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3 Honoring our Elders: Lee Curtis Starr “...learned fishing and car mechanics from his dad, and still has a passion for building hot rods...” Lee Curtis Starr was born in 1944 to Violet Sanders-Starr and Benjamin Starr. His grandparents on his mother’s side are Andrew Sanders and Lucy Simmons. On his father’s side are Phillip Starr and Army Starr from Muckleshoot. He is the second oldest of his 10 brothers and sisters: Amil Starr, Sr., Benjamin Starr, Beatrice Christensen, Wilma Graciano, Laura Starr, Starla Starr, and Lucille Starr. Amanda Starr, Betty Starr, and Louise Starr are deceased. Lee met his wife, Frances, through the Shaker Church. They have been married for 43 Lee and his wife Francis met at the Shaker Church. years, and have one son, Lee B. Starr, and two daughters, Leah Secena, and Eloise M. They’ve been happily Starr. They have six grandchildren and one great-grandson. married for 43 years. Lee grew up on the Chehalis Reservation 10 grade. School was a struggle and living their property from 1976-78. They also Authority. He has worked for the department th on South Bank Road and lived there for with such a large family, Lee needed an sold freworks. The freworks enterprise for 20 years as a maintenance man and most of his life. His parents taught him income. He started helping his mom build was like the fsh selling business: it caught plans on retiring next year. “It will be nice about respecting elders. When he was a home on South Bank Road where Starla the attention of the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s to spend more time with my family and young, he would split and haul wood to keep lives now. He enjoyed working alongside Department. grandchildren,” says Lee. the Shaker Church and mess hall warm. Percy Youckton. He also helped build Lee remembers law enforcement Lee says, “The tribe has grown a lot Lee remembers playing outside the Tribal houses on the Skokomish Reservation with coming in and confscating their freworks. in many ways…building the Lucky Eagle Center while adults attended meetings. He Lesley Beckwith. They also helped build Afterwards they received permission from Casino, EOT gas stations, Great Wolf also remembers the Tribal Days Baseball Mildred Secena, Maynard Starr’s, and Ruth Penn to sell freworks on her property. Lodge, and other buildings. The children Tournaments. There were ball games and the tribal housing homes on Tahown and They took the freworks to her property and have many resources available to them, dances. Men would gather around the oak Lacamus Lanes. sold them out of the back of their truck. more than we had when I was in school. tree to play bone games. “Those were good Later on, Lee worked in different Like fsheries, the tribe wanted to Some of it is good. Some of it is bad. It’s old days,” says Lee. logging camps alongside Mike Simmons. regulated itself, and started the process would be nice to see our children grow up Some of his childhood friends were Artie As a logger he traveled to Canyon River of rescinding Public Law 280 which and make something of their lives and do and Gary Smith. When they were teenagers in Gridsdale, and Lake Quinault learning removed State criminal jurisdiction on the something good, and not be a statistic. With they would work at Drew Berry Farms in different aspects of the logging trade from Reservation and return the authority to the the decline of the fsh runs, the tribe needs Gate City to earn gas money. The money operating a cotton brother to choker setter. Tribe.. We have come a long way since the to continue fguring out ways to supplement enabled them to go to drive-in movies and He also learned to run a skidder and handled groundbreaking efforts of Lee’s parents and the runs. It’s nice to see the tribe is building baseball tournaments. “Life was simpler dynamite to blow up stumps to create water other tribal members. a hatchery. Hopefully the next generation back then,” says Lee. holes. During many years of his life, Lee will see the benefts.” When he was 12, Lee learned how to fsh In 1959 his mother built a fsh house on worked alongside his dad learning to be a from his father under Sickman Ford Bridge. their property, and became the fsh buyer mechanic. His ability and knowledge Lee and his brothers made extra money for Strittmater Fish Company. This business allowed packing the fsh from the river to the top of enabled the Chehalis tribal fsherman to him to start the bridge. They caught a lot of fsh back bring their fsh in to sell. She did this for a building hot then, and didn’t get much money for them. long time. Lee’s brothers and sisters helped rods. Buying He also learned how to hang and mend with this family business. them and nets, as well as to respect the river. When This commercial fshery caught the eye fxing them up he turned 16, his father allowed him to of the Washington State Fishery. The state is one of his establish a fshing ground above the bridge. claimed it was illegal for the Chehalis Tribe great joys that Years later when his mother passed away, to fsh throughout the year, and that the tribe he learned from Lee inherited her fshing grounds. needed to follow the laws of the state. In the his dad. Now In his teen years, Lee worked for Johnny 1970s Lee’s mother and Strittmater went he’s passing Benn learning how to train and care for to court against Washington State Fisheries on his passion his race horses. It was special to travel over our fshing rights. They won in a court of building and with Johnny and Maggie Benn to the horse decision, and were