On Saturday, PMP (in partnership with Project Untangled and the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde) conducted the first Intercutural Welcoming Ceremony for Refugees in their tribal longhouse.
The CTGR hosted a group of Syrian refugees and provided a tangible event that officially welcomed them to Oregon, opened their arms in friendship, and offered a sense of true belonging here. The CTGR did this through telling their story of displacement from their ancestral lands here in Oregon, song, dance, and cooking an amazing meal of ceremonial elk stew, fry bread, salmon, and blueberry cobbler. The Syrian group, in return, gave a gift of dates and offered their own stories of displacement, thoughts, and words of friendship. Finally, they were mentioned as honored guests at the Grand Entry of the Annual Veterans Pow Wow, which the Syrian group attended.
This was the culmination of a series of Intra-community Dialogues that PMP has been doing with Project Untangled (Omar Reda). In these dialogues, we have been talking about the challenges and success of resettlement, trauma and re-traumatization, isolation and belonging, racism, inter-generational issues, assimilation vs integration and cultural preservation, healing, and what the hopes are for the Syrian community moving forward here in the Portland Metro area.
These dialogues, and this final ceremony, strike at the heart of what PMP is and does. We are so deeply grateful for CTGR and Omar Reda for creating the space for this to happen. And there are more to come with different refugee communities in the coming year.
And, finally, we are moved and indebted to the Syrians who participated and risked in this program. This is only the beginning. We love you.