Bend, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to sign first-of-its-kind agreement

March 7, 2024
Bend, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to sign first-of-its-kind agreement

City and tribal councils to meet regularly to discuss topics of mutual interest


The Bend City Council and the tribal council of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs are expected to approve a historic agreement Wednesday formalizing a relationship between the two governing bodies for the first time.

The Bend City Council is expected to vote to sign the agreement at its meeting Wednesday. It outlines a requirement that the two governments must meet at least once a year with the intent to discuss topics of mutual interest.

“Matters of common interest, include, but are not limited to, the prudent and equitable use of the water resources of the Deschutes Basin, responsible land use, cultural resource protection, and sustainable regional economic development,” the agreement states.

It’s a momentous agreement for the two governments, but it’s also the first of its kind between the tribes and any city in Central Oregon.

“It’s really about communication and respect of each other and working together and having regular meetings and contact with each other so the tribes know what the city’s doing,” Bobby Brunoe, the CEO of the confederated tribes, told The Bulletin on Tuesday.Bend is a part of the tribes’ roughly 10 million acres of land ceded under the Treaty of 1855, which also established the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

Tribal and city leaders met in November, which was another first-time event, to discuss shared interests and each council’s history. That meeting ended in a promise that it wouldn’t be the last time the councils met.

The agreement up for a vote Wednesday makes good on that promise.

Building these kinds of governmental relationships gives the city an opportunity to better understand tribal culture and why the tribes look out so carefully for their cultural resources, which include water, fish and wildlife habitat and natural land, among other things, Brunoe said.

“As the original stewards of this land, we know that caring for and preserving our shared natural resources requires strong partnerships with other governments,” Jonathan W. Smith, senior chairman of the Tribal Council, said in the Tuesday announcement.

Smith called the agreement “the first formal step in forging an important partnership and as an example, we’d like to replicate with other governments in the region.” 

Share this post