Circling Raven – Think Spring!

It has definitely been a wet winter here in Worley, Idaho. In fact, it is one of the wettest on record with close to 100 inches of precipitation this season. Circling Raven currently has a beautiful white coat, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t already prepping for the only seasons that count. At least for us golfers, spring and summer… are you here yet?

A lot of work goes into keeping the course in tip top shape in the off season, beginning with winterization including preventing snow mold and prepping the irrigation system. During a season like this we keep a close eye on the amount of snow on the course, specifically our greens.

We are now anxiously waiting to get out on the course and start our winter cleanup. This includes clearing out all the debris from animals, like moles and even elk that make Circling Raven home in the winter, and pine needles that make their way onto the course during the off-season.

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After cleanup is complete Brian Woster, golf course superintendent, and Tom Davidson, PGA director of golf, will be ready to assess the holes and do any re-seeding and re-sauding needed to get the course in tip-top shape. They will also make sure the sand in the bunkers look perfect. It will be no time until the greens are looking like this…

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“Although we’ve received record precipitation our course was properly prepped for a hard winter, from the monitoring we have done so far we are extremely optimistic to open this spring to pristine conditions,” said Davidson.

Don’t forget we have an amazing special running right now! Get April & May rounds for $70 here: https://www.cdacasino.com/store/

We’ll see you on ‘Hole 7’ (our lucky number) soon!

Native American Month Q&A with Quanah Matheson

Quanah Matheson

For our final blog post in celebration of Native American Month we sat down with casino Cultural Affairs Director Quanah Matheson to hear more about the history and culture of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and Coeur d’Alene Casino.

Cultural Director is a pretty unique position at a casino, can you tell us a little about what your job entails?
Cultural Affairs Director at the Coeur d’Alene Casino is very unique. I wear many hats including trainer, educator, outreach, greeter, cultural specialist, entertainer, dancer, singer and cultural tourism specialist. I am also in charge of our interpretive center on site and make sure that our heritage is included in planning, architecture, business philosophy and presentation.

As a member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe how are these traditions and languages being passed down and preserved for future generations?
Language is passed down these days through multimedia, books, curriculum and lesson plans by our language programs. We have teachers that go into schools and different environments to pass down the language. Traditions are passed down the way it was always done. By doing with those that know. Hunting with grandpas, dads and uncles, gathering with grandmother, mothers and aunties are just one example. We also have programs that teach these things to our communities.

The seasons bring different traditions and stories. Can you tell us a little more about how the seasonal changes drive the tribe’s ceremonies and practices?
Our seasonal round dictated everything about culture. We followed the changing of seasons and thus followed our hearts and our stories to become stewards, protectors, warriors, gatherers, strong ceremonial and prayerful people because we cared about our families and our resources.

Our teachings and stories flowed with the changing of the seasons. Our coyote stories were saved for the winter months. We camped and fished all winter long on our lake and rivers. We have our sacred dances in the winter months. We have a traditional thanksgiving in late October when the last root is dug. We pick berries and the noted huckleberries in the summer time. We have joyous prayer and thanks for the first roots dug in spring.

The introduction of things like horses and Catholicism marked major changes in the tribe. Can you speak about the key changes in the history of the tribe?
Key changes in the Tribe made us who we are today. Our challenges were met with fortitude and courage. We endured almost complete annihilation of who we are as a people and our population. We went through catastrophic decline when the diseases hit. In a span of one generation we lost 90 percent of our population.

When the horse came it allowed us to travel further and changed our culture. When we had to battle the United States Army and defeated them on the field, there were grave consequences. We had enjoyed thousands of years of freedom and roaming on our lands, 5 million acres to enjoy. When reservation life hit, only a few thousand acres were allotted to us. They stripped and beat the Indian out of us. They told us no more culture, spirituality, long hair, traditional dress and don’t speak the language. The idea was to kill the Indian and save the man. We evolved to become great farmers and well-known Catholics.

We moved into the modern era with great leadership, such as Chief Gary, preserving our leadership and how we carry ourselves today. We persevered and had many victories over the years and continue with adversity. We still stand by what our ancestors did for us and continue on our path as a nation.

