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(Many Paths)
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Tribe Formally Dedicates New Veterans Memorial Wall
by Puyallup Tribal News
The Memorial Wall is shaped in a circle, which Puyallup Tribal Council Vice-Chairwoman Roleen Hargrove said is “a sacred circle filled with a lot of blood, sweat and tears that was constructed with love, with gratitude and most of all with honor.”

Under a beautiful sunny sky on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the Puyallup Tribe held the formal dedication ceremony for its new Veterans Memorial Wall. Gathering outside of Takopid Health Center with men and women in dress uniforms representing many branches of military service, tribal members mixed with friends and family, visitors and honored guests for this important occasion.

The memorial is now fully complete, with benches to sit on, new landscaping to admire and young evergreen trees planted. The last portion of the wall to be installed were eight bronze medallions, 36-inches in diameter and representing eight branches of service: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, National Guard and Air National Guard.

Debra Sharp, project coordinator with the Tribe’s Design and Construction Management Department, remarked over the beauty of the memorial and explained that some trees had to be removed from the site but only because of their poor health.

“There were some existing trees and a lot of the community was sad to see us cut those trees down,” she said. “But we had an assessment done and the bigger trees were in poor health with fungus and structural weakness.” She acknowledged how difficult it was for tribal members to see the trees come down, but the risk of the trees falling was too serious to ignore.

When the dedication ceremony was ready to begin, members of the Puyallup Tribe’s Veterans Committee opened the event with committee chairman Clarence Tougaw as emcee. A mix of joy and some sadness was felt among the large turnout, as everyone gave thanks for the servicemen and servicewomen present and those who have passed.

“Father, in the name of Jesus we come before you today to honor all of our veterans and all veterans who have gone to the other side,” said veteran Jim Westcott in his opening prayer. With assistance from Puyallup Tribal Veterans Committee Vice-Chair Michael Sisson, a tobacco offering was made to the spirits of the north, east, south and west, to the spirit of the earth and to the memorial itself. “I pray for direction and understanding and wisdom for everybody here. The Word says if you ask for wisdom, you’ll get it liberally,” Jim Westcott prayed.

The drum group offered four beautiful songs.

Then the drum group offered up three songs – a Flag Song, an Honor Song and the deeply moving “Soldier Boy.” The drum group consisted of Soloman Scabbyrobe, Otto Eaglespeaker, Joseph Kickingwoman, DJ Brunner, David Duenas and Stanley Whiteman.

Puyallup Tribal Council Chairman Bill Sterud gave the opening remarks before inviting the rest of the Tribal Council up to the podium.

“Today, on this sunny day, our Tribe’s long awaited veterans memorial wall dedication is taking place,” he said. “We have a long list of veteran tribal members over the years, many who have passed to the other side, but I know they are watching today this ceremony with all our ancestors.”

He asked for a moment of silence for those veterans who are no longer with us, as Puyallup tribal member David Duenas silently talked to the ancestors while the crowd remained hushed and the drum was struck four times.

Puyallup Chairman Bill Sterud and his fellow Council members all spoke lovingly of tribal veterans and all veterans who dedicate their lives to serving their country.

“Today, here, we have a place of peace – a place to think of our veterans in a good way. A place of honor for a special group of men and women, a place to give special recognition for without our veterans and their sacrifices, what would our world be? I’m honored and humbled to be a part of this Veterans Day celebration and the dedication of this amazing Veterans Memorial Wall.” Bill Sterud said

Clarence Tougaw approached the microphone and draped Chairman Sterud in a blanket. “On behalf of the tribal veterans, without the Tribal Council we would not have gotten this far,” Clarence Tougaw said. “We would like to say thank you. It’s been a long, hard row to plow to get to where we are now. If it wasn’t for Tribal Council being there to back us up the whole way, we wouldn’t be here today.”

Tribal Councilman and Vietnam veteran Larry LaPointe could not be there that day, but sent a statement that Bill Sterud read: “Our people, based on our per capita population, were there when these United States of America declared war in all major theaters of conflicts, where…aid was needed by foreign countries to provide the strength to defeat those aggressors. Native indigenous people of this land will forever believe that all these foreign and domestic wars bring unspeakable threats to the land of our ancestors, our elders and children.”

Each member of the Tribal Council then said a few words, and each was gifted with a blanket.

Puyallup Tribal Councilmember Tim Reynon expressed gratitude for all veterans.

