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Welcome to Golden Years Editor’s Note


he Newport and Gem State Miner newspapers are proud to publish the 18th annual edition of Golden Years, a magazine focused on the lives of area senior citizens and those who serve them. This year’s issue features two of our area’s great men. Francis Cullooyah is working on a book to share the history of the Kalispel people with generations to come. Cullooyah’s journey through life is chalk full of ups and downs, giving him a valuable perspective for the Kalispel people, and everyone throughout the region. Charles Hayes, who worked as the foreman on the construction of Boundary Dam, is taking his time at the age of 90, building a small train that can carry his grandkids and great-grandkids around his Cusick property. Included in Golden Years is an updated list of agencies and services provided for our senior population and the general public. -MCN


Golden Years 2013

Assistance for Seniors

An array of agencies and groups make life fun and easy

Pend Oreille County

Newport Aging & Long Term Care of Eastern Washington Based in Spokane, Aging & Long Term Care of Eastern Washington serves five Northeast Washington counties, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry, Spokane and Whitman. Its goal is to help develop a comprehensive and coordinated service system for older persons and others in need of long term care. Emphasis is given to those with the greatest social, economic, and health needs and culturally diverse individuals. To access services in Spokane County call Elder Services at 509-458-7450 for information. For Stevens and Pend Oreille counties call Rural Resources Community Action at 509-684-8421. Services fall under the areas of: • Information and Assistance • Family Caregiver Support Program, which includes the “relatives (grandparents) raising relatives” program. • In-home caregiver registry, an electronic registry of potential caregivers available in rural areas. • Advocacy • Health care information for individuals eligible for Medicare and Medicaid • Legal services/consumer protection • Adult in-home care services This agency provides funding and/or support for some of the programs listed under other agencies. ALTCEW is located at 1222 N. Post St., Spokane WA 99201. Their telephone number is 509-4582509; fax number is 509-458-2003

and they can also be reached online at, and by email at

assisted living and nursing homes.

DSHS Home and Community Services

LHC Group helps patients of all ages make the transition to post-acute care at home in communities across the country. Working with hospitals, health systems, home health agencies and trained professionals in local communities, they provide the technologies and professional staffing to deliver the highest possible level of personalized medical attention for patients in the comfort of their homes, and under their physician’s direct supervision. The development of new medical treatments and technologies has made home healthcare an important and cost-effective option for many people recovering from illness or injuries. LHC Group specializes in providing high quality, professional care for a wide range of medical conditions. This includes: After care following surgery, angina, arthritis, back sprain/strain, cancer, COPD, coronary artery disease, dehydration, diabetes mellitus, digoxin toxicity, electrolyte imbalance, heart

Home and Community Services is the division of the Washington Department of Social and Health Services that provides services to Pend Oreille County seniors and people with physical disabilities. The main focus is to provide assistance to help keep senior citizens in their own homes as long as possible. This division also works with the financial branch of DSHS to determine eligibility and qualifications for state financial programs for seniors and other people who may qualify. The office is located in the DSHS building at 1600 W. First St., in Newport. It has one full-time social worker. For more information, contact the Newport office at 509-447-6200 or 1-866-323-9423. Some of the programs include: • Eligibility, which looks at all possible programs to arrive at the right program to meet the qualifying individual’s needs. • Adult Protective Services: To report suspected cases of neglect, abuse, exploitation and abandonment involving seniors, call 1-800-459-0421. • Home Services that gives access to in-home services. This includes personal care services through Medicaid Personal Care (MPC) and Community Options Program Entry System (COPES). These programs help assure that individuals can stay in their homes. To get a referral for new services call 1-866-323-9409. • Out-of-Home Placements provides placements to and discharges from adult family homes, boarding homes,

LHC Group Home Health

failure, hypertension, pituitary dysfunctions, pneumonia, pyelonephritis and stroke. Contact the office in Chewelah at 509-935-0509; fax 509-935-8920 or visit online or 612 E. Main Ave., Chewelah WA 99109. In Idaho, contact the office in Coeur d’Alene at 2426 North Merrit Creek Loop, Coeur D’Alene, ID 83814; call 208-667-7494, fax 208-765-2236 or visit

