December 18, 2014, Washington, D.C. - The recent completion of Oregon's Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (CTWS) water tank project constructed with funding from the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), and spearheaded by TCA, was celebrated at a ceremony at the Turkish Embassy. The TIKA grant underwrites the cost of the water tank that will serve students of a newly built elementary school and help CTWS meet their water needs for the next ten years. At Thursday's ceremony, Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kılıç presented the $200,000 check from TIKA to CTWS.
"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."
Chief Joseph Moses of CTWS expressed appreciation, stating, "We continue to be deeply grateful to the people of the Republic of Turkey for their generosity in this grant. The development of this water tank directly benefits the health and well-being of our children and young adults by securing access to clean water."
Attendees of the ceremony included Turkish Embassy officials and representatives from CTWS, other tribes, and Native American organizations. Also present were representatives from the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) and the offices of Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Turkey Caucus member Congressman Todd Rokita (R-IN/4th).
The sovereign land of CTWS lies within the district of Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR/2nd), who commented, "Congratulations to TIKA and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs upon the completion of this project. I am pleased to represent those involved and am excited about continued collaboration between Turkey and Indian Country."
Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK/4th), co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus and a member of the Turkey Caucus, stated, "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."
The $200,000 grant, TIKA's first in the U.S., had been announced in November 2013 after a yearlong collaboration between TCA, National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC), and TIKA. G. Lincoln McCurdy, president of TCA, stated, "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."