How does the Coeur d’Alene Casino benefit the tribe and its community?
The Tribe is a nation just like America is a nation. America uses taxes to fund itself. Coeur d’Alene Tribe uses the funds from its business, the CDA Casino, to fund itself. The casino helps support a whole nation of people in many respects.

It also gives back a tremendous amount of money to many foundations, projects and worthy causes in the communities across Idaho and abroad. It has given 24 million just to education in Idaho alone, which is a huge piece of where our hearts are as it relates to our neighbors.

The Tribe has given 1 million dollars to the KROC Center and operates a clinic that supports not only the Tribe but the whole community. We have countless programs that help support our local communities.

With some casinos, you might not know they were owned and operated by a tribe. That’s not the case with CDA Casino. How important was it to the Coeur d’Alene Tribe to maintain ownership and management?
I think the Tribe believes in itself and its members to be business leaders and thus gives the reigns to Tribal members who are educated to run things like the casino. We have our way of business dealings, philosophy and a business heritage that we continue today. I think this is huge because some Tribes don’t do that.

I am appreciative to have CEOs that are CDA Tribal members. We do us the best! And, we have our business practices exemplified. I always tell people that the term “Coeur d’Alene” bestowed upon us by French fur traders is a direct correlation to our business practices. Our ancestors were the best businessmen in the world according to those early traders to our country.

Winter Blessing and Julyamsh are perhaps the biggest cultural events the Tribe and casino put on, are there other events that celebrate the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Culture and traditions?
We have countless events throughout the year, some big some small. We have programs that connect kids to water, land, resources and heritage. We have our anniversary powwow in March at the casino every year. Stick games throughout the year and family powwows too. We have water awareness week on the rez and water potato day and week on the lake. We have brought back our traditional canoes to the waters in recent months. We will probably have celebrations, gatherings in regard to this in the coming years.

The Coeur d’Alenes have been known to work and trade with neighboring tribes. Can you tell me a little about how that is still taking place today? For example – Chinook features Nisqually Salmon and ties in the culture into the food with seasonal local foods like huckleberries.
Yes, we get Tribally caught salmon from the Nisqually Tribe. We get buffalo meat from a local supplier. He is not Tribal but we trade with everyone! On a local and family level we trade all the time with relatives and friends from different Tribes. We trade back and forth material, berries, meat, roots and things we can use in today’s modern life. We try to carry on our traditions the best we can.

Thank you to Quanah Matheson for his insights and thank you for joining us in celebrating Native American Month. Stop by our blog for more news and events in the coming weeks.

Lim lemtsh (thank you)

Winter Blessing Honors Winter Tradition of Sharing and Coming Together

Winter Blessing 2015The Coeur d’Alene Tribe recognizes winter as a quiet time, a time for reflection. It is a time to come together and reflect on the past year and also what will be coming for the New Year.

In the cold winter months, the Coeur d’Alene’s took time to be with one another in lodges. Old stories of ancestors were retold with great animation. Coyote stories were told, offering humor, and teaching lessons of life.

Traditionally, this is a time to store dried foods, including meats, roots, fruits and herbs. This land was and is a land of plenty providing warmth and much to share with others.

Winter Blessing 2015In honor of this great tradition of sharing and coming together during these winter months, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe presents, Winter Blessing, Thursday, December 1This will be an evening of Coeur d’Alene tribal culture and history. Honoring one of the strongest tribal traditions, all are welcome, doors open at 5:30 p.m.

A highlight of Winter Blessing is the a traditional dance called the, “Round Dance.” This is a friendship dance in which every participant meets and greets each other, completing the circle of friendship before the final sharing – complimentary fry bread and huckleberry jam.

Join us for Winter Blessing Thursday, December 1 at 6 p.m.

Honoring Those Who Served Today and Everyday

Veterans DayLong before Native Americans were considered legal U.S. citizens, before they had the right to vote, before they could even be drafted they were volunteering to fight for this country.