N.E. Washington Health Programs N.E. Washington Health Programs provides primary health care services to all ages at its Selkirk Community Health Center. Services include treatment for acute and chronic illness; health and wellness education; diabetic care and education; and children’s, men’s, women’s and geriatric health care. In addition to the many services that a family practice provides, the Continued on page 4

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Assistance for Seniors Continued from page 3

following is also offered: computerized radiography; physicals including fire and DOT; minor surgery; moderate complexity lab services; in house CBCs; urine microscopics; Occupational Medicine Certified audiology and spirometry; fracture care and EKGs. Most insurance is accepted including Medicare and DSHS. Payment options are available. Discounted prescriptions are offered for non-Medicaid patients. Located at 208 Cedar Creek Terrace in Ione, the clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and may be reached by calling 509-4423514 or 800-554-2413. In collaboration with Hospice of Spokane, Hospice services are provided to the terminally ill and their loved ones. To contact Hospice, call 877-307-2172. Additional information is available at

Rural Resources Community Action Newport Office: 301 W. Spruce St.,


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Suite D, Newport, WA 99156. Ione Office: Ione Senior Center, 203 Houghton, Ione, WA 99139, Case managers: Dortha Coleman 509-442-3223 and Nikki Parker, 509-442-3222. (See separate listing under Ione/Metalines.) The Adult and Long Term Care Division of Rural Resources offers services to those 60 and older and their families. The agency also monitors services to those adults under 60 who are on state home care programs. For the Newport and Cusick areas call 509-550-7049; Ione and Metalines 509-442-3222; and for Stevens County or general information 800-873-5889. Services include: • Family Caregiver Support Program that provides information about and assistance in accessing long term care services, training and education by a field professional such as a nurse or dietician to individual participants and caregivers, assistance in gaining access to estate planning services, and in- and out-of-home respite services. • Information and Assistance/Case Management provides information about a wide variety of resources

available to seniors and their families. Case managers also provide assistance and referrals for problems with Social Security, SSI, insurance and Medicare. Case management provides regular visits and assistance to disabled adults who need services. • Respite: Provides relief for families or other unpaid caregivers of disabled adults, 18 years of age and above. Both in-home and out-of-home respite care is available. • Nutrition: Hot, home delivered meals are available on meal days for seniors just getting out of the hospital or homebound. Frozen meals are available to those seniors who are homebound or unable to cook. A donation is requested for seven meals. Liquid dietary and shelf stable meals also are available. Both of these can be picked up at the Rural Resource office. Diner’s Choice meal program is also available through Rural Resources. • Transportation: Senior bus service is available in Newport. Call 800-7769026 to reserve space on upcoming trips. The Newport van is available to take seniors grocery shopping, to pick up prescriptions and to doctor appointments. • Medicaid transportation is available from Special Mobility Transportation and can be scheduled by calling 800892-4817. • Public transportation available in southern Pend Oreille, including Cusick, Usk, Kalispel Reservation and Newport, Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., using wheelchair accessible vehicles. • For information on medical insurance, contact your local office. • Volunteer opportunities: Volunteer as a driver to take people to doctor appointments. Call Rural Resources at 800-776-9026 or Volunteer Chore service at 800-428-6825. • Other volunteer services also are

available at Volunteer Chore service. Volunteers are also needed at the Newport site to deliver hot meals to the homebound seniors. Call Marcy at 509-447-3812.

Pend Oreille County Library District The four libraries of the Pend Oreille Library District offer many information resources for seniors. The website provides a listing of links interesting to seniors under the “Online Resources” tab. They also offer online databases for consumer health information, business information and many other topics. Reference help is available through POCLD’s website by clicking the “Ask Us 24/7” logo on the home page, by calling any library branch or by emailing Web page: Library locations are: • Newport Public Library, 116 S. Washington, Newport, WA 99156; telephone 509-447-2111; fax 509-4472806. • Calispel Valley Library, 107 First Ave., Cusick, WA 99119; telephone 509-445-1215; fax 509-445-1215. • Ione Public Library, 210 Blackwell St. Suite 1, Ione, WA 99139; telephone 509-442-3030; fax 509-442-3248. • Metalines Community Library, 302 Park St., Metaline Falls, WA 99153; telephone 509-446-3232; fax 509446-2302. District Administration Office: 116 S. Washington Ave., Newport, WA 99156; telephone 509-447-2158, 509447-3572; fax 509-447-2806.

