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Governor Kotek Visits Coquille Tribe
Visit with Coquille Indian Tribe marks fourth visit of commitment to visit all nine federally recognized Tribal nations of Oregon this year

This week, Governor Tina Kotek and First Lady Aimee Kotek Wilson spent the day with the Coquille Indian Tribe. The visit is part of Governor Kotek’s commitment to meet with all of Oregon’s nine federally recognized sovereign Tribal nations in 2024.

“It was an honor for the First Lady and I to spend such a fulfilling day with members and staff of the Coquille Indian Tribe,” Governor Kotek said. “We were impressed with the Tribe’s early learning center, youth council, wellness center, and so much more. The sense of community was incredible, and we appreciate getting the opportunity to learn more about the Tribe’s history and culture.”

“I want to thank Governor Kotek and the First Lady for spending a full, beautiful day with the Coquille Tribe, getting to hear, first-hand, from so many of our tribal members about the good works being done by and for our members and our neighboring communities,” Coquille Indian Tribe Chair Brenda Meade said. “Visits like this can only help Oregon and our sovereign nation continue to improve our growing relationship as partners in improving the lives of our citizens, now and in the future.”

After having breakfast with the Coquille Tribal Council at The Mill Casino, the Governor and First Lady toured the Tribal Learning Center and discussed shared goals around education. The learning center is home to the Tribe’s Head Start program and afterschool and summer programs.

Following the conversation, the Governor and First Lady toured the Coquille Tribal Plankhouse, a traditional cedar-built gathering place for ceremonial, cultural, and community events. Discussions centered around culture and language revitalization, including with members of the Tribal Youth Council, which aims to create opportunities for Coquille Tribal youth to connect with their community, gain leadership skills, and learn more about their government and culture.

After lunch at the Plankhouse, the Governor and First Lady traveled to the Ko-Kwel Wellness Center (KWC) for a tour and discussion about health care and behavioral health. The center promotes a holistic approach to healing with the integration of Indigenous social determinants of health embedding their own Indigenous knowledge, values, and traditions, in a comfortable, inclusive environment focused on belonging. The wellness center serves the Coquille Tribal family, other American Indians and Alaska Natives, tribal employees, and the general public. The Tribe is partnering with Bay Area First Step, a Coos County-based non-profit organization dedicated to providing peer-based substance use disorder treatment/recovery and housing.

Finally, the Governor and First Lady spent an hour learning about the Tribe’s work on habitat restoration on the Coquille River, as well as the progress on their recent cooperative partnership with the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) to protect, restore, and enhance fish and wildlife populations and their habitat within a five-county area of southwest Oregon.

Note to Editors: The Coquille Indian Tribe contributes to the economy of Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson and Lane counties through its timber operations; the Mill Casino-Hotel and RV Park on Coos Bay; the Ko-Kwel Wellness Centers in Coos Bay and Eugene; a hotel, golf course and bowling center in Medford; and diverse enterprises operating nationwide under the Tribal One banner. The tribe is Coos County’s second-largest employer.

More than 1 million acres of ancestral homelands in southwest Oregon were ceded to the U.S. government in the 1850s. The U.S. Senate never ratified the treaties, and a promise of reservation land never materialized. The federal government declared the tribe “terminated” in 1954, but the tribe regained federal recognition in 1989 after a determined struggle. Since its restoration, the Coquille Tribe has sought self-sufficiency for itself and its members, emphasizing education, health care, housing and elder services. Cultural preservation efforts include teaching oral histories, traditions and ancestral languages to members of the tribe.

Congress restored 5,410 acres of forest land to the tribe in 1996, and the tribe has nearly doubled that acreage through strategic purchases. Today it manages its forests under certification standards of the Forest Stewardship Council. In 2022 the tribe entered an agreement with the state for cooperative management of fish and wildlife in the tribe’s five-county service area. The Tribe has been recognized by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for our sustainable Forest management practices.


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