Despite their lack of rights in the U.S., more than 12,000 Natives volunteered to serve in the U.S. Military during WWI.

Native women were not to be outdone. Throughout WWI and WWII American Indian women served in the Army Nurse Corps, Army Corps and as WAVES or “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.”

Showing extreme patriotism, indigenous peoples have served in the country’s armed forces in greater numbers per capita than any other ethnic group, serving in every major conflict for more than 200 years.

“Native men especially, inherent to our warrior societies of the past were especially elated to join the fight for our mother land,” said Quanah Matheson, cultural affairs director at Coeur d’Alene Casino. “In so doing they brought the old honor back into their communities as heroes again as was in the olden times.”

A Sixth Sense
“Their so called sixth sense was unequalled on the battlefield and many a time were gathered to the front lines of the battle,” said Matheson.

The United States in WW1 actually used the Native as a propaganda tool to intimidate the enemy. They would drop leaflets into Europe stating “we have 100,000 Indians coming to fight.”

Europe had heard about the Indians’ wars against the Americans in the 1800s. Lavish stories about their courage, tenacity, sixth sense and power over bullets and death flooded their newspapers and books early on and when the war broke out, America used this to its advantage.

Code Talkers
For many, when they think of Native American’s in the military they think of Code Talkers – an elite group of men who created unbreakable codes saving thousands of lives. The first codes were established near the end of WWI by Choctaws and Cherokees after a commander reportedly overheard two of his soldiers conversing in the languages.

Code Talkers made a larger impact in WWII when the government recruited Native Americans for the job. Comanche, Hopi, Meskwaki, Chippewa-Oneida and Navajo use their native tongues to transmit messages. The Navajo created the most complex code with more than 600 terms. Not a single code talker message was believed to have been deciphered in either war.

“The Natives of America gave the ultimate sacrifice to this country and the families they love! Many continue to do so today,” said Matheson.

Coeur d’Alene Tribe Contributions
Coeur d’Alenes hold a place in military history as well with members still serving today. Some of the early history is fading as Felix Aripa walked on in September. Serving in the Navy during WWII he was the last of the Coeur d’Alene tribal members who had served. Aripa was aboard the USS Thompson on D-Day at Omaha Beach. He worked tirelessly to teach his Native language to others and was just one of two remaining tribal members who were fluent.

We invite you join us in celebrating Native American Heritage Month – please stop back by for more interesting facts on the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and Native Americans.

Lim lemtsh (Thank you)

Join us in Celebrating

cda-statueNovember is Native American Month. It is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. Native American Month is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise awareness about the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and Native Americans.

We will be hosting a weekly blog and social media posts that celebrate our history and culture and will highlight prominent Coeur d’Alene Tribal members and other Native Americans. We hope you enjoy.

Because there was always a commitment to the future, so will there always be a commitment to the past. The modern Coeur d’Alene Tribe is the sum of uncounted centuries of untold generations. In the tribe’s own ancient language, it is called Schitsu’umsh, meaning “those who were found here” or “the discovered people.” In
this remains a land abundant in beauty and resources, a legacy of leadership, and a lineage that continues from the time immemorial. The Coeur d’Alenes are who they always were and who they will always be.Julyamsh

Native Americans have played a key role throughout history. In the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, Chief Andrew Seltice is credited with leading the tribe into the modern age, paving the way for such notable members as Joseph “Joe” Garry, the first Native American to be elected to the Idaho State Senate in 1967.

We invite you join us in celebrating Native American Heritage Month – please stop back by our blog where we will provide more interesting facts on the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and Native Americans.

Lim lemtsh (Thank you)

Sustainability at Forefront of Menu Updates

Updated Buffet MenuOn Oct. 15 the Alaska crab harvest season officially kicked off – opilio, Alaska king and Alaska Dungeness fisheries were able to open but others were less fortunate.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game recently announced the opening of the Bering Sea Snow Crab Fishery with the lowest “Total Allowable Catches,” or harvest TAC, in nearly 45 years.