“I hope that as each of you pass by this wonderful memorial…that you’ll be reminded of the sacrifice and everything (our veterans) did for us,” said Council Member Tim Reynon. “I hope that you veterans as you pass by will recognize just how grateful we are for you, how much we love you and appreciate all that you’ve done for us. I raise my hands to each one of you and say thank you so much.”

Council Member David Bean spoke in loving memory of Puyallup Chairman Herman Dillon Sr., who was also a veteran. “Maybe he’s the one who ordered up this beautiful weather today,” David said. “Native Americans served at the highest level of any ethic group in the military. They fought for future generations so that we could be here today.” He raised his hands to all the staff that worked on the memorial. “This was a very long process that started many years ago. It’s been a long journey and certainly was worth the wait.”

Council Member Sylvia Miller said words could never express her appreciation for all veterans. “You’ve given your whole lives,” she told the crowd. “Some say that those who have passed gave their lives so we could be here today – you veterans who are standing here have given your lives too. Your lives will never be the same. I can’t imagine what you had to see, what you had to do, so I just want to say words will never express how much I appreciate what you’ve done for us. I hope that every time everybody comes by here that this will show how much we appreciate what you guys have done for us.”

Puyallup Vice-Chairwoman Roleen Hargrove described the memorial as “a sacred circle filled with a lot of blood, sweat and tears that was constructed with love, with gratitude and most of all with honor.” She pointed out the memorial’s welcoming entrance where the first thing that visitors see is a sacred salmon inlaid into the pavement to represent the Puyallup’s fishing heritage. “When you come, we invite you – our veterans invite you – to come within this circle and pray, recognize and most of all honor all of our veterans, all of our ancestors, for the fight that they have gone through to get us to where we are today. Please, whenever you come don’t just pass by – enter and remember those that fight for our freedom, Native and non-Native alike.”

Puyallup Tribal Veterans respectfully carried six flags to be raised on the Veterans Memorial’s flagpoles.

A number of honored guests were in the audience for the dedication, including Jim Baumgart, policy advisor on behalf of Gov. Jay Inslee, and Steven J. Gill, tribal liaison and administrator for the Veterans Services Division of the Washington State Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

Jim Baumgart read a proclamation from state Gov. Jay Inslee. “So as of this day, Jay Inslee, Governor of the State of Washington, does proclaim today – Nov. 11, 2015 – as Veterans Day in the State of Washington and urges all people to acknowledge and honor the contributions of our veterans and the principles of democracy, individual freedoms and human rights which are so well represented here today in this memorial.”

Steven J. Gill spoke as a veteran himself, which he said had special meaning that day “to say thank you to my brothers, my sisters, all of the veterans that have come before us, that are here today, and that will come next. Thank you – we honor your service to our communities and our nation.”

Following these remarks, Michael Sisson took the podium to read the names of Puyallup tribal veterans who are no longer with us (see full list accompanying this article).

The raising of the flags marked the completion of the dedication ceremony.

“Since the blessing and the groundbreaking of this sacred place, a number of warriors have walked on before us,” he said. “Today, as we gather, they walk among us. Their spirits watch over us as we watch over them – to tell their stories, to share their lives, for them to never walk alone and live forever in our memory. For me, today, it is truly an honor and privilege to stand before creator and all of you here. Today, we speak their names and think of them and many others so that they will never be forgotten.” The drum was struck once for each name read. To end the ceremony, six flags were raised on the six flagpoles that are part of the memorial: American flag, Puyallup Tribe of Indians flag, Canadian flag, Washington State flag, Tribal Veterans flag and the POW/MIA flag.

After the dedication, everyone was invited to the Emerald Queen Casino for a celebratory lunch. Isadore Tom Jr., also a veteran, blessed the food and offered up songs. “When we get into the military, they teach us how to survive and also how to kill,” he said. “But one thing they can’t do is teach us how to forget. There are times, I know, that you out there, our comrades, have rough times as I did. When we come back from what we’ve been through, we come back physically but spiritually part of us is still over there. We’re not complete. To live in this day as a veteran you have to have your spiritual being back with you from wherever you’ve been.”

Sen. Patty Murray praised the Tribe’s vision in honoring veterans.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and U.S. Rep. Denny Heck shared their thoughts from the stage. Both were gifted with a blanket and Patty Murray received a big bouquet of flowers.

“Every time I come here I always see something new and exciting happening in your community,” Patty Murray said. “Many people may not realize that nationwide, Native Americans have one of the highest representations in the military, so the memorial is well deserved to say the least and it’s wonderful to see one that so beautifully reflects the Tribe’s connection to our natural environment.”

