Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kılıç, Matt Hill of Lock Rock Strategies, representative of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and Lincoln McCurdy of TCA
WASHINGTON – Members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, based in Warm Springs, Oregon, and Turkish Ambassador Serdac Kilic last week held a ceremony to mark the completion of a water tank project that was constructed with funding from the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).
Attendees of the ceremony also included representatives from other tribes and American Indian organizations, including the National American Indian Housing Council, as well as Embassy staff. Representatives from the offices of Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Congressman Todd Rokita (R-Indiana), who is a member of the Turkey Caucus, were also in attendance.
At the ceremony, Ambassador Kılıç presented a $200,000 check from TIKA to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs that underwrites the 500,000-gallon water tank built earlier this year and that will serve students of a newly built elementary school.
“I am honored to present these funds to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs on behalf of TIKA and the Republic of Turkey,” said Ambassador Kılıç. “We hope to begin a cultural exchange that will benefit both nations and by helping secure water access for this school, we extend our warm wishes of prosperity and success for many years to come.”
“The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs are deeply grateful to the people of the Republic of Turkey for their generosity in this grant,” said Joseph Moses, Paiute Chief, who represents the Seekseekqua District on the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Tribal Council. “The funding provided to our tribe will directly improve the health and well-being of our membership.”
The grant, which is TIKA’s first in the U.S, directly serves nearly 650 children in grades K-8 and is expected to meet the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs resource demands for the next 10 years. The nearly 4,000 CTWS tribal members inhabit sovereign land within the state of Oregon.
“I congratulate the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs for the completion of the water tank project. I believe this generous gesture by the Turkish government will encourage more foreign investment and stronger commercial ties between Indian country and other nations around the world,” said Congressman Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), who is a tribal citizen of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma.
“Since 2008 TCA has encouraged the strengthening of educational, cultural, and commercial ties between the Turkish people and Native Americans. The TIKA grant to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Spring symbolizes the start of a new chapter in relations between Turkey and Indian Country,” said G. Lincoln McCurdy, president of the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), who attended the event and helped facilitate the relationship between the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and TIKA.