Coquille Tribe moving forward with Indian education curriculum, celebrating culture


The Coquille Indian Tribe has a long cultural history, broken apart by the loss and restoration of their “Tribe” designation.

The tribe has not always been given the chance to teach their history to the younger generation.

Newly passed legislation, Senate Bill 13, puts into law the process to make sure the next generation knows and celebrates their culture.

The Oregon Department of Education will draft a mandated statewide curriculum for the 2019-2020 school year. and the nine tribes of Oregon can submit their own lesson plans specific to their history.

“What an Indian is and what they look like is the story of their tribe,” said Bridgett Wheeler, the tribes’s culture, education and library director. “One of the things I’ve struggled to convince my children is that they are, in fact, legit Indians of the Coquille Indian tribe.”

According to the tribe, after miners arrived and the government pushed the indigenous people from their lands in the 1850s, few Coquille women with white husbands were allowed to stay.

Many married white people, and these mixed-race families now make up the Coquille Tribe.

Kristina Simpson, Head Start director, said educating the younger generation is important to her as a mom and a tribal spouse.

They are currently accepting bids for proposed lesson plans that are in line with state and federal standards

“Our expectation is we lay out what we would like people to provide us,” Wheeler said, “their expertise, examples of lesson plans, basically, what their plan and price would be for them to provide this product.”

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