Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

June 10, 2010

Tribal Veterans Monument dedication ceremonies planning progressing

By B.L. Azure

Salish, Pend d'Oreille and Kootenai Veterans Monument Committee members Corky Clairmont, Roger Shourds and Gene Sorrell updated the Tribal Council on the progress of the dedication ceremonies for the monument dubbed The Eagle Circle. (B.L. Azure photo)
Salish, Pend d'Oreille and Kootenai Veterans Monument Committee members Corky Clairmont, Roger Shourds and Gene Sorrell updated the Tribal Council on the progress of the dedication ceremonies for the monument dubbed The Eagle Circle. (B.L. Azure photo)

PABLO The Salish, Pend d'Oreille and Kootenai Tribes Veterans Monument Committee continues to steadily march towards completion of its mission: the dedication ceremony and related events for the Salish, Pend d'Oreille and Kootenai Veterans Monument: The Eagle Circle.

Work continues on the erection of The Eagle Circle, located in the parking lot between the new and old tribal headquarters buildings. The main focus point of the monument, the eagle with out stretched wings carved in black granite has been erected. Contract workers from the Minnesota-based Cold Spring Granite Company were applying sealant between the joints as well as grinding down some uneven joint connections this week.

The Eagle Circle monument displays various tribal cultural visuals on its numerous panels. (B.L. Azure photo)
The Eagle Circle monument displays various tribal cultural visuals on its numerous panels. (B.L. Azure photo)

Some landscaping has been done but more remains. Yet to be done is the erection of the tipi poles around and over the monument, lighting, the welcoming centerpiece and erection of flagpoles that will hoist the flags of the Flathead Nation, Canada and the United States.

On Tuesday the committee met to continue work on the agenda and the various ceremonies involved therein. Following the planning meeting the committee updated the CSKT Council on the progress and present a rough-draft budget.

In the Tribal Council chambers there was discussion on changing the date of the dedication events to Friday, July 16 due to potential logistical problems because Wednesday, July 14 is a workday. Also July 16 is the anniversary date of the signing of the 1855 Treaty of Hell Gate. However it was decided that the day, date and times would remain as voted on by the committee.

"The date has been put out there," said Elmo District Tribal Councilman Rueben Mathias. "I would like to keep it the way it is. The day is important on its own (merits)."

The Eagle Circle tells the story of World War I veteran Francis Mayuk Caye of the Kootenai people. (B.L. Azure photo)
The Eagle Circle tells the story of World War I veteran Francis Mayuk Caye of the Kootenai people. (B.L. Azure photo)

The dedication will take place on Wednesday, July 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The dedication is open to the public and all veterans are encouraged to attend and participate.

Committee members presented a rough-draft agenda. The day will begin with a sunrise ceremony.

At 9:30 a.m. Reveille will be trumpeted and the flags of the

Flathead Nation, Canada and the United States will be raised, soon after the majority of the public is expected to be arriving. At 9:40 a.m. the colors will be posted. Tribal Council members and Marine veterans Charlie Morigeau and E.T. "Bud" Moran will lay the wreaths for the Unknown Warriors. The events then begin at 10 a.m. with welcoming messages from emcees Tony Incashola and Francis Auld.

At 10:05 an opening prayer will be said then at approximately 10:10 a.m. the emcees will explain the days events and what they represent to the Salish, Pend d'Oreille and Kootenai people. At 10:15 a Victory Dance will begin with the elder veterans leading the way. All veterans regardless of race are encouraged to take part in Victory Dance.

Following the Victory Dance at 10:30 a.m. is a tentatively scheduled fly over by the Montana Air National Guard. Confirmation of the fly over should be known by the end of this week or early next week.

Then at approximately 11 a.m. there will be the ceremonial shooting of three arrows, one for each of the three tribes of the Flathead Nation. The three ceremonial arrows will be presented to the oldest veteran from each of the three tribes. Three more replica arrows will be kept for display in the lobby of the new tribal headquarters building.

U.S. Marine radioman Louis Charlo, who helped raise the first American flag on Iwo Jima, is displayed on The Eagle Circle. (B.L. Azure photo)
U.S. Marine radioman Louis Charlo, who helped raise the first American flag on Iwo Jima, is displayed on The Eagle Circle. (B.L. Azure photo)

At 11:30 Mary Jane Charlo and Vic Charlo will tell the story of Louis Charlo, the U.S. Marine radioman who was involved in the first raising of the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi, the highest point on Iwo Jima. Charlo was killed in early March 1945, less than a week after the flag raising. Then Blackfeet musician Jack Gladstone will sing the song he composed about Louis Charlo.

Following that at approximately 11:45 Laurence Kenmille will tell the story of Francis Caye, the Kootenai World War I veteran depicted on the monument, as is Louis Charlo.

At high noon CSKT Council Chairman E.T. "Bud" Moran, a U.S. Marine veteran will address the public.

At 12:15 p.m. Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs Larry Echohawk is tentatively scheduled to speak; he has not confirmed.

The meal will be served at 12:30 and people are encouraged to visit other tentative displays and to make etchings of the names on The Eagle Circle. The day's events will conclude at 2 p.m.

The agenda remains a work in progress and there will in all likelihood be changes.

The majority parking lots in the tribal complex will be closed off but parking space will be available on the Salish Kootenai College campus. There will be shuttles transporting people from there to the tribal headquarters complex.

The main stage and public seating areas have been finalized.

The committee will also extend an invite to all the tribal elders over the age of 70 years.

The names of Salish, Pend d'Oreille and Kootenai veterans are engraved on the front panels of The Eagle Circle. (B.L. Azure photo)
The names of Salish, Pend d'Oreille and Kootenai veterans are engraved on the front panels of The Eagle Circle. (B.L. Azure photo)

There was discussion about a time capsule that will be placed beneath the center welcoming home and thank you portion of the monument. Discussion centered on what it should contain and will continue at the next committee meeting.

A request was made to the Tribal Council to approve change of duty stations for tribal employees with their supervisors' approval. The Council lacked a quorum and will address the request when there is a quorum.

The Veteran Monument planning committee meets weekly, tentatively every Wednesday from 9 to 11 a.m. in Pablo at the tribal headquarters complex. The planning sessions are open to the public for comment and suggestions.

For more information, contact CSKT Communications Director Rob McDonald at 675-2700, ext. 1222 or 249-1818; Jane Clairmont at 675-2700, ext. 1011; Corwin "Corky" Clairmont at 275-4946; Sam Barber at 675-2700, ext. 1551; J. Lloyd Jackson at 675-4137; Laurence Kenmille at 675-2700, ext.1085; Roger Shourds at 871-3520 or 883-1557; Colleen Shourds Collins at 726-8278; Tom Camel at 207-7617; or Bernie Azure at 675-2700, ext. 1316 or 726-3610.

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