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Sen. Wyden: 'Sue Shaffer was a true dynamo'

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CANYONVILLE, Ore. -- The Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe issued a statement following the passing of longtime Tribe chairperson Sue Shaffer on April 11.

"The Cow Creek Umpqua Tribal Board, on behalf of the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe’s 1,749 members, issued a statement of condolence today in response to news of the April 11, 2017, death of longtime Cow Creek Tribal Chairman Sue Shaffer," the statement said.

"We extend sincere condolences to Chairman Sue Shaffer’s family."

The Tribe issued the statement at its Wednesday board meeting, a spokesperson said.

The Board said Shaffer’s passing is a significant event for the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe.

"The Tribe’s successes could not have been achieved without this remarkable, powerful woman," the Tribe said. "Her unique combination of vision, focus, and determination made her unstoppable as she led us to our 1982 federal sovereignty re-recognition."

The Tribe said those same traits led to the creation of several successful Cow Creek Tribal businesses as well as programs that benefited Tribal members’ health, education, and housing needs. Her influence and impact extended and benefited many at the state and national levels, too, they said.

"She was a beloved Cow Creek Tribal Member," the statement said. "Her loss is deeply felt."

Senator Ron Wyden also released a statement Thursday.

“My friend Sue Shaffer was a true dynamo whose eloquent and powerful advocacy helped to right the long, tragic history of wrongs inflicted on the Cow Creek and other tribes in Oregon," said Wyden. "Sue gladly led on so many fronts to help Douglas County and all of Oregon become a better place. Her indelible legacy of achievement for our state and nation will live on to the benefit of generations to come. I will greatly miss Sue's friendship and good counsel.”

In January 2016, Umpqua Community College renamed its library the Sue Shaffer Learning Commons and Library.

Shaffer joined the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians board in 1974, the college said, but her first post with the Cow Creek Band was as tribal secretary in 1939.

She was the Tribal Chairwoman from 1983 to 2010.

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