The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians would receive land under a bill that was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The Western Oregon Tribal Fairness Act, introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, would expand the land rights of three Southwestern Oregon tribes. The bill now heads to the Senate.

“For years, these tribes have been unable to govern themselves as the sovereign nations that they are,” DeFazio said in a written release. “This should have been corrected decades ago—the fact that they haven’t yet been is an embarrassing leftover from a shameful era of United States history. While there is still much work to be done, the passage of the Western Oregon Tribal Fairness Act is a move toward progress. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this legislation quickly.”

The Western Oregon Tribal Fairness Act would provide land in trust to the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians and to the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians. The bill also would restore the Coquille Indian Tribe’s sovereignty over the Coquille Forest.

A similar bill passed the House in 2015, but never received Senate approval. In fact, provisions for restoration of this land to the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians has been included in various bills passed by the House about six times before now, said the tribe’s CEO Michael Rondeau, but none made it to a vote in the Senate. This bill has moved through the House earlier than the others, in the first year of the two-year session, and Rondeau is hopeful it has a better chance of gaining Senate approval.

“We’re very thrilled that once again Congressman DeFazio and Congressman (Greg) Walden have been very good to us in getting that bill out of the House,” Rondeau said.

He said there’s been no real opposition to the bill.

“We’re just hopeful that we can get this through and begin the many programs we want to take place on this land, ranging from cultural and restoration projects to proper management,” he said. “It would be a wonderful thing for the legacy of the tribe. It’s going to be a multi-generational effect for the positive for both the tribe and the community.”

If it succeeds in gaining approval from the Senate and the president this time around, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians would receive 17,519 acres, made up of scattered, mostly forested sites in South County owned by the Bureau of Land Management. It’s mostly second-growth timber that was logged in the mid-1970s.

The land was promised to the tribe in a 1853 treaty, but was never delivered. It was originally promised as a reservation in exchange for the tribe ceding 800 square miles of its ancestral home. At the time, tribal members received 18 hickory shirts, pants, shoes and hats, three coats, vests, neckerchiefs and three pairs of socks, along with a couple hundred yards of fabric, 12 dozen buttons, two pounds of thread, 10 needles, seed potatoes, a fenced and plowed field and two houses.

Currently, the tribe owns about 5,000 acres of mostly agricultural land that it has purchased, but it’s nonetheless considered a landless tribe because it never received its promised reservation lands.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at 541-957-4213 or ccegavske@nrtoday.com.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4213 or by email at ccegavske@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(5) comments

exdep425

****I recently was reading several different websites about so-called American Indians. They said that southeast Asians and northeast Russians came across the Alaskan land bridge and came down as far as southern Calif , at least 10,000 years before the Indians showed up. The studies also said that the Indians originated in Africa, made it to Australia, then South America and walked north to where Arizona is. The Indians were not here first. If you were question an Indian, I bet they have no idea how, where, when or why they got here. And cry racist all you want, because you are wrong. I had an uncle, full Chippewa chief from Wisconsin, grew up with Covelo's, Pomo's, Klamath's and was married to a Pomo Indian from Calif., so I have been around them a lot. There is nothing outstandingly exceptional to being different from any other race.

Constitution defender

Well said. Of course, you will be pilloried, tarred and feathered by other U.S./State citizens with "Indian ancestry/race" and their advocates who will label you a heretic.

Constitution defender

Once again, politicians are 'dumbing-down,' 'gullible' non-Indian U.S./State citizens into believing they-politicians-can enact common law that makes the health, welfare, safety and benefits of a select group of U.S./State citizens distinguishable because of their "Indian ancestry/race!"

This article is an astonishing piece of a deplorable lack of journalist curiosity regarding U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” since The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924! That single Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, made moot all previous common law-state and federal-including Presidential Executive Orders, Commerce Clause and Treaty Clause alleged Indian Treaties (if any U.S. Senate confirmed Indian treaties actually existed pre-1924 Citizenship) regarding U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” so often touted by politicians and Indian advocates as being legitimate law.
And yet, politicians and MSM continue to perpetuate willful blindness to the Constitutional absurdity that Congress, Presidents/Governors, Initiatives and Referendums can make distinguishable the capacities, metes and boundaries of a select group of U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” post citizenship.
The United States Constitution makes for no provisions for:
1. Indian sovereign nations. None of the asserted tribes possess any of the attributes of being a ‘sovereign nation:’ a. No U.S. Constitution recognition b. No international recognition c. No fixed borders d. No military e. No currency f. No postal system g. No passports h. et al
2. Treaties with its own constituency
3. Indian reservations whereby a select group of U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” reside exclusively and to the exclusion of all others, on land-with rare exception-that is owned by the People of the United States according to federal documents readily available on-line that notes rights of renters as ‘occupancy and use’ by these distinguished U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” only with the land owned by the People of the United States.
4. Recognition of ‘Indian citizenship’ asserted by various tribes. There is no international/U.S. Constitution recognition of “Indian citizenship” as there is no ‘nation’ from which citizenship is derived.
A simple question for politicians and MSM to answer…a question so simple, it is hard:
“Where is the proclamation ratified by the voters of the United States that amends the Constitution to make the health, welfare, safety and benefits of a select group of U.S./State citizens distinguishable because of their “Indian ancestry/race?”


Mogie

What land would be given to them? Are you talking a few acres or what? When is this scheduled to occur? This year, next year???

Constitution defender

[angry] They are entitled to no land according to the United States Constitution.
The United States Constitution makes for no provisions for:
1. Indian sovereign nations. None of the asserted tribes possess any of the attributes of being a ‘sovereign nation:’ a. No U.S. Constitution recognition b. No international recognition c. No fixed borders d. No military e. No currency f. No postal system g. No passports h. et al
2. Treaties with its own constituency
3. Indian reservations whereby a select group of U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” reside exclusively and to the exclusion of all others, on land-with rare exception-that is owned by the People of the United States according to federal documents readily available on-line that notes rights of renters as ‘occupancy and use’ by these distinguished U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” only with the land owned by the People of the United States.
4. Recognition of ‘Indian citizenship’ asserted by various tribes. There is no international/U.S. Constitution recognition of “Indian citizenship” as there is no ‘nation’ from which citizenship is derived.
A simple question for politicians and MSM to answer…a question so simple, it is hard:
“Where is the proclamation ratified by the voters of the United States that amends the Constitution to make the health, welfare, safety and benefits of a select group of U.S./State citizens distinguishable because of their “Indian ancestry/race?”


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