New tribal officers

Coquille Tribe installs new leaders

 

The Coquille Indian Tribe has a new chief and a new secretary-treasurer after recent elections.

Chief Jason Younker, a University of Oregon faculty member, was sworn in on Oct. 29. Jackie Chambers, who previously managed the tribe’s community grants program, was sworn in as secretary-treasurer.

Younker replaces Chief Don Ivy, who died in July. As chief, Younker will hold one of seven seats on the Coquille Tribal Council, while serving as the tribe’s cultural and spiritual leader and voice.

Younker grew up on the shores of Coos Bay’s South Slough. He holds three graduate degrees, including a doctorate in cultural anthropology. He is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Oregon, where he also is an assistant vice president and assistant to the president for tribal sovereignty and government-to-government relations.

He chairs the board of Oregon’s Chemawa Indian school and is past president of the Association of Indigenous Archaeologists.

Chambers, a lifelong Coos County resident, is devoted to serving and strengthening local communities. Before her election to the Tribal Council, she served the tribe as administrator of the Coquille Tribal Community Fund, which awards hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants each year.

She also is a co-founder and president of Charleston Fishing Families, a nonprofit that helps commercial fishing families in times of need. She graduated from the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Coos program in 2020.

She replaces former Secretary-Treasurer Linda Mecum, who retired after seven years on the Tribal Council.

Along with Chambers and Younker, two Tribal Council incumbents were sworn in for new terms. Chairman Brenda Meade and Rep. Laurabeth Barton both retained their seats in recent elections.

Masked up for safety, four Coquille Tribal Council members take the oath of office on Oct. 29. From left, Jason Younker was elected Oct. 15 as chief; Jackie Chambers is the new secretary-treasurer; Laurabeth Barton retained her seat as representative No. 1; and Brenda Meade was re-elected as chairman. At right, Vice Chair Jon Ivy administers the oath.

Media coverage of salmon project

Saving Coquille River salmon

The Coquille Indian Tribe has launched a campaign to rescue Coquille River fall Chinook salmon.

See news coverage:

Bandon Hatchery gets a boost from Coquille Tribe (Coos Bay World, Nov. 23, 2021)

Tribe announces increase in brood stock at Bandon Hatchery (KCBY, Nov. 22, 2021)

Coquille Tribe strives to save its salmon from invasive fish (KLCC, (Nov. 5, 2021)

“All About That Bass” — a KLCC video report 

Tribe partners with ODFW, KCBY, Oct. 1,2021

Coos Bay World, Sept. 2, 2021

As I See It, Mary Schamehorn, Oct. 2, 2021

Jefferson Public Radio

KCBY TV, Aug. 25, 2021

KCBY TV, Oct. 1, 2021

Daily Yonder

 

2022 Grants

Coquille Indian Tribe Offers Grants

Aug. 24, 2021

NORTH BEND – After focusing on pandemic-related projects in 2021, the Coquille Tribal Community Fund will return to supporting a broad range of community programs in 2022.

“We felt the need to assist the local COVID-19 response last time,” said tribal Chairman Brenda Meade. “In our new grant cycle, we’ll still consider COVID-related projects, but we also want to serve a variety of community needs.”

The tribe shared $266,107 with more than 60 community organizations and projects in southwestern Oregon in 2021. All the 2021 grants targeted pandemic-related expenses of local and regional organizations. 

The grant recipients included food pantries, homeless programs, museums, community centers, veterans groups, services for children and even a couple of music programs.

“It’s a huge privilege to be able to help so many outstanding organizations and projects,” Meade said.

Master Gardener Marrie Caldiero of Coos Bay washes her hands while volunteering at the Coos Bay Farmers Market. The Coquille Tribal Community Fund provided $3,640 for the market to rent six mobile hand-washing stations – a requirement for staying open during the pandemic. ‘Basically we couldn’t have the market without the hand-washing stations,’ said Market Manager Melissa Hasart. The market was one of 60-plus community organizations that shared more than a quarter-million dollars in grants this year.

 

The biggest share of the money, about $97,000, went to Coos County organizations. Lane County groups received about $52,000, Jackson County $44,000, Douglas County $33,000, and Curry County $33,000.

The five counties make up the Coquille Tribe’s congressionally designated service area, based on significant populations of tribal members living in each county. The grants are funded by a share of annual revenue from The Mill Casino-Hotel & RV Park in North Bend.

The tribal fund is one of southwestern Oregon’s leading sources of community grants, distributing more than $7 million over the past two decades.

The fund will accept letters of inquiry for its upcoming grant cycle during September and October from organizations in all five counties. As in years past, the 2022 grants will focus on seven categories: education, public safety, arts and culture, environment, historic preservation, health and gaming addiction.

“We give big grants and little ones,” said Jackie Chambers, the fund’s administrator. “We encourage all kinds of projects and programs to apply.”

