Coquille Indian Tribe
Pre-contact through the mid-19th century
Treaty with the United States
In 1855, Joel Palmer, Oregon Superintendent of Indian Affairs, negotiated a treaty with the Coquille and surrounding tribes that set aside 125 miles (201 km) of coastline extending from the Siltcoos River to Cape Lookout to form the Coastal (or Siletz) Indian Reservation near present-day Florence. The Coquille people were forcibly marched to the reservation in 1856; however, the treaty was never ratified by Congress. Disease and overcrowding were problems on the reservation, which was eventually reduced to a fraction of its former size. The remnants of the original Coastal Indian Reservation are contained in the Siletz Reservation and associated tribally owned lands. Over the years many Coquilles returned to their traditional homeland and fought for acknowledgement of the Treaty of 1855.
Termination and restoration
The U.S. federal government terminated its recognition of the Coquille as part of the Termination Act of 1954. In 1989 the tribe regained its federal recognition. With restoration came tribal sovereignty, which gives the tribe authority to form its own government and have jurisdiction over tribal lands, businesses, and community members.
Coquille Indian Reservation
The Confederated Tribes of Siletz, based in Siletz, Oregon, recognize the Coquille people as one of the tribes that make up their confederation. The Confederated Tribes of Siletz continue to live on the Siletz Indian Reservation. In addition, by an Act of Congress in 1996, the Coquille Tribe now has reservation area totalling 6,512 acres (26 km2). The 2000 census listed the reservation's official resident population as 258 persons. The reservation's lands are located in numerous non-contiguous parcels of land in southern Coos County, mostly in and to the southeast of the Coos Bay-North Bend urban area. Parts of the communities of Bandon, Barview, Coos Bay, and North Bend extend onto reservation lands.
The "Oregon Resources Conservation Act of 1996" (part of Public Law 104-208) restored to the Coquille Tribe approximately 5,400 acres of forest in Coos County, Oregon. The act's author, Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield, said of the Coquille Forest: "I hope this proposal, with its relatively modest acreage and the required adherence to the most environmentally friendly forest management plan ever implemented in the Pacific Northwest—President Clinton's forest plan—is successful and can become a model for how our Nation deals with other claims by native American tribes." The Forest was formally taken into trust for the Tribe by the U.S. government on September 30, 1998. The Coquille Forest comprises fourteen separate parcels of former BLM timberlands in eastern Coos County.
Unlike other forests held in trust for and managed by federally recognized tribes, under the National Indian Forest Resources Management Act, the Coquille Forest has the additional requirement of meeting the "standards and guidelines" of adjacent federal forests, such as the Northwest Forest Plan. While most federal forests have not met their timber production expectations under the Northwest Forest Plan, the Coquille Forest is widely considered the only entity to meet both the ecological and economic outputs of the Northwest Forest Plan.
In 2011, the U.S. Secretary of Interior endorsed the first component of the landscape management proposal in which the Coquille Indian Tribe and the BLM would work together to develop a demonstration timber sale pilot in coordination with professors Norm Johnson and Jerry Franklin. This pilot will demonstrate the professors' ecological principles of variable retention regeneration harvest in the Oregon Coast Range. The timber sale will be designed under the Northwest Forest Plan and comply with all BLM requirements.
Management of the Coquille Forest has earned recognition for being environmentally sound and sustainable. The Forest Stewardship Council certified the Coquille Forest in September 2011.
The tribal government is based in North Bend.
In 2008 the tribe legalized same-sex marriage. Although the Oregon voters approved an amendment to the Oregon Constitution in 2004 to prohibit such marriages, the Coquille are not bound by the Oregon Constitution, because they are a federally recognized sovereign nation.
The Coquille Tribe owns several businesses, including The Mill Casino • Hotel in Coos Bay, an organic cranberry growing and packing operation in North Bend, Heritage Place assisted living center, and ORCA Communications, a telecommunications provider. Coquille Cranberries is the leading commercial grower of organic cranberries on the West Coast.
- "Oregon Coast Tribes Treaty of 1855". Center for World Indigenous Studies. Retrieved 2006-11-20.
- "The Coquille Tribe". Coquille Economic Development Commission. Retrieved 2006-11-20.
- "The Isaac I. Stevens and Joel Palmer Treaties, 1855–2005". Oregon Historical Quarterly. Fall 2005. Retrieved 2006-11-20.
- "Indian Tribes in Oregon". Oregon Blue Book. Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved 2006-10-08.
- Kentta, Robert. "Siletz History Part I". Confederated Tribes of Siletz. Archived from the original on 2006-10-05. Retrieved 2006-10-08.
- Congressional Record: August 2, 1996 (Senate)] [Page S9649-S9660]
- Newsletter of the Coquille Indian Tribe, August 2011.
- "Coquille tribe approves same-sex marriages". KOIN. August 21, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
- Graves, Bill (August 20, 2008). "Gay marriage in Oregon? Tribe says yes". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2008-09-07.
- "Tribe Revives Culture and Fortunes by Raising Cranberries," American News Service, November 18, 1999
- Stiles, Greg (September 8, 2012). "Indian tribe buys, leases properties for casino". Ashland Daily Tidings. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
- Coquille Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land, Oregon United States Census Bureau