something new and progress. It describes so perfectly the full day of events that took place on March 11. After weeks of nasty weather, Mother Nature gave us the gift of a beautiful day, as if she was celebrating right along with us.
The day began with a reception held at the STAHS gift shop. An estimated 100 visitors made up the incredible mix of people who visited the Gift Shop/Museum Saturday morning and followed us to Government Hill for the groundbreaking at noon. It was exhilarating to share the beginning of this project with people from all across Lincoln County and beyond. Representatives from the Collins Foundation, the Roundhouse Foundation, Senator Jeff Merkley’s office, and members of the Warm Springs Tribe who drove through the snow came to our gathering. From the northern tip of what was once part of the Siletz Reservation representatives from the Tillamook Pioneer Museum came to wish us well. Senator Dick Anderson, representatives from the Lincoln County Historic Society and the North Lincoln County Historic Museum, along with Lincoln County Commissioners, Tribal Council members, architects from AKANA, individual donors, Tribal Elders and so many more joined in.
The celebration continued at a dinner hosted by STAHS to thank all those who have helped us reach our capital campaign goal. State Representative David Gomberg joined us for the evening meal that was held at the ballroom below the Chinook Seafood Grill at Chinook Ends Casino Resort. A silent auction with donations brought by the members of the STAHS board, a very short program, and delightful food gave the evening an informal air allowing all of us to spend time enjoying each other’s company. It was a proud and joyful event.
The largest portion of the funds needed to reach our goal was secured through the efforts of Oregon State Representative Dave Gomberg and State Senator Dick Anderson who lobbied on our behalf as did Senators Wyden and Merkley. We can’t thank them enough.
Now with the assurance of a 3 to 1 match from the Siletz Tribal Council, it’s time to start digging and building!
The STAHS Board of Directors is elated with the outpouring of support to see the dream of a cultural & heritage center for the Siletz Tribe become a reality. The groundbreaking has been over four decades in the making for the Tribe.
There are so many people that made this possible! From the individuals that bought cookbooks, sweatshirts, donated each year, participants at the Indian Fairs, to the foundations that wanted this as much as we did – we are so grateful to each & every one of you.