Coquille Tribe succeeds with complaint against state lottery ads

A still from the Oregon Lottery's Lewis and Clark Dancing Bear advertisement. Image from Deep Sky Studios

Correction: The Oregon Lottery's ad campaign did not debut after Gov. Kate Brown (D) voiced opposition to the Coquille Tribe's proposed Class II gaming facility. The ads had already been running before Brown sent her letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

It's the end of the trail for an ill-conceived Lewis and Clark-themed advertising campaign in Oregon.

The Oregon Lottery spots depicted explorers Lewis and Clark and an animated bear "discovering" gaming machines in the wild. The Coquille Tribe complained because the ads implied that Native people were non-existent.

“This is a good start,” Chairperson Brenda Meade said in a press release. “We hope it signals the beginning of an honest conversation about the state’s position on Indian gaming.”

The tribe voiced its criticism of the campaign after Gov. Kate Brown (D) expressed opposition to a proposed Class II facility. Meade noted that the timing was curious.

RWestMarketing on YouTube: Oregon Lottery - L&C Washington Trail

“It doesn’t sit right that Oregon is rolling out new Lottery terminals all over the state and expanding its gaming revenue while saying our very modest project is somehow going to damage the public’s welfare,” Meade said.

Brown offered an apology of sorts but did not contact the tribe before ordering the ads to be pulled, KPIC reported.

"Clearly the ads were distressing and upsetting to Oregon's tribal communities. We pulled them," Brown told the station.

Brown sent a letter of opposition regarding the tribe's land-into-trust application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs earlier this month.

Get the Story:
Oregon Lottery ad campaign pulled following criticism from Coquille Tribe (KCBY 4/25)

Federal Register Notice:
Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Coquille Indian Tribe Fee-to-Trust and Casino Project, City of Medford, Jackson County, Oregon (January 15, 2015)

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