Serving Oregon’s Native American Tribes

I’m concerned that Red Cross in Oregon has sometimes viewed Native American Tribes primarily as potential donors from proceeds of their gaming operations, or casinos. While I’m fine with asking for and taking donations from Oregon’s Tribes, our relationship should be based on services to tribal members – not money received from them. The Oregon Mountain River Chapter, headquartered in Bend, has done the best job among us of developing true partnerships with Tribes in their area, but there’s still much to be done across our state.

Antoinette Edwards, our Diversity Director, and I were in Roseburg this week to meet with the Legislative Commission on Indian Services. We went on behalf of all five Red Cross Chapters to discuss the perceptions of and experiences with Red Cross by Oregon’s nine federally-recognized Tribes. Antoinette and I explained that we envisioned a meaningful partnership in emergency preparedness, disaster response, and health & safety services with tribal members and their families. Now comes the harder part: delivering. I’m confident that we’re up to the task.