Major Tribal Land And Forestry Bill Headed For President Trump's Desk

Dec 29, 2017

A major piece of legislation championed by Congressman Peter DeFazio has cleared both houses of Congress, that – if enacted - will benefit three Native American tribes in Oregon. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

Tribal natural resource workers in Coquille Forest, undated.
Credit Coquille Indian Tribe

The Western Oregon Tribal Fairness Act cedes more than 17,000 acres of federal land to the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians.  Another 14-thousand acres goes to the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians. It gives both tribes a land base since they regained federal recognition in the 1980s.

As for the Coquille Tribe, the Act restores governance of their tribal forest, effectively “decoupling” them from federal land management rules.

Mark Johnston is Executive Director of the Coquille Tribe. He says they’ve managed their 5,400 acre forest efficiently despite the unique legal burden put on them in 1996.

“And for the Coquille, we’ve been certified by Forest Stewardship Council – FSC - for a number of years, and you’ll take a look at our land, and we truly believe in a balance between conservation and sustainable harvest.”

The bill now heads to President Trump’s desk. Tribal officials hope he’ll sign off on it.

Copyright 2017, KLCC.