Report says Klamath panel erred

Larry Caldwell larryc at
Mon Nov 25 13:10:07 EST 2002

In article <6dafee1b.0211241931.2ad9bb9d at>, 
dwheeler at writes: 
> Larry Caldwell <larryc at> wrote in message news:<MPG.184b052a2492639998a36d at>...
> > In article <6dafee1b.0211231415.178e1db6 at>, 
> > dwheeler at writes: 
> >  
> > > There does appear to be an agenda. I don't see the Klamath tribe
> > > involved in it, since their tribe legally doesn't exist at this time
> > > to my knowledge.
> > 
> > You are very mistaken.  Plus, it is the Klamath TribeS.  There are Modoc, 
> > Paiute and Klamath tribes involved in the Klamath Basin.  They have all 
> > had official tribal status restored, but they didn't get their 
> > reservations back.
> I'd still like to see something more than just your informed opinion,
> Larry. If I am mistaken, a citation would certainly prove that
> allegation.

Why not check with the tribes themselves?

"In 1986, we were successful in regaining Restoration of Federal 
Recognition for our Tribes. Although our land base was not returned to 
us, we were directed to compose a plan to regain economic self-
sufficiency. Our Economic Self-sufficiency Plan reflects the Klamath 
Tribes' continued commitment to playing a pivotal role in the local 

I live in a rural area outside the Willamette Valley.  While the Indian 
population of Oregon is not huge, you don't have to go very far before 
you rub elbows with one.  I used to work for a Modoc, who employed 
several Indians from various tribes.  There was never a hint of 
discrimination.  They always treated me like a regular person.  :)

I'm no expert, but when you work with Indians you hear a lot of 
conversations from the Indian viewpoint, and get a picture of their 
politics.  The Klamath Tribes were once pretty prosperous, before the 
feds took the reservation away.  

I think most Klamath Basin Indians want to return to a land based 
economy, rather than cashing in on the gambling craze.  I have always 
supported the return of tribal lands.  There is no doubt that the 
termination movement was nothing but a land grab clothed in high sounding 
phrases.  The environmentalists don't like the idea, because turning a 
whole national forest back to the Indians would erode their power base.  

The Whites in the Klamath Basin are of mixed opinion about the 
restoration.  On one hand, the Indians historically did a great job of 
managing the land and were a big part of the local economy.  Farm stores, 
restaurants, shopping malls and similar businesses stand to benefit in a 
big way if the Indians get their land back.  OTOH, whites would lose 
their hunting and fishing privileges on millions of acres of land, which 
would be a big hit to the local recreation industry.  A lot of people 
show up to hunt mulies and waterfowl each year, and leave big wads of 
green at local vendors.  Some ranches would lose profitable grazing 

So you see, besides fishery concerns, the Klamath Tribes are using the 
water issues to leverage their cause.  Sometimes they may use the 
environmentalists to make a point, but they have no illusions that the 
environmentalists would support the tribes.  They may dispute with the 
farmers, but know that the farming community contains some of their most 
solid supporters.  Farmers and Indians are united in their loathing of 
Washington DC.  If the feds destroy the local economy, it will hurt the 
Indians bad, because they depend on the white community for jobs.  If you 
destroy the farming economy of the basin, you push another 20% of the 
Indian population below the poverty line.  

The general public just gets sound bites, and has no clue about the 
historic basis for local politics.  At this point, everybody is praying 
for rain.  Twenty years ago, they had to raise the road bed of US97 
because Klamath Lake was flooding the highway.  This was right after the 
severe droughts of the late 1970s.  A couple years of double snow packs 
and this entire issue would sink into the water and drown.


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