Sherry Smokey (Washoe Tribe) honored by Carson Valley museum
Special to First Nation’s Focus
GARDNERVILLE, Nev. — Surrounded by her grandchildren and holding a rose, Sherry Smokey was honored on Saturday, March 23, for her efforts on behalf of the Washoe Tribe as a historical woman of importance.
Smokey was one of five women inducted into the Women in History Remembrance project at the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center.
“We are proud of Sherry, the woman who led the way for Douglas County’s cultural understanding of the Washoe Tribe and who helped promote Washoe students’ access to higher education,” son Rollin Smokey said.
Smokey was best known for her development of Wa-Pai-Shone, which brought demonstrations of Washoe, Paiute and Shoshone culture to Douglas County schools every year.
“It was a cultural exchange program that encouraged students to talk to others about their culture,” Rollin Smokey said.
He said the naming of the new Gardnerville Ranchos middle school Pau-Wa-Lu, which is Washoe for “People of the Valley,” demonstrated the significance of his mother’s work.
The five women inducted on March 23 join the ranks of nearly 150 women who have been celebrated since the Women in History Remembrance project began in 2000. O
After gold was found in California, silver was discovered in Virginia City, and the Comstock bonanza lured those seeking riches onto Washoe terrain. The settlers viewed the land as an object of financial opportunity. In a very short time, pine nuts, seeds, game and fish had been overused. The harmonious rhythm that the Washoe had maintained was broken.