July 5, 2024 3 min read

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Coquille Tribe Responds to Backlash against Oregon Casino Project

A Coquille representative addressed misconceptions regarding the casino expansion plans, urging other tribes to prioritize tribal sovereignty over competitive interests

Responding to the controversy surrounding Coquille’s proposed casino project in Medford, Oregon, Brenda Meade, the chair of the Coquille Indian Tribe, has spoken out against the criticism and misinformation spread by opposing tribes. The project has faced significant backlash from several tribes in California and Oregon, who claim that the Coquille was “reservation shopping” and attempting to add land unjustifiably.

The Casino Project Should Bolster Local Communities

Speaking for OregonLive, Meade described how the casino project came into existence. In 2012, the Coquille Tribe applied to take land into trust in Medford, part of their designated service area, for a new on-reservation casino. She noted that the proposed casino, though small, would enable the tribe to expand services and address the needs of their citizens, families, and the broader community.

According to Meade, Medford had the second-highest concentration of Coquille citizens at the time of the tribe’s restoration, justifying the casino project. She emphasized that the Coquille Tribe’s struggle for recognition and rights has been fraught with challenges stemming from historical injustices, including termination and dispossession, expressing dismay that ignorance and misinformation continued to undermine their rights and sovereignty.

Although some things have improved for us, ignorance still leads to ongoing attacks on our rights and sovereignty.

Brenda Meade, Coquille Indian Tribe chair

Meade criticized the opposing tribes’ claims of “off-reservation” gaming and “reservation shopping,” describing these accusations as baseless and rooted in a misunderstanding of tribal land rights. She drew attention to the Coquille Restoration Act, which established a five-county service area for reservation building, influenced by federal policies that dispersed the tribe across the landscape.

Ongoing Lobbying Could Damage Tribal Sovereignty

According to Meade, misleading claims by other tribes had gained traction due to their excessive lobbying as they were afraid of losing their undisputed gaming monopoly along Oregon’s I-5 corridor. She referred to these accusations as baseless, referring to the Coquille Restoration Act as definitive proof that the tribe was within its rights to proceed with the casino project.

Meade appealed to fellow tribal leaders and supporters of tribal rights, urging them to prioritize tribal sovereignty over competitive interests. She recounted how the Coquille Tribe had once faced competition concerns from a neighboring tribe but chose to support tribal rights over maintaining exclusivity. The resulting agreement benefited both parties, highlighting how cooperation could build lasting prosperity.

I would be happy to speak with any tribal leader on how to balance concerns about competition in a way that lifts us all while protecting Oregon’s economy and environment.

Brenda Meade, Coquille Indian Tribe chair

Meade argued that the current backlash could set an unfortunate precedent, subjecting any tribal restoration to years of legal action as millions get wasted on lobbying. Her call for unity and respect for sovereignty was a poignant reminder of the importance of supporting tribal communities in their ongoing fight for recognition and self-determination.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

1 Comment

  • Erica
    July 6, 2024 at 7:57 am

    They did and said the same thing about my tribe Los Coyotes 16 yrs ago when we were even collaborating with another small tribe they called it land shopping.its sad that our people try to keep our own down to stay on top.smh

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