Brenda Meade, Chair, Coquille Indian Tribe

Brenda Meade, Chair
Coquille Indian Tribe

The Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park – North Bend, OR /

BENEFITS OF GAMING: Gaming revenue allows us to provide critical support to our citizens and their families, as well as our neighbors and communities throughout our five-county service area. Under our constitution, we are not a per-capita tribe – 100 percent of gaming income is allocated directly to services such as elder care, education, health and public safety. We have a small tax base, and our membership and their needs are growing, so these revenues are crucial for ensuring the well-being of our tribe and the continued future of our culture, language and heritage. Gaming funds, as well as our casino operations in general, also generate hundreds of jobs, and expand opportunities for other local businesses and the economy across the state.

This year, we were able to award $500,000 in grants through our Coquille Indian Tribe Community Fund to a variety of organizations throughout our five-county service area. We take pride in being able to provide not only for our members, but for Southern Oregon as a whole.

GOALS & INITIATIVES: As with many tribes, our story is one of seeking to overcome the tremendous harm inflicted on our people by centuries of removal and relocation. As a small tribe, exercising our sovereignty for economic development purposes is critical. We have unmet needs not covered by our tribal budget – such as housing, school construction, and infrastructure – that are critical to realize our congressionally-established goal of tribal self-sufficiency.

To meet these needs, we are working to open a new on-reservation gaming facility, The Cedars at Bear Creek in Medford, that will allow us to expand on the existing services we already provide in the city and in Jackson County. In addition to these critical services, The Cedars at Bear Creek is expected to create approximately 233 full-time jobs, with payroll and benefit costs estimated at $9.65 million per year. These new jobs will be filled by both Coquille citizens, members of other tribes, as well as non-tribal community members.   

LEGISLATIVE: We are still awaiting approval on our fee-to-trust application that has been pending since 2012 with the Department of the Interior. For over a decade, we have been fighting bureaucracy and questionable political tactics just to do what is best for our people and exercise our rights under our Restoration Act by legally building on this land taken into trust. The Coquille Restoration Act specifically includes Jackson County, home to Medford, as part of our fee-to-trust area. Unfortunately, political matters have derailed what should be a simple process of a tribe following a clear Congressional mandate, and we are still waiting for the final NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) decision needed to move forward.

We remain hopeful that the Biden administration recognizes its obligation to follow the law and respect tribal sovereignty, and will issue a final decision on our application so we can meet the growing needs of our citizens and serve our communities.