Siletz Casino Project to Uplift Tribal Community

Currently the Confederated Tribe of the Siletz Indians has $248 million in unmet needs in tribal programs, including approximately $207.5 million in capital need and $40.5 million in annual need. We intend to use gaming income from the proposed Salem casino to provide much needed programs for our Tribal members including supporting tribal elders, establishing a full-service tribal law enforcement agency and creating a natural resources division along with strengthening several current tribal programs.

We expect the casino to generate $185 million in annual revenue in the first year of operation, growing to $231 million by the third year. 25 percent of this revenue will be reinvested into community improvements and programs for Siletz tribal members. Eventually, we hope revenue from the proposed casino project will reduce the Tribe’s reliance on federal grant money to further strengthen its self-governance.

As we move towards federal and state approval of our second entertainment property, we hope the community will consider the hardships faced by our Tribal members due to adverse federal Indian policies. The revenue from this project will not only support local communities but will improve the lives of our tribal membership as well.

Impacts of Adverse Federal Indian Policies
The unmet needs of the Tribe can be explained by the history of the Siletz Tribe and the adverse federal Indian policies applied to the Tribe and its members. Two thirds of the original Siletz Reservation was unilaterally removed by the federal government by Executive Order in 1865 and statute in 1875. The reservation land was taken without just compensation and tribal consent. In 1954, the Siletz Tribe was terminated of its status as an Indian tribe by the Western Oregon Indians Termination Act, and as result the Tribe was stripped of its remaining 25,000 acres of tribal land. Termination devastated tribal membership and many families moved away from the Coast Reservation area.

Although the termination did not address the Tribe’s treaty-reserved hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering rights, after termination occurred in 1954, the State of Oregon began enforcing its fish and wildlife laws against Siletz tribal members. Without resources to litigate the continued existence of their treaty rights, the small group of Siletz tribal members remaining after termination focused on having Siletz Tribe’s status as a federally recognized Indian tribe restored. The Siletz Tribe was the second tribe in the nation to be restored to federally recognized status in 1977.

Supporting Tribal Elders
Tribal elders suffered the most devastating impacts from termination of the Siletz Tribe, separated from their community and culture, and displaced to other areas of Oregon as tribal lands were sold off. The disruption has caused increased levels of medical, social and emotional trauma for elders as a result of termination. We intent to allocate funds from the Salem casino project to fund the Tribal Elder Program.

Effective Law Enforcement
We do not currently have a law enforcement department, meaning the Tribe must contract with nearby non-Indian governments to provide limited law enforcement coverage for tribal lands. With its current level of funding, we are unable to establish and maintain an effective law enforcement department to meet the needs of our communities. Establishment of the proposed Salem casino will allow the Siletz Tribe to establish and maintain a full-service tribal law enforcement agency.

Managing Natural Resources
Siletz hunting and fishing rights became an issue during restoration as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) was adamantly opposed to Siletz Restoration unless the Siletz Tribe agreed to extinguishment of all of its hunting and fishing rights. This imposed additional trauma on the Tribe and its members while the Tribe was moving forward to mitigate the trauma of termination. With the choice of establishing a reservation or keeping their hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering rights, the Siletz Tribe chose to move forward with establishing their reservation and was forced to agree to the terms that imposed severe limitation on the Tribe’s exercise of its hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering rights.

In the last two years State of Oregon officials, including Governor Kate Brown and the current Director of ODFW, Curt Melcher, have acknowledged the State’s position during the late 1970s to limit the Tribe’s treaty hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering rights was unconscionable. Jointly, the two parties have been working with the Tribe to rectify the harmful effects of the termination that continue to adversely affect the Tribe and its members.

With the current negotiations in process with the Oregon Governor and the Director of ODFW, the Agreement will allow the Siletz Tribe to exercise its treaty-reserved hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering rights for the first time since 1954. The agreement is set to be finalized by the end of this year and once it is in place, we will need to establish a much larger Natural Resources Department with staff to regulate and manage the increased fish and wildlife harvest and related natural resources activities.

Additional Support
Other service areas that the casino project funds will go towards for tribal members include education, social services, health care, substance abuse intervention and prevention, employment and training, tribal language and cultural preservation, housing, natural resources planning and management, environmental protection, public safety, emergency preparedness, public utilities and transportation planning and infrastructure.

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The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians is a confederation of all the Tribes of western Oregon. In the 1800s Siletz ancestors were removed from their homelands and moved to the Siletz Reservation on the coast. Its Tribal headquarters is located in Siletz, Oregon and the Tribe has operated government offices in Salem, Portland, Eugene, Lincoln City and Siletz for over 40 years.



From the locals who will work at the property, to the local businesses who benefit from having more visitors in town, an endeavor like this is an investment in Salem's future. This project is a unique opportunity to add thousands of living wage jobs, spur economic growth, bring world-class entertainment, uplift Tribal communities and capitalize on significant infrastructure modernizations.

In addition, the project’s unique profit-sharing and community-focused plans ensure that the State of Oregon, local governments like the City of Salem and other federally recognized Tribes in Oregon benefit from the project. Please, listen to our community and say yes to this investment in Salem’s future.