PATEROS – A large crowd gathered at Lakeshore Park last Saturday, May 27, to witness the official dedication of the city’s latest attraction, the Memorial to the Methow installation on the shore of Lake Pateros.
The new park spearheaded by former Pateros High School graduate, Chuck Borg, now of Wenatchee, took about a year from conception to completion and will serves as a permanent reminder of the valley’s early Native American culture.
Once Borg secured project approval from the Pateros Chamber of Commerce he convened a committee of like-minded volunteers and began a fundraising campaign to cover construction costs.
Native American activist, Randy Lewis, also a graduate of Pateros High School, served as the Master of Ceremonies and entertained listeners with history-rich stories, cultural insights and song.
Lewis thanked a long list of contributors and sponsors who helped make the memorial a reality and introduced a series of guest speakers and performers.
One of those was Monse resident Arnold Cleveland who played his native flute.
Artist Smoker Marchand, who will also serve as Grand Marshall at this year’s Omak Stampede, explained the evolution of his horse-mounted spearfisherman sculpture and expressed his surprise to discover that a horse would actually stand in a river and allow someone to hang salmon from its back.
Lewis introduced Pateros eighth grader Aleeka Smith who was wearing her great aunt Mary Miller’s native costume. The late Mary Miller was once honored as Grand Marshall of the Wenatchee Apple Blossom Parade.
Pateros High School senior-and the graduating class valedictorian, Bobbi Hall explained her senior class community project that involved creating a series of native petroglyph tiles that are now installed in the memorial’s concrete walkway.
Methow native and Memorial Committee member, Mark Miller delivered the most emotional address about his connection to the community and the significance of the memorial dedication for him.
“The doors I walked through in this community, my great grandfather Sam walked through, my grandfather, Gerry walked through, my father walked through that door,” said Miller. “My children, my grandchildren are walking through that same door in this community.”
Miller said the occasion of the Memorial to the Methow was more proof that the cultural heritage of local native peoples will not be lost.
Miller said that Memorial Day is the most important day of the year for his family because that is when they gather to clean graves, say prayers for ancestors and host a dinner in honor of those people.
“It’s a weekend to honor our past, and this monument does that in an incredible way,” Miller said.
“I thought about messages for this thing,” said Miller, “I’m a grandfather who could die tomorrow and know that my grandchildren get it. It’s not disappearing with me leaving.”
Lewis presented a custom-made, framed work of art titled “Caribou Moon” to Chuck and Nancy Borg in appreciation of the key role they played in the creation of the memorial.
Following the dedication, guests dined on barbecued and smoked salmon fresh from the mouth of the Columbia River at Ilwaco.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here