Cayuse Technologies Honors 15 Tribal Flags

August 2013, CUJ

Drum beats echoed through the halls of Cayuse Technologies recently in “song and ceremony” to honor tribal heritage. Staff celebrated with a tribal flag ceremony to honor 15 flags, one for each tribe represented by Cayuse Technologies’ employees.

About 75 people stood in the lobby at Cayuse Technologies for the full ceremony; hundreds stood to watch the procession of the flags through the building, each carried by an employee.

“It is with song and ceremony that we honor where we come from. It is with song and ceremony that we honor the memory of the people before us,” said Armand Minthorn, a member of the Cayuse Technologies Board of Directors. “Today we honor these flags. This is the way we’ve been taught – it isn’t anything we’ve made up. These songs we echo are a part of our life.”

Cayuse Technologies regularly hosts events to acknowledge the core values: integrity, quality, teamwork/family, diversity and work ethic. In January, the business unveiled flags for each state considered home by an employee, such as Oregon, Arizona and Kansas, in honor of diversity month.

The work to collect and display the tribal flags took more than six months. Liz Henry, Cayuse Technologies’ Business Process Outsourcing Manager, began the process of bringing tribal flags to the building. Since January, employees have worked to order and display the flags to represent each part of the Cayuse Technologies family’s background.

“Today, I think the native staff is proud,” Henry said. “It turned out better than we expected.”

In addition to the tribal members and descendants who carried flags, other employees also took active roles in the event. Judy Parker, a marine veteran, carried the U.S. flag, escorted by three employees, each also a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. Three Cayuse Technologies employees also joined community members in the drum circle for the ceremony.

Natalie Johnson, a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, carried her tribe’s flag in the procession and attended the ceremony. Johnson has been a Cayuse Technologies employee since October 2009.

“This is awesome,” she said after the ceremony. “What’s really great about it is everyone coming together as one.”

“I’ve never done anything like this. It was my first experience,” said Shauna Boles, a four-year employee who carried the flag for the Delaware Tribe of Indians. “It was truly amazing, and that is when I realized I was part of something great.”

CTUIR Tribal Chairman Les Minthorn ended the ceremony by speaking about the flags and their importance in preserving the culture of each tribe.

“Each nation’s color has a meaning, all directions. Each piece has a meaning for your culture,” he said, pointing to the red color of the CTUIR flag, representing sacrifice, and the oval shape which represents the Longhouse. “We’re doing the best we can in modern society to hang on to our culture… Don’t let it go away.”

The flags are on permanent display in the lobby at Cayuse Technologies. Additional flags will be added for any new employees who join the company with tribal heritage different from the existing flags.

The flags honored Wednesday include Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho, Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Delaware Tribe of Indians, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Mandan Hidatsa & Arikira Nation, Navajo Nation, Oglala Lakota Nation, Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska, The Confederated Tribes Of The Colville Reservation, The Central Counsel of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, and Smith River Rancheria in California.

Founded in 2006, Cayuse Technologies is owned by the CTUIR and provides software development and business process services to clients across the country.

To learn more about Cayuse Technologies, visit http://cayusetechnologies.com.

This story originally appeared in the CUJ and written by the staff from Cayuse Technologies. The Confederated Umatilla Journal is the monthly newspaper of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Pendleton, Oregon.