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March 7: Tribal One

The history of the Indigenous nations in what is now the United States is fraught with mistreatment – disease, dispossession, and attempted assimilation. Of all the nations affected, the Coquille (pronounced Ko-Kwel) tribe is a particularly troubling story. While many tribes were segregated into reservations where, while still abused they had some sense of connection to the land, the Coquille, like some other tribes, suffered the indignity of Congress declaring them extinct in 1954. They were, according to David Hill, Director of Economic Development for Lane County Operations for Tribal One, always more nomadic and mobile, but after termination they lost all rights to connect with the land and tribal members were left with no land they could call a homeland.

That story now has a happier ending, however. In 1989, after many years of effort by tribal members. Congress once again recognized the sovereignty of the tribe. The Coquille were the last of several tribes resident in Oregon to be restored. Restoration did not, however, include any rights to land, and the tribe is only now beginning to purchase land for its members and business activities.

At the March 7 City Club program Mr. Hill, and Judy Farm, Chief Executive Officer, provided an overview of Tribal One’s business portfolio (including Construction, Economic Development, Communications Technology, and Professional Services), and how the work they do translates into benefits for both the Coquille Indian Tribe and the communities in which we do business. Tribal One is the business arm of the tribe and works principally in the five-county area (Coos, Douglas, Curry, Jackson, and Lane counties) which Congress has designated as the service area of the tribe, although it conducts operations nationally. Tribal One is the economic development arm of the tribe and, Mr. Hill pointed out, completely separate from the gaming activities of the tribe which owns and operates the Mill Casino.

The business of Tribal One had its origins in broadband expansion as part of the attempts to place telecommunications fiber in the southwestern part of Oregon. That expanded to more general construction activity and even has recently included rehabilitation of an aged goof course near Medford and construction of the Margaritaville Hotel and resort next door.

Tribal One also bought an unused wharf in North bend. When the tribe bought some adjacent land for a parking lot, they ended up with an additional 50 acres of land which had been abandoned by Weyerhaeuser. While that dock has no direct connection with the massive North Bend container port concept, it will stand to benefit if that project becomes reality.

Finally, Tribal One now operates a wellness clinic which provides free services to members and has recently opened a satellite clinic in the River Road area of Eugene. To view the full program, click here: Tribal One.


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