Letters of inquiry for the 2022 grants are due Oct. 31. Organizations whose letters are accepted will be invited to submit formal applications by Nov. 30. Grants will be announced in late February or early March.

For more information, visit the tribal fund website at www.coquilletribalfund.org, or contact Chambers at jackiechambers@coquilletribe.org or (541) 756-0904, ext. 1201.

Click here to see a list of all 2021 grants.

Chief Don Ivy passes away

Chief leaves legacy of wisdom, leadership

The Coquille Indian Tribe joins the family of Chief Don Ivy in mourning his passing on July 19.

The chief died after a courageous seven-month battle with cancer. He was 70 years old and had been chief since 2014.

 Tribal Chairman Brenda Meade offered this statement about her friend and colleague:

 “Chief Ivy was a consistent source of wisdom and kindness for the Coquille people. His voice was an invaluable asset to those of us who were privileged to serve with him in tribal leadership, and we will miss him terribly. We offer our prayers for his family, along with our enduring gratitude for his many contributions to the tribe’s wellbeing.”

Chief Ivy was well-known in Oregon as a champion of Indian people and a scholar of tribal heritage. He received many awards for his leadership and contributions to the State of Oregon and Indian Country, including the Potlatch Fund, the Antone Minthorn Economic & Community Development Award, and the Oregon Heritage Commission’s Heritage Excellence Award. Most recently, Southwestern Oregon Community College honored him in May as its 2021 Distinguished Alumnus. 

As chief of the Coquille Tribe, he served on the seven-member Tribal Council and was the tribe’s cultural and spiritual spokesman.  In honoring his wishes, the tribe will hold a special election to choose his successor. 

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued the following statement in response to the news about Chief Ivy:

“I was incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Chief Don Ivy today. For many years, I counted him as a friend and trusted advisor, turning to him most recently to serve on Oregon’s Racial Justice Council––the mission of which aligned with his life’s work: dismantling the structures of racism that have created disparities in our society.

“A leader and a scholar, he dedicated his life to righting those wrongs, as he worked to preserve tribal traditions and to build a more just future for the Coquille people. His contributions to the work of the Oregon Tribal Cultural Items Task Force helped our state to make groundbreaking progress in the preservation of tribal items in the possession of state agencies and other public institutions.

“I was honored in March to recommend he be inducted as a Southwestern Oregon Community College’s Distinguished Alumnus––a college his father helped to create. My heart is with Chief Ivy’s family and friends today, and with all the people of the Coquille Tribe.”

 A memorial service will be held in The Mill Casino-Hotel’s Salmon Room at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25.

Prayer Ceremony

Tribe Plans Prayer Ceremony in Response to Tragedy

June 22, 2021

The Coquille Indian Tribe joins the community in grieving last week’s tragic events in North Bend. The circumstances are especially painful to the tribe because some of the deaths took place on tribal lands.

The tribe plans to hold a ceremonial prayer fire at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 22, at The Mill Casino-Hotel’s fire pit, located at the south end of the property.

This ceremony will be open to all community members who have been affected by this horrific event. We plan to offer prayers in our ancestral tradition, but people of all faiths are welcome to join us in praying or meditating as your own beliefs prescribe.

“Please join us in offering prayers for family members, friends and community, and help us to begin our process of healing,” said tribal Chairman Brenda Meade.

We ask the media and the public to please respect the privacy of the victims’ families as they mourn the loss of their loved ones. Those who attend are asked to refrain from photographing or recording the ceremony.

Parking will not be available in the hotel parking lot. If you plan to attend, please park in the open area just south of The Mill RV Park. A shuttle will take you to the ceremony.

Youth Golf Program Ends

Jane and Ed Metcalf, at left, celebrate the final distribution of donations from the Southwestern Oregon Youth Golf program. With them, from left, are Scott Millhouser of Bandon Dunes; Andre Liloc of Coos Golf Club; Bridgett Wheeler, the Coquille Indian Tribe’s culture and education director; and committee members Miling Layguui, Terry Springer and Larry Simpson.

Couple aided young players for 20 years

May 14, 2021

A Coquille Tribal couple’s 20-year mission to inspire young golfers has come to an end.

Since 2001, Ed and Jane Metcalf have poured their passion into the Southwestern Oregon Youth Golf Program, with help from the Coquille Indian Tribe, a volunteer committee and generous local golfers. Over the years the Metcalfs have collected and distributed about $200,000 for college scholarships, golf camps and clinics, and high school golf teams.

“Way back when, Ed and I golfed a lot, and we wanted to see the youth of Coos County have access to golf activities,” Jane Metcalf said. “We just had a passion for golf for the youth.”

But even passion can’t hold back time. Jane Metcalf is 73, her husband 75.

“We’re getting to the age where it’s getting really hard,” Ed Metcalf said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed another obstacle. The program’s main fundraising event, a popular annual tournament for adult golfers, has had to be scrubbed the past two years.

