Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians
Confederated Tribes of
Siletz Indians
Total population
4,804 (2011)[1]
Regions with significant populations
 United States ( Oregon)


Related ethnic groups

Athabaskan peoples,
southern Interior Salish peoples

The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians in the United States is a federally recognized confederation of 27 Native American tribal bands that once inhabited a range from northern California to southwest Washington.



The confederation is made up of the following tribes and bands.

  • Alsea, including Yaquina
  • Chinook, including Clatsop
  • Coos, including Hanis and Miluk
  • Kalapuya, including Santiam, Tualatin, Yamhill, Yoncalla, Marys River band, and others
  • Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw
  • Molalla
  • Shasta, including Klamath River people
  • Rogue River peoples, including Shasta, Applegate, Galice Creek, or any of the Lower Rogue Athapascan peoples
  • Klickitat
  • Takelma, including Dagelma, Latgawa, and Cow Creek
  • Tututni, including all Athapascan bands from southwestern Oregon, such as the following:
    • Applegate River
    • Chetco
    • Chasta Costa
    • Euchre Creek
    • Flores Creek
    • Galice Creek
    • Mikonotunne
    • Naltunnetunne
    • Pistol River
    • Port Orford
    • Sixes
    • Tolowa
    • Upper Umpqua
    • Upper Coquille
    • Yashute and others
  • Tillamook
    • Siletz
    • Salmon River
    • Nestucca
    • Nehalem
    • Tillamook Bay and others.[2]

Organization and location

The tribe has 4,804 enrolled Siletz tribal members,[1] with 70% of them living in Oregon and only 8% living near Siletz on the 3,900-acre (16 km2) reservation. An additional 6% live in the town of Siletz and 22.6% live in Lincoln County. There are 445 households in the city of Siletz and 143 households on the Siletz reservation.

It owns and manages a 3,666-acre (14.84 km2) reservation located along the Siletz River in the Central Oregon Coast Range of central Lincoln County, Oregon approximately 15 mi (24 km) northeast of Newport. It owns a checkerboard of approximately 15,000 acres (61 km2) in and around the small city of Siletz.

The tribe owns and operates the Chinook Winds Casino and Convention Center, the Chinook Winds Golf Resort[3] in Lincoln City (including the Chinook Winds Resort hotel purchased from Mark Hemstreet of Shilo Inn hotels for $26 million in 2004), the $9.5 million undeveloped oceanfront Lot 57 north of Chinook Winds Casino, a dredging and salvage company known as Northwest Maritime LLC, Hee Hee Illahee RV park in Salem, the Logan Road RV Park,[4] the Salem Flex Building where the Salem Area Offices currently exist, the $1.6 million Portland Stark Building which was purchased in August 2007 and will eventually be the site of the tribe's Portland Area Office, the Eugene Elks building which houses the Eugene Area Office, the Siletz Gas & Mini Mart, the old Toledo Mill site, and the building in which the Depoe Bay Seafood Company is currently doing business.

In late 2005 the Siletz Tribe partnered with a bankrupt aerospace parts manufacturing company in Dayton, Ohio called U.S. Aeroteam.[5] The original plan included expanding that partnership to create a tribally owned business called Siletz Aeroteam to manufacture jet engine parts in the Siletz area. Siletz Aeroteam never began operation and is now defunct, but the Tribe still owns 20% of U.S. Aeroteam, the Ohio company.

The Tribe also owns and runs the Siletz Community Health Clinic. A $7.5 million plan is underway to expand the clinic.[6] $2 million of the funding will come from the Federal government's IHS Small Ambulatory Grant funding. The clinic is currently 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) but will grow to 45,000 square feet (4,200 m2) between 2006-2016.

The Siletz Tribal Police have disbanded, but the Tribe now contracts with the nearby Toledo Police Department to provide law enforcement services to the Siletz area.

The Tribe is gradually accumulating additional property into the reservation, as part of a 2005-2015 Comprehensive Plan. These include 3,851 acres (15.58 km2)[7] entrusted to the tribe in 2007 by the State and Federal governments as part of the New Carissa oil spill settlement, on the condition that the Siletz Tribe will manage it solely as a marbled murrelet habitat.

The tribal government is attempting to get old treaties recognized via an effort to reference them[8] in the Tribe's Constitution and also by mention of the treaties within a work by Charles Wilkinson, who has been hired by the Tribal Council to write a history of the Siletz. There have also been attempts to retrieve the remains of tribal ancestors from the Smithsonian Institution and various other tribal artifacts distributed through-out the United States of America.

The current Tribal Council includes Chairman Delores Pigsley; Vice Chairman Bud Lane; Secretary Tina Retasket; Treasurer Jessie Davis; Loraine Butler; Lillie Butler; Reggie Butler; Robert Kentta; and Sharon Edenfield, who was appointed to take elected member Lisa Brown's place. Lisa Brown was elected in 2009 with one of the highest vote counts in tribal history, but was removed from office by a 6 to 2 vote of the Tribal Council soon after taking office. The tribal government's Public Information Office publishes the monthly Siletz News.[9] Information about tribal current events can also be found at the member sponsored website Siletz Net.[10]

Cultural activities

Artifacts and historical documents are stored and displayed at the Siletz Tribal Cultural Center, located on Government Hill, under the care of Cultural Specialist Robert Kentta and Cultural Activities Coordinator Selene Rilatos.

