Communication, involvement, and preparation for the Pendleton Round-Up

In 2020 the Pendleton Round-Up was cancelled due to the circumstances regarding COVID-19. This was one of the few times in the over 100 year old history the Round-Up has not had a showcase. In the past, prior to the pandemic, the CTUIR Board of Trustees has not had any major communication with the Round-Up or Happy Canyon Boards; this was until the CTUIR Board of Trustees believed input was needed for the Emergency Plan being developed by the Round-Up Association from a Tribal perspective. In October 2020 a Tribal Advisory sub-committee was formed to oversee concerns regarding what occurs during Native American events whether it be during an emergency or not.
Currently the Sub-Committee consists of CTUIR Tribal members who partake in Round-Up and spend time near or around the Tipi Village during the eventful week. The members include: Chief of the Walla Wallas Don Sampson, Marjorie Waheneka, Curtis Bearchum, and Boots Pond. The main intentions of the group was to help assist with the emergency plan that was still in rough draft form in 2020. The sub-committee first met with the Round-up and Happy Canyon associations November 12, 2020. Since then, it has been decided that there will be meetings quarterly for the years ahead with the Sub-Committee and the Board of Trustees will meet annually with the associations at the end of each summer.
At the start, there were two main issues the groups were trying to work on to ensure future events and meetings would go smoothly. The first issue was the Emergency Plan surrounding Round-Up week. Rough drafts of the emergency plan made in 2020 did not include many of the Native American events or how these events would function during a health crisis. The plan is now set for any future sub-committee members and Round-Up/Happy Canyon directors who get voted into their positions further down the road. Currently the state of Oregon has laid back with the restrictions against COVID-19 and the plan formed by the committee is set to be used if needed. Yellowhawk Tribal Health Clinic also has a presence in the village during the week. During the recovery phase of the pandemic, much of the direction of going forward for the tribal community will be assisted by Yellowhawk’s management
Along with the emergency plan, another topic of discussion between the groups has been education. During the meeting times in November, January, and April; there has been only verbal education of how the associations work and how the local tribes have been operating due to the circumstances. Education requires communication and that is something all sides agree will need to continue in order for the relationship to grow.
There have been other topics that have arisen at each meeting such as: a new token booth/ticket tent is being set up and will be operational for this year, and the Westward-Ho wagons are being refurbished and remodeled. A growing relationship will hopefully bring other future concerns to light in the years ahead.
The annual meeting between the CTUIR Board, Round-up/Happy Canyon Directors, and the sub-committee is set to take place on August 26th. As of this article being written the Pendleton Whisky Fest welcomed over 12,000 people; a good indicator of how many people are expected to be in the area each day during the week of Round-Up. Communication is key to ensure the community is steadily remaining vigilant and staying safe. Be on the lookout for more information as meetings continue. Stay safe, stay strong!
-The C.T.U.I.R Advisory Sub-Committee