Hospitality House The Hospitality House Senior Center, located at 216 S. Washington Ave. Continued on page 5

Assistance for Seniors Continued from page 4

in Newport, provides services for the “over 50” group of people in the community, as well as opening up their building for use by other organizations which benefit the community. Hospitality House is open 8-9 a.m. each weekday for coffee. Many come for this morning fellowship together as they take a break from their morning walks. The center is also open 9 a.m. to noon each weekday and Wednesdays until 4 p.m. for ping pong, cards, games, crafts, reading, movies, and/or just hanging out with friends. Regular events sponsored by the senior center include: • Card games: Duplicate Bridge is held Thursdays at 12:30 p.m. for $1.50 and Pinochle is held Thursdays at 6 p.m. for $2. Games are open to all. • Potlucks: A potluck is held on the second and fourth Mondays at noon. Participants are asked to bring a covered dish. Potlucks are open to all. • Exercise: Fit for Life (gentle exercises) is held Mondays and Thursdays at 8 a.m. Exercise sessions are one hour.

• Music: Live Bluegrass music is held the second and fourth Fridays at 6 p.m. from spring to fall. A $3 donation is requested and everyone is welcome. • Tax assistance programs are provided by AARP in the spring of each year. AARP “55 Alive” driving classes are available in the fall as the need arises. The center can be rented for various activities. Call 509-447-3812 for more information.

Greater Newport Area Chamber of Commerce The Greater Newport Area Chamber of Commerce serves as a resource for our area’s businesses, as well as tourists, visitors and residents. Its mission is to create, promote, and strengthen the business and economic climate, as members believe that a prosperous business community and robust economy will lead to an enhanced quality of life for the communities the chamber serves. For more information visit www. or email

KALTRAN Transportation KALTRAN is a public transportation services operated by the Kalispel Tribal Planning Department under the Kalispel Tribal Business Council. All members of the general public are welcome to ride aboard the Kalispel Transit System. All KALTRAN vehicles are ADA compliant. KALTRAN provides fixed route service from the Tribal Wellness Center to North Spokane. Round trip service is also provided to Ione on Monday and Wednesdays. Deviated services are also available up to 3/4 of a mile off the normal fixed route, or within the boundaries of the Kalispel Indian Reservation. All deviated route services must be scheduled with the KALTRAN office prior to the requested pick-up time, so vehicles can be appropriately dispatched. KALTRAN is operational Monday thru Thursday. The Kalispel Tribal Transit System charges $1 per trip. Bus passes are

available for $15 and offer 20 rides. Bus passes do not expire. Contact administration at 509-4477120; KALTRAN at 509-447-7195 and transit at 509-447-7247.

Ione/Metalines N.E. WA Rural Resources The Northeast Washington Rural Resources Development Association office is at 201 Houghton in Ione and provides a variety of adult and longterm care services in North Pend Oreille County. The telephone number is 509-442-3223. • Program access: Senior Case Management Supervisor Dortha Coleman, 509-442-3223, and Case Manager Nikki Parker, 509-442-3222, assist seniors and disabled persons in accessing programs to improve their living conditions, health concerns and RX solutions. Care is also extended for usage of the Respite Program to give unpaid caregivers needed time off. • Senior meals: Senior meals are beContinued on page 6

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Assistance Continued from page 5

ing provided by the Diner’s Choice program at The Western Star in Metaline, 509-446-2105. Meals are available during regular business hours; suggested donation for a meal is $2.50. • In-home meals are available to home bound or those unable to cook. Call 509-442-3222 if interested. • Medical transports: Transportation for medical appointments is provided for those over 60 years of age and others on Medicaid. The Medicaid transportation number is 800-8924817; others may call Rural Resources Transportation Office at 800-7769026. • For other services see Northeast Washington Rural Resources listing under Pend Oreille County.

