Meeks Bay opens, Washoe Tribe returns
With the opening of Meeks Bay Resort and Marina Friday, the Washoe Tribe officially has returned to the shores of Lake Tahoe after more than a century.
“Today (Friday) is a very important day,” said Brian Wallace, chairman of the Washoe Tribe, “because we finally get to celebrate the long journey home.”
The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California was awarded the contract to operate the resort and marina by the U.S. Forest Service in late April. The Washoe proposal, the best of the five received by the forest service, secured the contract. And with it, the tribe reestablished its presence at the lake – an area that was once the center of its ancestral lands.
“We are finally seeing peace and rest at last,” Wallace said. “Finally, we are beginning to feel the warmth of the world turn in our favor. This is not only a day for Washoe to be proud of, but a day America should be proud.”
The first day of a new Washoe era began with a special gala. People were treated to a day that included a prayer and blessing, brief speeches by Wallace and Juan Palma, forest supervisor with the forest service, and introductions of staff and special guests. Music, dinner and a reception followed.
“The idea was to let the neighbors know we are here and the resort is back up and running,” said Carolyn Bryant, resort manager. “There is a lot of history here between the Washoe Tribe and the many families who have been coming here over the years.”
Nearly 250 people showed up to see the new resort and to mingle with friends and staff. Many of them came to celebrate with fellow tribal members.
“We hope to come here and stand under an umbrella of hope and fellowship, and I hope it’s a feeling we don’t soon forget,” Wallace said.
Soon after the acceptance of their bid in April, members of the new staff went to work. All lodging units and the main building have been refurbished, and a coffee bar and pastry area is scheduled to open within a few weeks.
Several weeks ago, Don Lane, supervisory recreation forester with the forest service, visited the site and was amazed at what he saw. He said the new managers were doing things far beyond what they had to do, and that by the look of things, “it was going to be a tremendous little resort.”
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