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For CLUSI, a time to recognize resiliency among the tribe and landscape

Man standing out in large marshy area.
Brian Bull
Jesse Beers, the cultural stewardship manager for the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians stands on part of the Siuslaw Estuary that's being restored. When done, it'll be a more accommodating environment for salmon, shorebirds, and other wildlife.

This Saturday, Oct. 14, a western Oregon tribe will celebrate the restoration of its federal recognition. And that event will happen at a site undergoing its own restoration.

The 1950s saw many tribes’ federal status terminated by Congress, resulting in decades of disruption and loss of ancestral lands.

The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians (CLUSI) were reinstated in 1984, after nearly three decades.

To mark that occasion, the tribe will hold several events recognizing its sovereignty, including one at the Siuslaw Estuary outside Florence.

CLUSI’s cultural stewardship manager Jesse Beers told KLCC that this former dairy farm will be restored to its pre-development status, which will benefit salmon and other wildlife. The restoration will also incorporate Native language and canoeing into its final design.

“Restoring the lands, the waters. Restoring the languages on the landscape, within our own hearts and minds,” said Beers. “And restoring all the pieces that were stripped from us during the reservation era, during termination, during the boarding school era, all those things.”

A blessing and naming ceremony will complete the project. Beers says CLUSI language experts are reviewing a number of suggestions on what to name the restored site, which is slated to finish in 2025.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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