The Puyallup Tribe recently reconnected with two of its members.
After more than 25 years of no contact, Anastacio and Ramon Gomez have been warmly welcomed back into the Tribal community – a community they never knew they were a part of.
The brothers were born to Toni McDonald, a Puyallup tribal member who enrolled her sons during infancy. Shortly after her youngest son Ramon (now age 27) was born, the boys went to live with their father in Mexico, where they grew up, and Ramon still lives today.
Anastacio, age 29, currently lives in Spain with his wife.
“We had been looking and looking for them for years,” said per capita director Monica Miller. “We finally found them. The brothers had been missing in action for years. They didn’t even know they were enrolled.”
Once the per capita department was able to contact the Gomez brothers, a long process of explaining the situation and the Tribe’s enrollment benefits began. At first, Anastacio and Ramon – both of whom speak Spanish as a first language – were very skeptical.
“It was just long term of trying to get their trust, and get them to understand that the Puyallup Tribe would be a great benefit to them.”
On Aug. 3, the brothers traveled to the Tribe to meet with council, and were given a tour of the Tribal land. They were also presented with Pendleton welcoming blankets, and two very large checks of back per-capita payments.
“It was pretty nice. When they saw the checks their faces lit up…they were so excited. With that kind of money they can go home and buy businesses, homes and properties.”
The brothers were also able to reconnect with their Puyallup family for the first time during a family reunion at the Emerald Queen Casino in Fife Aug. 4. There, they met their mother, grandmother Faye Wilson and brother Hose Rodriguez among other relatives.
“We’ve had a few (Tribal members) go missing in action over the years,” said Monica Miller, who noted that after connecting with the Gomez brothers, the per capita department still has two members left to locate.
“They’re really nice and good boys,” she said. “They went home to invest their money. We hope they keep in contact with the Tribe.”