Oregon’s Tribes Meet With State Leaders at LCIS Spring Celebration

After three years of disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oregon Legislative Commission on Indian Services returned to meeting in-person for the annual Spring Celebration in Salem this month.

Leaders from Oregon’s federally recognized Tribes attended the event, including Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians’ Chairman Carla Keene, CEO Michael Rondeau, and Tribal Board member Royce Deardorff.

Deardorff carried the Cow Creek Umpqua flag during the opening ceremony. The event was held outdoors at Wilson Park next to the Capitol grounds. The Capitol Rotunda, where the Spring Celebration is traditionally held, is undergoing renovation.

Each Tribe was given the opportunity to speak to those in attendance. During Chairman Keene’s remarks, she stressed the importance of understanding Tribal sovereignty.

“Please learn about what it means to be a sovereign nation within a nation. That is so important to every Tribe that is in the United States of America,” she said. “The Tribes are here to answer all of your questions.”

The Spring Celebration offers a chance for Oregon’s Tribal leaders, legislators and directors of state agencies to talk face-to-face.

“This event is an opportunity for Tribes to be active legislatively, keep track of bills that affect Tribes, and have meaningful discussions with lawmakers,” said Rondeau.

The evening prior to the event, Governor Tina Kotek held a private dinner for Oregon’s Tribal leaders at the Governor’s Mansion that both Rondeau and Chairman Keene attended.