Tolowa is taught as a common tribal language. Beginning Athabaskan language will be taught at the Siletz Valley Charter School, opening in the fall of 2006.

The second weekend in August of every year the Tribe is host to its annual Nesika Ilahee Pow-wow.

Feather Dance

Every summer and winter solstice for hundreds if not thousands of years, a dance has been held, called, the Feather Dance (or Naadosh), which would be held for 12 days at a place called, "Yonkentonket", which means, "The center of the earth".

In recent years a new tradition has been started. During the winter solstice dancers, singers, and tribal members from the Confederated Tribes of Siletz visit the Tolowa peoples near Smith River, California cedar plank dance house. During the summer solstice dancers, singers, and tribal members of the Tolowa tribe visit the peoples of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz cedar plank dance house.



After the war of 1855-1856

After the Rogue River Wars of 1855-56, most of the peoples were forced onto the Coast Indian Reservation which later split into the Siletz, and Alsea reservations, where they were to form a single unified tribe. The Coast Reservation originally comprised 1.1 million acres (4,500 km2), which was established by executive order (President Franklin Pierce) on November 9, 1855, only weeks after the start of the Rogue River Wars.

Termination act of 1954

Western Oregon Indian Termination Act of 1954, Public Law 588, came into effect on August 13, 1954. The new law severed Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) supervision of trust lands and BIA regulation of services to the Indian peoples.

Restoration bills

In June 1974, Rep. Wendell Wyatt started the path down to restoration, but the bill did not pass and ultimately failed.

On December 17, 1975 Senator Mark Hatfield introduced restoration bill, S. 2801. At the time Senator Hatfield presented his restoration bill he was quoted as saying, that the Siletz People were "ill-prepared to cope with the realities of American society" when the Termination act went to effect and that they had been "tossed abruptly from a state of almost total dependency to a state of total independence" "to leave the only way of life they had known". The bill included wording to grant/restore hunting and fishing rights. This bill also did not pass.

Out of Senator Hatfields 1975 failed bill, he and Senator Bob Packwood introduced a new bill, S. 1560, in the month of May 1977. Unlike its 1975 predecessor, it did not include that the hunting or fishing rights be restored (although a companion bill was sent by Rep. Les AuCoin to the United States House of Representatives, H.R. 7259, which the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission fought and helped stall). On August 5, 1977 the United States Senate passed the restoration bill and on November 1, 1977 so did the House. Which was then sent to President Jimmy Carter on November 3 and then approved November 18.

Important events in tribal history

  • On November 18, 1977, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz became the second tribe in the U.S. to have its federal status restored, and returned to being a sovereign government.
  • On June 2, 1979 tribal members adopted a constitution.
  • On November 1, 1979 people of the town of Siletz, voted 148 to 134, to give back (which the tribe had given to the city at the time of termination) to the Tribe approximately 36 acres (150,000 m2) of former tribal land. Which was originally the site of the old Siletz Agency, called then and now, "Government Hill".
  • In 1994, the Tribe voted on lowering the blood quantum, to 1/16, to allow new members to join. Which in conclusion passed.
  • In 1995, Artist Peggy O'Neal, was commissioned to paint the famous, trail of tears of the rogue river peoples, painting.
  • In 1995 the first, "Run to the Rogue", took place, in which tribal members take turns carrying an eagle flag staff from Government Hill in Siletz to Agness, Oregon (Located on the Rogue River), on foot.
  • In 1995 The Siletz Tribe opened up a 157,000-square-foot (14,600 m2) casino/convention center, called Chinook Winds Casino, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean from Lincoln City, Oregon.
  • In 2005 a 227-room hotel adjacent to Chinook Winds Casino was purchased and added to the casino.

Important people in tribal history

  • George Harney - The first Chief of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz.
  • Tipsu Tyee (means "grass chief" in Chinook Jargon; leader, unknown second name)
  • Tecumtum (translated as: Elk Killer)
  • Toquahear (translated as: Wealthy)
  • Apserkahar (translated as: Horse Rider)
  • Quatley (translated as: Unknown)
  • Anachaharah (translated as: Unknown)
  • Josiah L. Parrish
  • Thomas Van Pelt
  • Sam Van Pelt
  • Joseph Lane
  • Hoxie Simmons
  • Joel Palmer
  • Delores Pigsley

General information

The confederation takes its name from the Siletz River, which surrounds the reservation. The word Siletz translates into "coiled like a snake", describing the route of the river winding around the land and mountains to the ocean. It includes remnants of the Siletz, a Coast Salish people who inhabited the area up until the middle 19th century but who are no longer counted separately in the larger confederation.

Finding records of the ethnic and cultural history of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz is somewhat difficult. A partial attempt at the tribal population makeup before it was forced on reservation lands in the mid-19th century is as follows:

  • Upper Rogue River or Shasta Tribe:
    • John's Band 172
    • George's Band 222
    • Joseph James's Band 160
  • Coastal Tribes:
    • Joshuas's Band 179
    • Choallie's Band 215
    • Totoem's Band 202
    • Macanotin's Band 129
    • Shasta Costa 110
    • Port Orford (a Qua-to-mah band) 242
    • Upper Coquille 313

Siletz Dee-ni

Siletz Dee-ni is an indigenous North American language historically spoken by Native Americans on the Siletz Indian Reservation in Oregon, United States. According to a report by the National Geographic Society and the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, it is the last of many languages spoken on the reservation and, with only one living speaker, is an endangered language.[11]

See also


Further reading

External links

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