Denny Heck praised Patty Murray for her commitment to veterans and their families. “We ought to honor our veterans by living up to the promises we made to them. And let me tell you, in the United States Congress in either political party and either chamber, there is no better champion for veterans in the United States of America than United States Senator Patty Murray. Not a single better champion than Patty Murray anywhere, anytime.”

Debra Sharp, project coordinator with the Tribe’s Design and Construction Management Department, was recognized for her leadership on the Memorial Wall project.

Representatives from the companies that brought the memorial wall ideas to paper then to life were called to the stage to be recognized and also receive blankets: ARC Architects, Korsmo Construction, Nakano Associates Landscape Architects and KPFF Consulting Engineers.

And last but certainly not least, Debra Sharp was called forth to receive a hand-painted drum for her hard work in helping to bring the memorial to fruition.

“It’s been an honor and privilege working with the veterans,” she said. “Just like any other project, it gives me the opportunity to get to know individuals, all the different departments and committees and I got to know these veterans on an individual basis. Today is one of the days I will never, ever forget. I felt it in my heart and my soul.”

Puyallup Tribal Veterans who are no longer with us in body but will forever be with us in spirit and love, as read by Puyallup Veterans Committee Vice-Chair Michael Sisson:

Ernest C. Anderson

Francis Andrews

Wilber Andrews

William S. Arquette, Sr.

William S. Arquette, Jr.

Byron Barnes

Mary J. Basballe

Thomas J. Bean

Gary Bench

David Berry

Dustin J. Bonwell

Tyler C. Bonwell

Eugene A. Brown

Floyd Buber

Lavina M. Buber

Charles Butler

Clarence Butler

Jimmy Butler

Lawrence Butler

Tommy Butler

Charles Cantrell

Allen B. Castellane

Andrew J. Castellane

Gary R. Castellane

Michael L. Castellane

William F. Chandler

Jim F. Clark

Raymond Clark

Lyle W. Conway

Silas A. Cross

Julius S. Daniels

William S. Daniels

Tony Davis

William R. Davis

George Dean, Sr.

Frederick Dillon

Robert C. Dillon

Harry Dillon, Sr.

Herman Dillon, Sr.

William H. Dorshkind

Richard Drosman

Roque O. Duenas

Joseph E. Earl

Roy Earl

Harold Farris

Leonard R. Farron

Daniel Ferro

Leonard Ferro

Alfred J. Firth

Winfield S. Firth

Donald E. Galloway

John B. Galloway

Gerald G. George

Simon E. George

Donald A. Gilich

Alfred H. Gleason

Milton J. Guenther

Gerry Harding

John Harding

Rawona M. Hawthorne

Patrick Henry

Steven D. Holler

Joseph W. James

Nathan R. James

Roy F. James III

Thompson James, Jr.

Don Kalashian

Dennis Keating

John M. Keating, Sr.

Teresa Keating-Cruell

Anthony Landry

George H. Landry

Dennis J. LaPointe

Lawrence W. LaPointe

Edwin J. Legarde, Jr.

Harold Loebb

Donald M. Matheson

Jerome Matheson

Jerrie L. Matheson

Joseph Y. Matheson

Donald J. McCloud, Sr.

Andrew McCloud, Jr.

Andrew McCloud, III

Bernard E. McKay

Michael C. Moses

Curtiss R. Napoleon

John Parizo

Jack W. Phemister

William K. Pittman

Dennis A. Rarden

Ronald W. Simchen

Teddy W. Simchen

Michael A. Sisson

John Ready

Lawrence A. Reynon

Lloyd J. Reynon, Jr.

Charles B. Satiacum, Sr.

Donald C. Sanchez

Charles R. Sheldon

Edmond J. Sibbits

Charles S. Sicade

Clara Sicade

Robert L. Sicade

Charles S. Sicade, Jr.

Calvin W. Simchen

Jay C. Simchen

Rodney A. Sisson

Todd G. Smith

Franklin J. Terry

Frederick B. Thomas

Daniel J. Tobin

Clarence J. Tougaw

Clarence P. Tougaw

McKenzie Turnipseed

Terrance R. Val

Leonard Wayne

Mark Wescott

James O. Westcott

John P. Whistler

Benedict C. Williams

Charles Williams, Jr.

Daniel P. Williams

David E. Williams

Joseph J. Williams. Sr.

Ralph Williams

Robert Williams

Raymond E. Wilmer

Michael Wooten

Benjamin Wright, Sr.

Ronald W. Wrolson

James J. Young

James Young

Joseph H. Young

Julius Young, Jr.

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