Although a staple in the Pacific Northwest, crabbing has seen a few tough years. This year’s snow crab TAC was reduced by 50 percent, which is based on declines in both mature male and female snow crab according to seafoodnews.com. The steady decline has been happening since 2007.

We strive to provide our guests with the best experience possible and offer as many options as we can, however the Coeur d’Alene culture is also one of respect for our land and a commitment to the future.

We are excited to announce some new expanded updates to our menus, temporarily without crab until we can have a little better news from up north. Check out the updated menu here.

Region’s Largest Powwow Brings Native American Heritage and Culture to Coeur d’Alene

JulyamshJulyamsh returned this year to a new setting with more space and more excitement. Julyamsh is the Northwest’s largest powwow with more than 800 dancers and about 60 drum groups participating in the celebration. This year’s festival was held July 22-24 at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds and was filled with culture, tradition and fun.

When ties were severed with Greyhound Park in 2014, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe was in search of a new home for Julyamsh and after a long two years without the powwow the tribe found a bigger and better home in Coeur d’Alene at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds.

“I have felt that this is where we belong, in Coeur d’Alene,” said Coeur d’Alene Casino Cultural Affairs Director Quanah Matheson. “Before contact and for decades after, this is where most of our tribe lived, on the north shore of the lake and near the Spokane River. It’s like returning to our ‘capitol city’ for Julyamsh.”Julyamsh

Julyamsh drew roughly 20,000 participants over the course of the weekend and featured multiple activities for everyone to watch. A Stickgame Tournament was held during Julyamsh so festivalgoers could migrate between the fairgrounds and the casino to get a better glimpse of the Native American culture. Apart from the dancing and drums, Julyamsh boasted a horse parade, various forms of art and food vendors.

The weekend started with rainstorms causing some events to be moved but the rain didn’t stop the excitement. The grand entry began with flag bearers and tribal royalty leading all the competitors around the arena. Different types of dances were represented in the grand entry giving a peek of what was to come in the remaining days.

Friday night’s event included the grand entry, special dance events hosted by Coeur d’Alene royalty Little Miss Coeur d’Alene, North Star Lawrence; and Miss Coeur d’Alene, Kyra Antone, as well as the Stickgame Tournament. Lawrence’s dance was a Sweetheart dance for couples in honor of her own grandparents. Antone’s dance featured donated school supplies being placed in the center of the dance floor for people to take what they needed while everyone danced.Julyamsh

Saturday was filled with even more. The Stickgame tournament continued, two grand entries were held, Friday’s reschedule horse parade contest took place and dancing. The night ended with a Royalty Crowning. The weekend culminated the following day with the Head Woman’s special dance, capping off a weekend filled with culture and tradition. Julyamsh 2016 made a grand return that we hope allows the powwow to thrive in the coming years. Visit Julyamsh.com for a full list of winners.

Celebrity Chefs Grace Chinook Meadow This Summer

Chinook Meadow will be seeing stars this summer – Food Network stars that is. Top Chef’s Antonia Lofaso, Iron Chef’s Cat Cora and local celebrity chefs will grace the meadow for the 2016 Farm to Fork series.

This year Farm to Fork will be held the second Sunday of each month on July 10, August 14 and September 11. Like last year’s inaugural event, the day begins at 10 a.m. with a Farmers Market and culminates with a cooking demonstration by a celebrity chef at 7 p.m.

Farm to Fork
Celebrity Chef Hugh Acheson gives a cooking demonstration at last year’s inaugural Farm to Fork.

Lofaso will display her prowess in July, Cora in August and a special local celebrity chef barbecue rib cook-off will round out the summer in September.

Antonia Lofaso is currently an executive chef and owner of Black Market and Scopa Italian Roots in Los Angeles and is frequently seen as a recurring judge on Food Network’s hit show “Cutthroat Kitchen.”

Aside from her tenure on “Iron Chef America,” Cat Cora has made numerous television appearances including NBC’s “Celebrity Cooking Showdown,” “America’s Best Cook,” “Food Fighter” and the Bravo series “Around the World in 80 Plates.”

Farm to Fork
A guest talks to vendor at the farmer’s market during the inaugural Farm to Fork in 2015.

