Holy Names Sister Francella Mary Griggs, esteemed elder and advocate for of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, died Jan. 7. She was 91.
Born on Feb. 5, 1920, Mary Griggs graduated from St. Mary School in Medford and entered the Sisters of the Holy Names, making her first vows on her 23rd birthday. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish and went on to teach at a variety of schools in Oregon and Washington.
In the late 1960s, Sister Francella turned her attention to her cultural roots. She joined a commission to help restore federal recognition for her family’s tribe. She worked with Oregon congressmen to reestablish the Confederated Tribes.
She worked as the executive director of the Portland Urban Indian Program and as a professor in the Indian Center at Eastern State University in La Grande.
At her death, she was the oldest member of the tribe. She is survived by family members, the Siletz Tribe, and members of her Religious community.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 18, at Mary’s Woods Provincial House Chapel in Lake Oswego.