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Governor Kitzhaber celebrates Tribal Government Day (May 13, 2011)

Governor Kitzhaber celebrates Tribal Government Day

May 13, 2011

Thank you Chair Stewart for the kind introduction.  It’s great to be back at the Capitol so that I can once again welcome you to the 2011 Tribal Government Day. Tribal Government Day is our opportunity to learn more about the rich culture and heritage of Oregon’s Tribes and to honor the sovereignty of Native Americans in our great State.  

The theme of this year’s Tribal Government Day is “Who We Are.” Who you are is of great significance to the State.  Each of your histories and cultures are unique and precious – and an important part of Oregon’s past, present and future.  As you share information about your foods, your history and your sovereignty today, it’s an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the history of struggle and sacrifice you’ve endured – and to celebrate your sovereignty and survival, as well as the numerous political, economic and social contributions you have made to the state.

This day is also personally significant to me.  Fifteen years ago, I signed Executive Order 96-30, which formally established the government-to-government relationship between the State of Oregon and the nine federally recognized Indian tribal governments within Oregon.  Ten years ago, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 770, formalizing in statute the importance of that relationship.  We celebrate the anniversaries of those significant marks in Oregon’s history.

As I said in the Executive Order 15 years ago: “The importance of recognizing the relationship that exists between the tribes and state government can not be underestimated. As sovereigns the tribes and the State of Oregon must work together to develop mutual respect for the sovereign interest of both parties. The relationships between our government structures can only be built through trust and mutual respect.”  That statement, and the importance of our relationship government-to-government, is just as critical now, if not more, as we face today’s economic challenges.  

We all know that the economic recession has taken a toll, and since I returned to office in January, I have been focused on revitalizing Oregon’s economy and transforming our health and education systems.

I believe the budget shortfall is forcing us to transform our education and health care systems so that they are more efficient, more accountable, less costly, and, most importantly, actually improving people’s health and wellbeing, as well as their ability to succeed.

I believe transforming education and health care is absolutely essential to our mutual long-term economic recovery; essential to building the workforce of the 21st century; essential to raising our per capita income back above the national average – in short, essential to a prosperous, sustainable, and strong future for all of us. And your input will be important as we move forward on these initiatives. 

And now, following our tradition, I have a proclamation in hand declaring this week to be American Indian Week and celebrating the anniversaries of EO 96-30 and SB 770.   I will now read the proclamation and sign it.

Whereas: There are nine federally recognized Indian tribal governments located within the State of Oregon, each of which has a unique history and culture and is a sovereign nation; and

Whereas: The relationship between the State of Oregon and Oregon’s tribal governments is of great importance and is based on mutual respect and cooperation; and

Whereas: Strong traditions, strong homelands, and respect for each other contribute to the continued relationship of the State of Oregon and Oregon’s tribal governments; and

Whereas: This year marks the 15 year anniversary of Executive Order 96-30, formalizing a framework for ongoing government-to-government relations between the State of Oregon and Oregon’s tribal governments; and

Whereas: This year also marks the 10 year anniversary of Senate Bill 770 (ORS 182.162 to 182.168) which further developed ongoing government-to-government relations; and

Whereas: This is a time to celebrate the anniversaries of Executive Order 96-30 and Senate Bill 770 and to celebrate the past, present and future contributions of Oregon’s tribal governments, tribal members and other Native Americans who call Oregon their home.

Now, therefore: I, John A. Kitzhaber, M.D., Governor of the State of Oregon, hereby proclaim May 9-15, 2011 to be American Indian Week in Oregon and encourage all Oregonians to join in this observance.

Thank you for coming today.



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