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New Coquille Indian chief announced

Photo provided by the Coquille Tribe.
Four Coquille Tribal Council members take the oath of office Oct. 29 (L to R: Jason Younker was elected Oct. 15 as chief; Jackie Chambers is the new secretary-treasurer; Laurabeth Barton retains her seat as representative No. 1; and Brenda Meade was re-elected as chairman. Vice Chair Jon Ivy administered the oath.

This summer, the Coquille Indian tribe lost its chief, Don Ivy, from cancer. Now a new chief has been sworn in.

Jason Younker is the University of Oregon’s Assistant Vice President and Advisor to the President on Sovereignty and Government-to-Government Relations, and will balance those duties as the new chief of the Coquille Tribe based in Coos Bay.

Younker says he’ll be a voting member of the tribal council, which has many issues to address.

Rachael McDonald; Coquille Tribe
KLCC; Coquille Tribe
Jason Younker (left) replaces the late Don Ivy (right) as Coquille chief.

“Global warming because it affects the salmon which are very precious to us,” Younker told KLCC. “And pollution, that also affects everything around us.

“We want our tribe and neighbors to be conscious of what took place on this landscape, so that we have this historical context to learn from.”

Younker was cousin to the Don Ivy, who died in July after a seven month battle with cancer. Younker says there’s no one who can fill Ivy’s shoes, and he regrets the circumstances that led to him taking over as chief.

Copyright 2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ 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 (19 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.