Cow Creek Band of Umpqua gives $150,000

Cow Creek Band of Umpqua gives $150,000

Lewis & Clark has received $150,000 from the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua in appreciation of the labors of Stephen Dow Beckham and Dennis Whittlesey in the settlement of the tribe’s land claims case with the federal government and the negotiation of its successful gaming and entertainment enterprises.

Susan C. Shaffer, chair of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, announced the gift at the law school’s banquet honoring Beckham and Whittlesey as distinguished honorary alumni and Judge Roosevelt Robinson ’76 as distinguished graduate.

Beckham, an expert in Native American history, holds the Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Professorship in History at Lewis & Clark College. Whittlesey serves on the law school’s Board of Visitors and is a partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm of Jackson & Kelly.

“We believe Lewis & Clark can become the national center for Indian Law education in the country,” said James Huffman, dean of the law school and Erskine Wood Sr. Professor of Law, upon accepting the gift. “This tremendous gift will help make this dream a reality and will help serve our law school, Indian country and our nation for many years to come.”

The law school offers a basic curriculum in Indian law, courses taught by a Native American faculty member, a library collection in Indian law, an Indian law summer program, and scholarships funded by the Quinault Allottees Association.

Beckham, Whittlesey, Shaffer and the Tribal Council began working with Congress and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in 1979 to win compensation for the taking of the tribe’s lands and achieved a successful settlement in 1984.

The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua negotiated the first Indian gaming compact in Oregon in 1992 and opened the first gaming facility in the state. Since then, the tribe has successfully used its Seven Feathers Casino and Resort as the catalyst for developing a broad economic base and self-sufficiency for the tribe.