I’m Sheri Edwards. I have been honored to teach the children in this community for twenty-three years. I blog here as a community member to support this Horizons program -- a grass-roots program of movement and change.
On Veteran's Day, we honor those who protected our freedom with the greatest of sacrifices, whether as memories of service and lost brothers-in-arms or as the greatest sacrifice, that of life. The Nespelem Community always honors their veterans at a special pow wow, held last weekend at Nespelem School.
Thank you, Veterans, and thank you, Nespelem Community members for your tribute to our brave men and women who have protected our democracy.
As you know, the price of freedom is high, both to defend it and to maintain it. Freedom requires responsibilities as citizens. As we honor our veterans, we know the many problems they face. And we look from them into our community, and we see both our connectedness and successes and our many problems. From Nespelem to Electric City, our Grand Coulee community has many needs to which groups of citizens can find solutions.
This grass-roots group has formed to do that. I missed the first meeting. I was invited to the second meeting. Most of the people there agreed that we indeed exist as one whole community, and that the voices from Nespelem were not yet represented. The group agreed that members must encourage and gather the voices from all of our neighbors, including from Nespelem.
Just as a fresh spirit has risen from the hope of the Presidential Election, so I found this group to to be diverse in its ideas so that all voices could be shared.
The group has prestigious sponsors and some funding. The Horizons program, sponsored by Washington State University for the Northwest Area Foundation, is about the changes a community can make to move from waiting to leading, from talking to action, from control by few to the participation of many." The goal is building community capacity for creating sustainable skills and programs, all developed by community members through a democratic "Study Circle" process.
Other communities have found ways to build community centers, to bring Internet access to remote rural areas, and build a community park needed for families and children. Two native communities involved in projects include Wellpinit and Hoh River Tribe.
The community name is Grand Coulee, and as you know, the Coulee has been here for thousands of years, so its first community was and so is of the Native peoples. As the Lakota of the Dakota-area say, Mitakuye Oyasin [Mee-tah-koo-yay O-yah-seen]: We Are All Related. Hopefully, then, the Grand Coulee name provides more of a unifying umbrella than that of a place and separation. To find solutions to the needs of the whole community, can we agree that we need to work together?
If you are reading this, won't you join as a community member to help our local communities? Would you be willing to discuss this as families and neighbors, as Veterans Associations and church groups, as tribal offices and committees, and as friends and community members? And in those discussions would you send representatives to the Study Circle meetings to represent the voice of the tribal people and of Nespelem community? and Elmer City? and Coulee Dam? and Grand Coulee? and Electric City?
Please join us at the next meetings (see right).
Elder/Child care provided. Gas money available.
"For communities to thrive, everyone must thrive." Please contact me by email. Mary Schilling is the main contact person (633 3033).
Thank you for your time and for joining the journey to support our connected community.