Keep the promise to

Native American Tribes

President Biden and Secretary Haaland
Keep Your Promise to Tribes

The Department of the Interior is considering allowing an Oregon Tribe an unprecedented exception to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that would have a devastating social, cultural, and economic impact on at least five other Tribes.

This unilateral action would fly in the face of Congress, which is why a bipartisan group of Senators, Representatives, Governors, and local elected officials urge President Biden and Secretary Haaland to keep their promise and protect Indigenous homelands.

The Facts vs. Fiction 
of Coquille Tribe's Reservation Jumping

How the Tribe is using erroneous and self-serving historical facts to claim land that they never occupied.

“We believe that is our trust and responsibility to protect the ability of every native person here in the United States to lead safe, healthy, and fulfilling lives in their homelands.”

Bryan Newland, U.S. Department of the Interior

Assistant Secretary Newland articulated a mission statement of protecting the rights and opportunities for all native persons in their homelands. However, his actions, and the actions of the Department of the Interior, will cause immense harm to Tribes in Oregon and beyond. By supporting one Tribe’s gaming vision, the Department of the Interior will devastate other Tribe’s ability to provide healthcare, public safety, social services, care for our Elders, and management of our Tribal lands. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department should make the right and fair decision for all Tribes.

Assistant Secretary Newland:

Protect All Tribes. Our Homelands. Your Responsibility.

a bad deal
for tribes

Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) to support Tribal communities through gaming revenues, while limiting the risks associated with gaming in communities across the country. Now, one Oregon Tribe wants Interior to help them circumvent the law and open more casinos, which would not only harm Tribes in Southern Oregon and Northern California, but open the floodgates for casino development across multiple states.

When Congress passed the Coquille Restoration Act (CRA)—an act to provide restoration of the Coquille Indian Tribe—they rightfully evened the playing field by allowing the Tribe to develop gaming in conjunction with the IGRA. The Tribe opened its Mill Casino in their ancestral territory of Coos County in 1995 and continues to operate the casino successfully today. Today, they are asking the Department of Interior to give them an unprecedented and unfair exception by opening a second casino in a region where they lack any historic connection, and by breaking Oregon’s “One Tribe, One Casino” policy.

Allowing one Tribe to open a second casino not only flies in the face of Congress, but it will irreparably deprive at least five other Tribes of significant gaming revenues, which will, in turn, impair their ability to provide programs and services to their Tribal members. The devastating economic impact of this decision would pit some of our country’s most marginalized communities against each other, forcing them to compete in a “race to the bottom” and set back progress in State/Tribal relations by decades.

The Department of the Interior is considering a request by the Coquille Tribe to include commercial property in Medford, Oregon into their tribal lands for a second casino that will eventually encompass over 40 acres. They are asking the Department to allow them to use the Coquille Restoration Act (CRA), a law passed to help restore Coquille historic lands, to bring gaming to Medford and avoiding the community and state consultation process that governs new casinos.

The Department of the Interior had rejected Coquille’s argument in 2020, saying they could not use the CRA, but had to go through the traditional “two-part determination” process of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) that involves state and local government consultation and the Governor of Oregon’s concurrence.

Bipartisan
Opposition Letters

We write today to urge you to reject the Coquille Indian Tribe’s application to have land taken into trust under the restored lands exception to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), for the development of a new Class II casino in Medford, Oregon.

We write today to urge you to reject the Coquille Indian Tribe’s application to have land taken into trust under the restored lands exception to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

We write today to urge you to reject the Coquille Indian Tribe’s application to have land taken into trust under the restored lands exception to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

…we write to urge you to work with the Coquille Indian Tribe to resubmit their application using the two-part determination process.

A Deal That
Nobody Wants

Oregon has long had a “One Tribe, One Casino” policy—which is why the last four Governors of Oregon have stated their opposition to allowing the Coquille Indian Tribe to open a second casino in Medford, Oregon. Seeking to circumvent the state of Oregon’s longstanding opposition, the Coquille Tribe is trying to manipulate the Coquille Restoration Act (CRA) by asking the Department of Interior to grant them an unfair and unprecedented exception to gaming law.

Each of the original authors of Coquille’s restoration act have opposed the Department of the Interior using that act to restore these non-ancestral lands for gaming.

However, after twelve years of local and state opposition the Department of the Interior is considering changing its mind. If the Department of the Interior uses the CRA to allow Coquille to build a casino on the Medford land, it will allow them to circumvent the intent of the law and open the floodgates for casino development. The impact will be felt well beyond Southern Oregon as other Tribes have similar language in their restoration acts – including Tribes in Michigan, Nebraska, and Northern California – will be able to open casinos on parcels of land far beyond their ancestral or historic territories.

Don’t Reward
an unfair process

The Bureau of Indian Affairs have shown a vested interest in seeing the Coquille request granted despite the serious economic and existential harm it will have on at least five other Tribes, including those who have played fairly with a “One Tribe, One Casino” policy of Oregon.

They also don’t seem to pay attention to the bipartisan coalition of elected officials in Oregon and California that are deeply concerned about the precedent of this decision that will enable an explosion of casinos, and undermine the hard-won trust between Tribes and their neighboring communities.

A bipartisan group of Senators, House Representatives, Governors, state, local elected and Tribal officials have opposed this plan from the start. A Department of the Interior decision to “restore” these lands to the Coquille Indian Tribe – lands they did not historically own or occupy – will mean no limit on the number of casinos being built in Southern Oregon with ramifications across several other states subject to tribal restoration acts.

It will pit Tribes—some of the nation’s most marginalized communities—against each other in building gaming facilities, in a race to the bottom. The effect will be a devastating disruption of inter-Tribal kinship systems, and a loss of revenue that supports tribal healthcare, safety, mental health, economic development, and education.

Casino Locations of the

Native Peoples of Oregon
and California

The Coquille Tribe has what they call “the premier gaming and entertainment destination on the Oregon Coast,” and now wants to expand their casino operations to Southern Oregon. They want to violate the “One Tribe, One Casino” policy in Oregon with a new off-reservation facility over 170 miles from their current casino, on lands they never traditionally owned or occupied—and they’re asking the Biden Administration to help them do it.

make the
right decision

The Department of the Interior should make the right and fair decision and reject the Coquille Tribe’s attempt to manipulate the Coquille Restoration Act to allow them open a second casino. The Department of the Interior should reject the Coquille request and require the Tribe to go through the two-part determination as laid out in the IGRA or take no action on the application.

BIPARTISAN opposition TO
THE COQUILLE'S CASINO:

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-OR
Sen. Alex Padilla, D-CA
Fmr. Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA
Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-OR-02
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-OR-01
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR-03
Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-CA-01
Rep. Jared Huffman, D-CA-02
Governor Tina Kotek
Fmr. Governor Kate Brown
Fmr. Governor John Kitzhaber
Fmr. Governor Barbara Roberts