Community Honoring Ceremony
September 9 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Each year, we extend this distinct privilege to our most dedicated volunteers and partners, whose continued support sustain the NAYA Family Center and lifts up our people. Many in this last year have actively engaged to strengthen our community. To show our appreciation, we would like to honor them publicly, and present them with an Honor Necklace.
The Honoring Necklace
In 2001 the role and attendance of the spring Youth and Elders event increased significantly at the same time that volunteerism and community engagement was on the rise within the organization. At that time, it was clear that an honoring strategy that could be built upon was necessary to recognize those community members that have continued to volunteer and contribute year after year. We also wanted to identify an honoring tradition that was recognized by an Oregon Tribe with historical ties to the Portland Area. Sasha Shoemaker, who held the Miss Siletz title at that time, gifted the tradition of the honoring necklaces to NAYA in May of 2001 and made the first 20 necklaces that we gifted.
The history and the culture of the necklace are very important and are directly related to the purpose of our honoring event. The shells represent community wealth, as demonstrated by giving to others and the community, not monetary wealth. The shells that we use are collected on the Newport and Lincoln City coast by a Native elder. Many different colors and styles of beads are used in order to make each necklace unique and individualized. The two strands symbolize the connection between the past and an investment by the community in the future. The necklaces are constructed throughout the year by staff, elders, community members and volunteers. The NAYA tradition is that individuals are gifted a necklace each year that they invest in the community. Over the years they will collect multiple necklaces and wearing them at the honoring ceremony or other gathering is an opportunity to show how treasured that individual is in the community.