Bonner County Area Agency on Aging


Golden Years 2013

The Area Agency on Aging administers comprehensive community-based programs to maximize independence and quality of life for people aged 60 and older. The local Area Agency on Aging office is located in Coeur d’Alene and serves the five northern counties of Idaho, including Bonner. Agency programs include: • Adult Protection: Investigates reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults (18 and older) who are unable to protect or take care of themselves. • Information and Assistance: Provides referrals to services in the community to meet a broad spectrum of needs, including assisted living and nursing facilities; in-home health care; housing; home-delivered meals; snow removal; yard work; transportation; and legal needs to name just a few. Information and Assistance offers information to family members, caregivers and the senior about available resources and services in the five northern counties of Idaho as well as contact numbers for similar agencies nationwide. • Case Management: Assists elderly and disabled adults 60 and over who require help in coordinating services to maintain their maximum level of health and independence in their homes and communities. The case manager evaluates client needs and abilities to function in their own environment and then develops a service plan that includes family and other supports. • Contracted services: Through a combination of federal and state funding, contracts for various services are designed to maximize independence and quality of life for seniors of at

least 60 years of age or the spouse of an eligible senior. Contracted services include home delivered meals, homemaker, transportation, legal and respite services. • Ombudsman: Advocates and problem solves for individuals 60 and over living in an institutional setting. Ombudsmen investigate, mediate and resolve complaints registered on behalf of individuals having problems with nursing homes, residential care homes and assisted living homes. • Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP): Provides a variety of opportunities for retired persons, age 55 and older, to participate in the life of their communities through volunteer service. If you are looking for something to put zest in your life, call to see what volunteer opportunities are available in your community. Contact the Area Agency on Aging at 208-667-3179 or 800-786-5536. Visit the website at or email The office is located at 2120 Lakewood Dr., Suite B, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814.

Bonner Community Hospice Headquartered at Bonner General Hospital in Sandpoint, Bonner Community Hospice is a non-profit organization certified by Medicare and Medicaid and a member of the National Hospice Organization. Serving all of Bonner and Boundary counties, the organization provides compassionate care to persons with life threatening illnesses and shortened life expectancy, and families in their homes and nursing homes. The hospice team includes physicians, registered nurses, social workers, trained volunteers, chaplains, home health aides, therapists and a nutrition counselor. Services are partially or fully covered by many insurance plans and fully covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Ability to pay does not determine level of care. To help cover the costs of services and programs, Hospice appeals to the community for funding. These funds are for direct client care, educational programs and continuing the community bereavement programs. Referrals can be made by a physician or hospital discharge planner. For more information, call the Hospice office at 208-265-1179 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Hospice’s mailing address is 520 N. Third St., Sandpoint ID 83864. Carefully selected and trained volContinued on page 7

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unteers are vital members of Hospice. Those interested in volunteering should contact Bonner Community Hospice. Hospice has a variety of ways that those interested in volunteering can help.

West Bonner Library District The Priest River Library is located at 118 Main St. in Priest River, 208-4482207. The website is www.westbonner. Library hours are Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Computer classes are scheduled as funding becomes available. For information on library services, call 208-448-2207. Blanchard Branch Library is located at 412 Railroad Ave., Blanchard. Hours are Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The library can be reached at 208437-0801.

Blanchard BASIC and Blanchard Community Center Blanchard Area Seniors Incorporated (BASIC) is a nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteers, serving senior citizens and persons of all ages. BASIC takes an active role in the concerns, issues and interests of the entire community; publishes a free quarterly newsletter going to more than 900 households; holds monthly social and

informational meetings; provides free Medicare/SHIBA insurance counseling; has a “country breakfast” program seasonally on select Mondays from 7-11 a.m.; art classes for adults at low cost and children free; a quilting group and Master Chef cooking classes. BASIC owns and operates the Blanchard Community Center, 685 Rusho Lane in Blanchard. Meetings are open to the public and are on the second Thursday of each month at 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. on program nights. Programs are supported through minimal fees, donations, fundraisers and foundation grants. The center is available for private rental at reasonable rates. For more information call 208-437-1037 or write to BASIC, P.O. Box 127, Blanchard, ID 83804.