therefore pioneers in working on cars races in Spokane and Portland. He helped establishing the Chehalis Tribe’s fshing to his son, Little feed, water and care for the horses. He was rights. Their efforts set the stage for our tribe Lee. Lee (far right) helped with Johnny Benn’s race horses. also assigned to cool down the horses after to exercise its fshing rights today. Lee presently Miracle Lady is the winning horse in this 1961 photo taken racing. He says he thoroughly enjoyed it and Lee’s parents were always looking for works for at the Spokane Race Track. The jockey is Glen Dixon, and made a few dollars. business opportunities to support their the Chehalis the handler and partner is John Hungry. Lee attended the Oakville School until family. They operated a smoke shop on Tribal Housing Tribal Staff Profles: Dentist and Head Start Teacher Dr. William Elton (Bill) was studies. He moved to Illinois My name is Tracy Mitchell and work for the Tribal Head Start born in an Air Force family. His and got his dental degree at the I am the Full Day Teacher for as a Teacher’s Aide and have family travelled to Libya (North University of Illinois Dental the Chehalis Tribal Head Start. been here ever since. I worked Africa), Illinois, Virginia, School. Since the Army paid I grew up on a cattle ranch in as the Aide and Bus Driver until Oklahoma, Utah and fnally to for his undergraduate school, Melrose, New Mexico. We raised 2002. In 2002, I received my Washington. Bill then entered the Army beef cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and Child Development Associate Bill’s interested in dentistry Dental Corps where he served in horses. I was very active in 4H certifcate and was promoted to started long ago. While in the Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, and FFA for many years, showing PM Class Teacher, and then in second grade in Africa, little Italy, Colorado, Korea, and horses, sheep and cattle at Tracy Mitchell, 2005 I was given the position Billy went to the dentist. The Dr. Bill Elton, Washington. fairs around the state. I also Head Start Teacher as the Full Day teacher. I dentist removed a baby tooth, Dentist While in the Army he participated in rodeos, doing earned my Associates Degree with its long root intact, and received residency training in barrel racing and pole bending. At age 18, I in Early Childhood Education in 2007 from gave it to him. The next day during recess General Dentistry and then specialized in moved to Arizona. I met my husband, Mike Bay Mills Community College in Brimley, Billy showed his friends his tooth. One Prosthodontics (dental prostheses). After 26 Smiley, in Alaska. We have three children: MI. of the boys told him that the dentist was years he retired from the Army at Fort Lewis Hilary is 20, Tanner is 18, and Jesse is 16. I have thoroughly enjoyed working for tricking him, because the tooth was really in 2004. In 2005 the Chehalis Tribe hired We moved to Rochester in 1996 and I the Head Start Program for the last 10 years a dog’s tooth. Billy knew the tooth was his him as our dentist. enrolled my son in the Tribal Head Start and hope to be here for a long time. It is own, and thought that the other boy was Bill says he enjoys helping the tribal Program. A few weeks later I was asked has been a joy to watch children grow and incorrect, and that he, himself, was pretty community with their dental health, and if I wanted a job working at the daycare. change over the years and hope that I had smart in dentistry. After that incident, seeing everyone’s wonderful smiles. He I happily accepted and enjoyed working a hand in some part of their success. I have whenever asked by teachers what he wanted loves children, and has four children of his there for two years. In 1998 I left to be a made lots of friends while working here and to be, Billy would say, “A dentist!” own. He has nine grandchildren. Classroom/Bus Aide for the Rochester Head many of you have made me feel like I am a Young Bill went to Brigham Young When not working in the dentist’s Start Program. I also got my CDL while part of your family. Thank you for accepting University, and served a two-year mission in offce, Bill enjoys fshing, camping, skiing, working there. After being there a year, I me into your community. Chile. He married Michelle MacKay a year landscaping, scuba diving, family history, was given the opportunity to come back to after returning, and fnished his undergrad and being with his wife. 2009 Paddle to Suquamish Feel free to join the Chehalis Canoe Family anywhere along the canoe journey, share and learn with the canoe families, and travel with “One Heart, One Mind” through the Puget Sound waterways. Community support is greatly appreciated as we practice our culture with the youth, elders and other canoe families. This is a drug/alcohol, and violence free journey! Everyone is welcome! Drum Practice/Canoe Meeting: Every Tuesday, starting In late May, Chehalis tribal youth participated in a practice pull from Solo Point to Owens Beach June 9 at 6:30 PM at the Youth Center with Squaxin, Nisqually, Puyallup, Muckleshoot, and Cowlitz tribal canoes. Pictured left to right Blessing of the Tulap tit Weath Canoe: Saturday, July 25 at are pulling pairs: Patrick Simmons/Asa Simmons, Heather Daniels/Kayla Teague, Kelsie Klatush/ 10 AM at the Tribal Center Cheyne Youckton, Deidra Hawkes/Gordon Klatush, Frances Pickernell/Julia Lee, and Skipper Itinerary: Lummi: July 26-27; leave July 28 Skylar Bracero. Suquamish: Land August 3; protocol to follow until Aug. 8.
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