BANDON — Coquille Tribal members living all across America will reunite in their ancestral homeland this month, as the tribe celebrates the 30th anniversary of its 1989 restoration, according to a press release.
A public celebration in Old Town Bandon on Saturday, June 29, will feature a traditional salmon bake and a powwow with multiple dance and drum groups.
“This gathering is about bringing our people home to reconnect with their families and their heritage,” said Tribal Chairperson Brenda Meade in the release. “It’s also about reaching out to the community around us, to share our appreciation for their support.”
The Coquille Tribe was one of 61 Oregon tribes officially terminated by a 1954 federal law. Congress stripped the tribes of federal recognition and denied their people’s Native American identity.
Nine Oregon tribes successfully regained recognition in the 1970s and 1980s. The Coquille Tribe was the last, reclaiming its official tribal status on June 28, 1989.
“Our people have always been a sovereign nation,” Meade said. “We never gave that up. Our Restoration Act in 1989 was an official recognition of that fact by the United States government.”
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Since being restored, the Coquille Tribe has become a strong element of Coos County’s economy and civic life. Its various enterprises, including The Mill Casino-Hotel & RV Park, make the tribe the area’s second-largest employer. The Coquille Tribal Community Fund is a leading source of charitable grants for local organizations, and the tribe is active in many community projects.
“We’re not a rich tribe,” Meade said. “Our members don’t receive payouts from casino profits. We focus on education for our youth, health care for our people and assistance for our elders.
“We also follow the potlatch tradition of sharing with our neighbors. We strongly believe that our success is intertwined with the success of the community around us.”
Some of that sharing will take place on June 29, when the tribe will welcome all comers to celebrate in Bandon. Admission is free for the powwow, which will be held at the Old Town Marketplace from noon to 7 p.m.
Salmon dinners, prepared by the staff of The Mill, will be available starting at 2 p.m. Tickets will be available at the event, priced at $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under.