Local celebrity chefs will gather for a rib cook-off at the September Farm to Fork. The cook-off includes one complimentary Laughing Dog Beer or glass of wine from Clearwater Canyon Winery and a sample tasting of each chef’s ribs, while supplies last. Profits from each ticket sold will go to the charity of the winning chef’s choice.

Tickets for each event vary and are available on TicketsWest.com. *Events will be held in the Chinook Meadow. In the case of rain, the event will be moved indoors.

Julyamsh Returns to a New Home

A long and troubling wait is finally over. After two years of discussion, research and even some looks at potential new facilities, Julyamsh has a new home. That home will be the Kootenai County Fairgrounds in Coeur d’Alene Friday through Sunday, July 22-24. It is always open to all people, and all people are welcomed.

Wheels are already turning to get things in line for Julyamsh, the largest outdoor powwow in the Pacific Northwest and among the largest in the nation, drawing dancers and drum groups from across the U.S. and Canada. Tribal members from all over come to watch, as do local crowds and tourists from around the world.

As many as 800 dancers and 60 drum groups have taken part in Julyamsh, representing U.S. tribes and Canadian bands from across the continent.

Julyamsh will bring scores of vendors, including food and beverage, arts and crafts, and memorabilia. Fairgrounds facilities include 83 acres of camping area, a spacious arena, staging areas and plenty of facilities for horses. Each Julyamsh session begins with a horse parade, horses and riders in full regalia.

This year’s event will be one to remember. Keep an eye out for more information as we get closer.

Plant a Seed, Watch it Grow

Plant a Seed; Watch it Grow

By Robert Stephen Bostwick

At times, some of us look at this place and shake our heads a bit in disbelief. Some of us were around when this was a wheat patch, and not much of one at that with only clay to grow in, slick and sticky in the spring, break-it-with-a-pick-axe hard by August.

So the Coeur d’Alene Tribe planted another seed, a different seed. Gaming began with a 30,000 sq. ft. bingo operation, opening in March 1993. That opening day marked the addition of 93 employees, the largest single job growth in modern tribal history.

Most of those 93 employees, a few of whom are still with us, were beginning their first ever fulltime job, opening their first ever bank account, buying their first car, experiencing their first true hope of a better future. Many, to be sure, wept amid thoughts of their ancestors.

A $3.1 million loan from the Bureau of Indian Affairs got it started. That was a 10-year note, paid back in less than two, establishing certified success, superb credit and the roll toward the first of eight major expansions.

Most people thought the tribe would simply stick with bingo. Idaho went bug-eyed as Class II and lottery-based games were brought in, all in compliance with the state/tribe gaming compact. More success meant more investment and risk—a hotel, restaurants, entertainment and, of course, more gaming space.

Those first 50 hotel rooms weren’t enough, so along came 150 more in 2003, but a destination resort required more than just gaming and a hotel, so along came Circling Raven Golf Club, instantly acclaimed as one of the best in Indian Country and, for that matter, the WHOLE damn country.

The Spa Tower side, including the vast Skycatcher promenade, represents the most recent and arguably most stunning expansion, coming with fine dining in the Chinook Pasta and Steakhouse, a 15,000 sq. ft. spa and 98 luxury rooms and suites.

Unemployment among tribal members in 1993 stood at 70 percent. Unemployment now no longer exists, and the economic growth on the reservation has left the tribe with far more jobs than it has tribal members to fill them. Thousands more jobs are created across North Idaho and Eastern Washington via the economic impacts of gaming and the expansion of other tribal operations and enterprises.

“Many business leaders in the region were supportive,” said Chief Executive Officer Dave Matheson. “But they strongly advised against building here. We, on the other hand, had confidence in each other, and belief in our mission. We also recognized that we are surrounded by breathtaking beauty, and that people would come here if we could provide great memories and fine hospitality. Clearly, we have.”

From the time the doors opened for that first weekend in 1993, no one has looked back, except maybe to think about those salad days, shake our heads a bit, and marvel at this Coeur d’Alene Miracle.