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Restoration talk with Grand Ronde Tribal Chair Reyn Leno

  • Broadcast in Culture
Grand Ronde Wawa with Kevin Simmons

Grand Ronde Wawa with Kevin Simmons


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The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde celebrate 30 years of federal recognition on November 22, 2103.

The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde were formed when the government forced member tribes to cede their ancestral lands and created the 60,000-acre Grand Ronde Reservation in Oregon’s Coast Range. Beginning in February 1857, federal troops forced the native people to march from a temporary reservation at Table Rock in Southern Oregon 263 miles north across rough terrain to the newly created Grand Ronde Reservation.The federal government terminated the Tribe in 1954. All that was left was 7.5 acres of land — a cemetery and maintenance shed. Through the hard work and sacrifices of Tribal members, recognition was restored in 1983.  

Tribal Chairman Reyn Leno

Reynold L. Leno was born Oct. 6, 1950, the son of Orville and Ramona (McKnight) Leno. He is the grandson of David and Emma Leno and Thomas and Elvira McKnight.
He grew up and has lived in the Grand Ronde area his entire life. After graduating from Willamina High School, he worked as a logger for one year and then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served two years as a Marine, one of which was in Vietnam.
Upon completion of his military service, he returned to Willamina and to the woods. He worked in the timber industry for almost 26 years. He has been married to his wife, Liz, for more than 35 years.
Mr. Leno was elected to Tribal Council in 1996 and re-elected in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2011. During many of those years, his fellow Tribal Council members have elected him to serve as vice chair and in 2012 they elected him as Tribal chair.
“I initially ran for Tribal Council to try and make a difference for my fellow Tribal members.”