So the Metcalfs have closed down the program and closed out the books. At a farewell ceremony on Friday, May 14, they distributed checks for the program’s remaining bank balance – $22,262. The money will go to a scholarship fund, two youth golf programs, and a fitness program for kids on the Coquille Tribe’s Charleston-area reservation.

The Metcalfs’ project has been closely associated with the Coquille Tribe since the beginning. Ed Metcalf is the tribe’s retired chairman, and his wife formerly directed the tribe’s community center. The youth golf program evolved from tournaments previously sponsored by The Mill Casino-Hotel & RV Park, and the tribe has been a consistent sponsor.

The program’s annual fundraising tournament paid for golf clinics that welcomed as many as 125 kids each year. Multiple $1,000 college scholarships were awarded each year to tribal students and other southwestern Oregon youth. The program also sent promising young players to golf camps at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, the former Coos Country Club (now Coos Golf Club), and throughout Oregon.

Though the program has ended, the Metcalfs and their team leave a community legacy, in the form of a generation of young golfers who benefited from their efforts.

“Our community and tribe has benefitted so much from the dedication, passion and hard work of both Ed and Jane,” said Tribal Chairman Brenda Meade. “The work they have done over these many years has supported so many people throughout our community. It is my hope that they know how important their work has been in the lives of so many of us, and for that I thank them!”

The Metcalfs want to hand out some thanks of their own. They’re grateful to:

  • Sponsors including the Coquille Indian Tribe, The Mill Casino-Hotel & RV Park, Nike, Aristocrat Technologies, IGT, AGS LLC, Bain Insurance, Bay Appliance, Bandon Dunes and the Y Marina
  • Twenty years of “fabulous volunteers,” including the program’s final crop of committee members: Miling Laygui, Terry Springer, Terri Porcaro, Mark Hubbard, Lonnie Simpson, Larry Simpson, Gregory Duerfeldt and Trudy Groth   
  • Bandon Dunes, Coos Golf Club and Kentuck Golf Course for hosting events
  • Bandon Dunes golf pro Scott Millhouser, who helped plan and organize clinics and camps at the resort

See media coverage of this story here: 

Coos Bay World Newspaper

College honors Chief Ivy

Southwestern honors Donald Ivy as 2021 Distinguished Alumnus

From Southwestern Oregon Community College, May 7, 2021

COOS BAY, OR — Southwestern Oregon Community College is pleased to announce the selection of Donald Ivy of Coos Bay as the 2021 Distinguished Alumnus.

Ivy is Chief of the Coquille Indian Tribe, a position he has held since 2014. In a nomination supported by educators, tribal leaders, former lawmakers, and Oregon’s governor, advocates for the award describe Ivy as representing “the best of what any educational institution hopes to achieve.” He encourages “individuals to think deeply, make an impact, share their knowledge and go on to encourage others to do the same.”

Ivy has made it his lifetime endeavor to work in growing knowledge, understanding history and engaging youth. The state of Oregon honored him with its Heritage Excellence Award in 2013. The following year, the University of Oregon appointed Ivy as its first-ever Tribal Elder in Residence.

“This honor is a reminder of the great privilege I have to know the people I know. I am thankful for the graces and goodwill of other people more accomplished than me who have allowed me into their space,” Ivy said.

Ivy has published articles on history and archaeology. He is a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum. While heading the Coquille Tribe’s cultural program, he oversaw creation of the Kilkich Youth Corps, which provides workplace skills, mentoring and summer employment to tribal teens.

“Don Ivy came to our college in the mid-1990s to learn about the land, history and philosophy. He has used that knowledge to become in many ways a teacher for us all. He is a genuine leader who brings people together with shared vision for self-improvement and making our state better,” said Southwestern President Patty Scott.

Ivy served for several years on the college’s Foundation, advocating for the need to support scholarships and invest in quality facilities and training for residents of the south Oregon coast region. Under his leadership, the Coquille Indian Tribe was the college’s first vocal supporter and partner in building the college’s new Health & Science Technology center. The building will open in fall 2021, providing modern labs for training new generations of scientists, engineers and health care professionals.

“When I talk to somebody who’s a SWOCC student, I talk to them about the technology building. I see the excitement in our nursing students and others, and that building how important it is to them,” Ivy said. “I’m hoping the doors swing open in the fall and we fill it with students, and know we have accomplished a great thing.”

The Southwestern Foundation typically honors Distinguished Alumni in a celebration in coordination with graduation. This year, the college is postponing a Distinguished Alumni celebration until tentatively fall 2021.

“The whole COVID thing has challenged us with asking, ‘What are those things that are the most deeply rooted, the big important things that really, really matter,” Ivy said. “Celebration of community is hugely important. It reminds us to be together.”

This is the 30th year Southwestern has honored alumni who have demonstrated significant contributions to their professions, communities, or academia. To learn more about the college, go to www.socc.edu.