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Bill To Benefit Three Oregon Native American Tribes Advances Through House

Roy W. Lowe / USFWS

Three Oregon Indian tribes are closely watching legislation as it moves through Capitol Hill.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports on the Western Oregon Tribal Fairness Act, which just passed the House of Representatives. 

It’s not the first time the bill has been introduced.  In previous sessions of Congress, it languished and died.  But Oregon Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio and other delegates have persisted, and Michael Rondeau, CEO of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua, is hopeful that this session will finally see the legislation approved.  

“This will be approximately 17,000 acres of land that will be returned to the tribe and placed into reservation status," Rondeau says.  "There’s a number of uses.  They range from cultural aspects, restoration projects, and effective and proper management of forests.” 

The bill would give 15,000 acres in trust to the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians as well.  And it would restore governance of the Coquille Forest to the Coquille Indians.

The bill is now headed to the Senate.

Copyright 2017, KLCC. 

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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