Priest River Priest River Senior Center The Frank Chapin Senior Center at 339 E. Jackson (corner Fourth and Jackson), in Priest River and provides various social functions for seniors and other members of the public, and it also operates the Priest River Food Bank. Details on these services are listed below; more information is available by calling the center at 208-448-2352. • A soup kitchen is open on Mondays and the West Bonner Food Bank operates at the center on Thursdays. • Every Wednesday and Saturday the card players gather for pinochle, conversation and goodies. • Quilters gather to visit and construct works of textile art Thursday mornings. • The Happy Agers meet for a potluck

on the second and fourth Friday of the month. • During the 4-H season, the leather crafters meet here on Thursday nights. • Prior to hunting season, the senior center is host to Hunter Safety classes. • Several times each year, the Senior Driving Classes are held here. • Many citizens rent the hall for receptions and club meetings.

Priest River Chamber of Commerce Information on the community, as well as travel information, is available from the Priest River Chamber of Commerce. The chamber office is located at 119 Main St., in the Beardmore Building, Suite 203 B, P.O. Box 929, Priest River ID 83856. Office hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The chamber’s general meetings for members are the third Tuesday of each month at a local restaurant, as announced. The website is www.priestrivercham-, or call 208-448-2721.

Priest Lake Priest Lake Public Library The library is located at 28769 Highway 57 at Priest Lake. You can reach them by calling 208443-2454; fax 208-443-3121 or by email at The website is Regular hours are Tuesday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Fit and Fall Proof Classes Fit and Fall Proof is a free fitness program designed to strengthen older adults so they fall less. Classes are targeted for people in the 65-plus age range but are open to others if space is available. The classes are free and administered by the Idaho Panhandle Health District. For class information in your area, call coordinator Lisa Gardom at 208-415-5242, or email

2013 Golden Years


All aboard: Cusick man builds small train along river By Desireé Hood

Charles Robert Hayes spent his career as a millwright chasing deadlines. Now at the age of 90, he’s working on a project that will never be done – a petite diesel train that chugs along the Pend Oreille River. “I had to work on projects all my life that had a completion date when you got on it. You had to get done,” Hayes said. “Well, I started one here that will never get done. I like that very much.” The 50-foot train was started around 2008. After watching a video on steam engines, Hayes and his wife, Doris Mae, went to Oregon and researched a locomotive before making tracks back to Pend Oreille County and building the train. “We didn’t get live steam, we wound up getting diesel,” Hayes said. “It’s an imitation of diesel, it’s actually a gas product.” The on-going family train can carry up to 20 adults on a 3 percent grade. It has a 16-horse power V-twin engine run on a diesel alternative and is more than 50 feet long.


Golden Years 2013

More than 1,000 feet of track has been laid. The train even boasts an authentic choo-choo whistle while it winds through the scenic northern beauty. The couple just had a six-man crew come to the residence and help lay another 190 feet of track. The track is 7 and a half gauge, meaning it is to scale of a full-sized train if it were larger. “I have cut over 4,500 ties here,” Hayes said. “I build all the switches. We buy just steel for rail.” They do not offer rides to the public but they have five grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren that all love the train. No great-greats yet, Hayes said. “It would be fun but I am not counting on that,” Hayes said. If Hayes does not complete the project, which he said would probably not happen, his children will inherit the train and the on-going project. “There is a lot of work to it, believe me,” Hayes said. “I don’t believe in building jobs that don’t work.” From Ione and growing up in Pend Continued on page 9

Miner photo|Desireé Hood

Charles Robert Hayes works on the switch in one section of the track. They recently added 190 feet of more track to the scenic ride along the Pend Oreille River.

Courtesy photo|Bob Hayes

The 50-foot train can handle up to 20 adults on a 3 percent incline and chugs around the Hayes property on more than 1,000 feet of track. Hayes said the train would never be completed.

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Oreille County, he attended classes in 1929 at the schoolhouse in Locke, Wash., no longer considered a town. Shortly after starting school, his father was killed in a sawmill accident and the family – his mother, Hayes and three siblings – moved back to the north end of Pend Oreille County, near Ione. He attended the Ione Public School where he graduated with 12 seniors. “It was quite an active little town. Much different than it is now,” Hayes said. “It is just like a skeleton of what is a town.” They lived in Cement, Wash., a town that sat behind the current day Metaline Falls.

