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Rep. DeFazio Secures House Passage of Tribal Authority Bill

Jul 12, 2017
Press Release
Bipartisan legislation benefits three Southwestern Oregon tribes

The House of Representatives yesterday approved legislation introduced by Congressman Peter DeFazio that would expand the land rights of three Southwestern Oregon federally-recognized tribes.

“For years, these tribes have been unable to govern themselves as the sovereign nations that they are,” said Congressman Peter DeFazio. “This should have been corrected decades ago—the fact that they haven’t yet been are 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 towards progress. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this legislation quickly.”

Rep. DeFazio’s bill, the Western Oregon Tribal Fairness Act (H.R. 1306) provides 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. Currently, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe Indians and the Confederated tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians do not hold any land in trust. The increase in tribal lands will spur job development and economic growth for both tribes.

The bill also restores the Coquille Indian Tribe’s sovereignty over the Coquille Forest. Unlike any other tribe in the United States, the Coquille Tribe must function under a legal anomaly with regard to managing its forest.

The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.