Three of the Four Tribes Contesting the Coquille’s Medford, Oregon, Casino are From Northern California

MEDFORD, Ore. — Three of the four Indian Tribes contesting the legality of the Coquille nation’s attempt to open a casino in Medford, Jackson County, Oregon, are based in Northern California. They are the Karuk, Elk Valley and Tolowa Tribes. The Oregon Tribe supporting their move is Cow Creek.


The Coquille’s Have Ancestral Ties to Jackson County

The Coquille Restoration Act of 1989 authorizes the Coquille Tribe to “take land into trust for economic development.” This includes Jackson County where Coquille Tribe members have ancestral links and continue to live in the region says Brenda Meade, the Coquille Tribal Chair.

The Coquille Tribe has been attempting to establish a casino along the South Pacific Highway in Medford for more than 10 years. Their efforts are contested by four other Tribes who have written a letter of appeal to Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI).

Karuk, Elk Valley, Tolowa and the Cow Creek tribes are urging Haaland to visit them first before allowing the Coquille Tribe to go-ahead with the casino project. The DOI must issue an exception to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to enable the project to proceed.


Heartbreaking that Coquille Tribe’s Sovereignty is Under Attack

Meade says it is heartbreaking that other tribes are attacking the Coquille’s sovereignty and trying to limit their economic development rights. Meade points out that the Coquille’s are attempting to open the casino within the reservation restoration area that was defined by Congress. She says the Biden administration and Secretary Haaland support the Coquille’s tribal sovereignty and hopes that they will continue to honor that commitment.

The Chair of the Karuk Tribe, Buster Attebury, disagrees. He says the 2.4 acres of land which the Coquille Tribe is asking the DOI to place into trusts so that the casino project can be completed is 150 miles outside the Coquille’s reservation. On the other hand, the Karuk Tribe-operated Rain Rock Casino is an hour’s drive from the proposed Medford casino.


Medford Casino Will Have “Devastating Economic Impact”

The Coquille’s Medford casino will have a devastating economic impact on other local tribes, affecting their ability to provide public safety, healthcare and social services, says Attebury.

He bemoans the lack of consultation with tribes living in the area and questions the reasons why this was overlooked.

The Mill Casino Hotel and RV Park in North Bend is currently operated by the Coquille Tribe who have been trying to open the Medford Casino for more than a decade. They own the proposed casino property on the South Pacific Highway as well as the nearby Compass Medford Hotel.



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