“Cement was bigger than Ione at one time. That’s where the steamboats landed,” Hayes said. “They burnt limestone there, they didn’t make cement.” In 1946, he married Doris Mae Hayes, 86, and the couple had two children. They share memories of world traveling, having been around the world twice during their years together. Hayes got out of the military in late 1946 and moved back to Metaline, where their son was born. Doris was pregnant with their daughter. Finding work as a millwright, Hayes spent the next many decades working on different projects, all with deadlines looming. Continued on page 10

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Miner photo|Desireé Hood

The couple married in 1946 and traveled the world twice before returning to the beloved Pend Oreille County. They started the train in 2008.

Continued from page 9

“You do whatever they hand you,” Hayes said. He was the Foreman on Box Canyon Dam when it was first built. He worked on several dams in the county, including Boundary. The first trip the family took was to Jamshedpur, India, in 1957, 150 miles from Calcutta. The family stayed for 26 months and Hayes built an expansion program at a large steel mill. The family stayed together including the kids, then 10 and 6 and the return trip started their first trip around the world. On the way back to the U.S., they traded his first class ticket for tourist class seats and took the children around the world for 21 days, literally, before touching American soil. “When we left there, we brought the kids home to see the rest of the world. A good portion of it,” Hayes said.


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They traveled through Europe, North Africa and the Middle East before landing in New York City. “In New York, we bought a new car there and drove home in April of 1959,” Hayes said. “We lived in 10 different countries and worked on 13 major projects over the next 35 years.” The Hayes family spent time is Malaysia, Argentina, Sweden and Greece, before his final job call came in 1996 on their 50 wedding anniversary. The job was to consult on a construction project in Caraco, Spain. “I turned 74 on the job. Figured that was about time to quit,” Hayes said. They sold their house and moved to a home between Cusick and Ione, on the Pend Oreille River. And it was here he was inspired to take a different kind of trip – around his property on his train. “This is home to me. I was raised around Ione and this country and still believe it is home,” Hayes said. “Now we are home with the memories.”

Cullooyah writing book about Kalispel way of life By Don Gronning


everal years ago Francis Cullooyah, 69, didn’t think he had long to live. He had been diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. “I had kissed Francis Cullooyah goodbye,” he says when he heard the diagnosis. He knew it was grim. But in addition to western medicine – chemotherapy – Cullooyah sought out a more traditional healer. “I ended up going to a Navaho medicine man,” Cullooyah said. Cullooyah is a member of the Kalispel Tribe of Indians and one of a handful of people still alive who were raised speaking the language of the tribe – Salish. After the diagnosis, Cullooyah met up with the Navajo man, a Hopi medicine man and two women in Flagstaff, Ariz. “We drove to the mountains,” Cullooyah says. There the medicine man and women did a sand painting. Cullooyah stood in the circle while the sand painting was meticulously crafted. “It took four hours, but it seemed like ten or fifteen minutes,” Cullooyah said. Cullooyah flew back to Washington for his doctor appointment. They took blood, he said. After a while a nurse came in and said the doctor wanted to see him. The doctor told him that his white blood count was up and that he didn’t need chemotherapy that day. A short time later it was discontinued altogether and Cullooyah is currently in remission. Cullooyah says that his close call with cancer got him thinking. “I wanted to leave something to the next generation,” he said. So he started writing a book called “The Kalispel Way

of Life.” He has been working on the book for three years and it is due out in December. Cullooyah certainly is qualified to write the book. He was raised on the Kalispel Reservation and grew up speaking Salish. Reservation life was pretty basic in the early 50s. His mother made his clothes and Cullooyah says there wasn’t electricity on the reservation until about 1953. A couple years later his grandfather acquired a television. “We had a lot of visitors,” Cullooyah laughs. Cullooyah attended school at Cusick. “I wasn’t the best student, but I made it through,” he remembers. “I played about every sport there was.” There was a certain amount of racial tension between Indian people and white people in those days, although Cullooyah downplays it. “I seemed to get along with the kids,” he says. “But in those days there were a lot of people who moved here that didn’t know Indian people.” After graduation, Cullooyah was accepted into the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, N.M. He attended college with George Flett, an acclaimed Native American artist famous for his ledger paintings. “There were four or five of my classmates that made it big,” Cullooyah says. Cullooyah’s interest changed at the Institute. “I started as a painter,” he said. “Little did I know I was interested in museum work.” That led to a contract with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He helped set up a gal-

