SILETZ, OREGON — On Jan. 23, 2018, Cathern “Cat” Tufts passed away from complications of the flu at Good Samaritan Hospital in Newport, Oregon. Cathern was the daughter of Dennis and Mary Tufts; she was born on Sept. 9, 1964, in Mobridge, South Dakota.
The family moved to Ocean Park, Washington where she grew up, attending Ocean Park grade school and graduated from Ilwaco High School in 1982. Her senior year at Ilwaco High School she was enrolled at Clatsop Community College. Cathern went on to attend Hawaii Loa College in Kaneohe, Hawaii, graduating in 1986. She moved to Houston, Texas where she worked for a Family Practice Attorney. She applied to and was accepted to Arizona State University College of Law, where she specialized in Indian Law. Graduating from Arizona State University, Cathern went to work for the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) in Boulder, Colorado where she worked on water rights issues.
From NARF, Cathern came to work for the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians in the Natural Resources Department. She then transferred to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Portland, Oregon as Attorney Decision Maker, working with the Northwest Tribes on probate issues. Cathern returned to the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians as the Staff Attorney where she worked from 2001 until her passing.
Cathern loved and lived life to its fullest. She was dedicated to being of service to the Siletz Tribe and its people. She worked hard to further the Indian Child Welfare Department, providing legal assistance and advice to the Siletz Tribal Housing Department and any other tribal programs in need of her expertise.
Cathern was very proud of her home on the Siletz River. Recreationally, she enjoyed the three annual Elder woodcuts, fishing on the lower Siletz River and trout fishing in the nearby lakes. She would g out picking blackberries and wild plants, as well as mushrooms.
She was an accomplished musician, playing saxophone, guitar and piano. Cathern enjoyed her music concerts like Lyle Lovett, Jackson Browne and numerous other artists. Cathern was raised with pets (dogs and cats) and she dearly loved her pups, Cyrus and Addy.
Cathern is survived by her father, Dennis Tufts of Siletz, Ore., and her brother and sister-in-law William and Mary Tufts of Lincoln City, Ore. Cathern was preceded in death by her mother, Mary Elizabeth (2011).
Memorial services were held Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018 at the Siletz Tribal Community Center on Government Hill in Siletz, Ore. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Cathern Tufts Memorial Scholarship Fund.