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Chief Garry Park Monument

The newly constructed monument to honor Chief Spokan Garry is now open to the public and was dedicated during a special ceremony in late August 2011. The monument is called “The Gathering Place” and features photographs and details about Spokan Garry and the Spokane Tribe of Indians. Each element of the monument has a special meaning. For example, the large steel circle entry way represents “Children of the Sun” and the copper color of the sun structure represents the copper used by Spokane Tribal Ancestors for jewelry and regalia wear. A plaque within the monument gives a full description of all of the elements and what each one represents.

Approximately 200 guests attended the dedication held at Chief Garry Park located in north Spokane, Washington. Special guests included direct descendents of Spokan Garry; Teresa Iyall Williams and her sister Sue Garry both are Coeur d’Alene Tribal members. Other special guests included; Spokane Mayor Verner and four members of the Spokane City Council, Airway Heights Mayor, Patrick Rushing, State Representative Andy Billig and many friends of the Spokane Tribe.

Spokane Tribal members Pat Moses and Francis Carson brought their drum and singers to help celebrate the dedication of the new monument. Traditional songs handed down throughout many generations of Spokane Tribal Ancestors were heard throughout Garry Park during the dedication ceremony. Spokane Tribal Council Chairman, Greg Abrahamson welcomed everyone to the ceremony and thanked many of the volunteers who helped with fundraising and construction. Chairman Abrahamson introduced Spokan Garry’s descendents and invited them to share a few words. Sue Garry thanked everyone for their efforts and she read a thank you letter from her sister, Jeanne Givens who couldn’t make it to the ceremony. Teresa Iyall Williams also spoke and gave a heartfelt thank you to the Spokane Tribe for helping the community to not forget the past, to not forget Spokan Garry and his contributions to this region.

Chairman Abrahamson was joined by Vice Chairman Mike Spencer and Council Member Dave Wynecoop at the ceremony. The Tribal Councilmen expressed their gratitude to all of the volunteers and especially to the Spokane Union Shops who donated so much labor, materials and passion to help the Spokane Tribe to reach its goal of completing a culturally appropriate monument to Spokan Garry and to the Spokane Tribe.

Spokane Tribal Public Relations Director, Jamie Sijohn was also thanked by the Spokane Tribal Council members and other guest speakers for leading the fundraising efforts, overseeing the construction details and for her dedication to this important project. Jamie Sijohn brought many of her own contacts and resources together over the last three years to help build The Gathering Place.

Sijohn expressed her thanks to all of the youth and school districts who helped with raising money for the Garry Fund. Many children collected coins and delivered their coins in little plastic baggies to last year’s Heritage Day Celebration. Special thanks were given to the Wellpinit School District, and Spokane Schools including Roosevelt Elementary, Seth Woodard Elementary and Northwest Christian School District for their coin drives and other fundraising efforts. The very first donation given to the Garry Fund was by an 8 year old little girl named Victoria. Victoria, now 10 years old attended the dedication ceremony with her family and she was given a Pendleton blanket in recognition of stepping forward as the first person to donate to the Garry monument fund. Sijohn introduced Victoria to the audience and explained that Victoria represents the children of our communities who were the driving force behind the donations. The never-ending fundraising dedication and efforts by the young people of our communities and schools is heart-warming.

The Gathering Place monument is located in the northwest corner of Chief Garry Park in north Spokane, Washington. Donations are still being accepted to help maintain the monument. If you would like to donate please mail your donation to: Chief Garry Fund, Attention Jamie Sijohn, PO Box 100, Wellpinit Washington, 99040.