Miner photo|Don Gronning

Francis Cullooyah at his current job as director of the Kalispel Tribe’s cultural program. He is pictured in front of a painting by the late George Flett, who was Cullooyah’s classmate at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

lery of Indian art on the fourth floor of the Department of Interior Building in Washington D.C. “Four of us spent 16 weeks establishing

that show,” he said. The show was taken on the road. “It hit every big museum in Continued on page 12

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Continued from page 11

the United States.” Cullooyah was a member of a group of Native Americans who performed for President Lyndon Johnson and the President of the Republic of Upper Volta during a state visit. He has a picture in office of him shaking hands with President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. LBJ towered over Cullooyah. “He was big,” Cullooyah remembers. “His hands were huge.” LBJ didn’t just shake hands with the visitors, he also spent time talking to Cullooyah and the others. Cullooyah returned to the Institute of American Indian Arts, where he graduated. Following graduation he went on to study anthropology at the College of the Virgin Islands for two years. Cullooyah eventually returned to Usk, where, among other things, he competed in rodeo as a bull rider. But an alcohol problem put an end to his rodeoing. Cullooyah said alcohol was a huge problem in Usk. “At one time I could count on one hand the number of people who didn’t drink,” he says. By 1995, things had changed. “I could count on one hand the number of people who still drank,” he said. Overcoming alcohol addiction wasn’t easy. “In 1973, I quit drinking for five years,” he says. Then he started drinking again. He would get back on the wagon and stop drinking for a time, then fall off, he said. That went on until 1987, the last day he had a drink. In the early 1990s Cullooyah worked for the tribe as the agricultural manager, running the tribe’s buffalo herd. Cullooyah went on to work for the state Department of Corrections as a spiritual advisor/Native American chaplain. He worked in that role until 1999. “I resigned June 15, 1999,” he says. A week later he was elected to the Kalispel Tribe’s business council, its governing body. He was unelected when he ran for another term, losing by two votes. About that time the tribe was approached by the man who ran the racetrack in Airway Heights. The man wanted the tribe to participate in a bingo hall he was planning to build. He had already been to the Spokane and Colville tribes, trying to get them involved, but they had turned him down. He got a different reaction when he asked the Kalispels to get involved. “We didn’t have anything to lose,” Cullooyah says. The tribe was about bankrupt, he says, and desperate for economic development. The project eventually evolved into the Northern Quest Resort and Casino. But it took time. “It took eight years after the decision before we could open,” Cullooyah says. The tribe had to get state and federal approval to open a casino so far from Usk. But approval was eventually granted and the rest is history. Cullooyah marvels 12

Golden Years 2013

at the project. “It went from a bingo hall to a 4,000 square foot building being built,” he says. Today Cullooyah works as director of the tribe’s cultural program. One of the reasons he is writing the book is to leave something to his 18 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He wants them to know the way of life the Kalispel people have lived for centuries. Cullooyah wants people to know about the Kalispel way of life. When he grew up, he was steeped in Kalispel culture. His mother, Annie Ignace, was a Kalispell tribal member and his father, Frank Cullooyah, was a member of the Flathead Tribe in Arlee, Mont. Cullooyah spent part of his time in Montana and part in Usk. Both tribes speak Salish, although the dialect is slightly different. Cullooyah looks back on his childhood fondly. “I was fortunate to live that life,” he says.

Miner photo|Don Gronning

Francis Cullooyah is an accomplished master of ceremonies. Here he presides over the Celebrating Salish Conference at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino last March. The conference celebrates the Salish language and draws participants from the Northwest and Canada.

Miner photo|Don Gronning

Cullooyah grew up speaking Salish, the native language of the Kalispel people. Here he serves as master of ceremonies for the Salish karaoke contest at the Celebrating Salish Conference. Cullooyah’s wit and good nature added to the contest, where people sang modern songs in Salish.

2013 Golden Years



Golden Years 2013

2013 Golden Years


2013 Golden Years  
2013 Golden Years  

Golden Years 2013