Klamath tribal members protest “celebratory” signing of agreement

April 21, 2014. Source: Warrior Publications

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U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, State of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, State of California Governor Jerry Brown, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, Klamath Tribes elected officials and Klamath Basin irrigators held a “celebratory” signing of the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement last Friday at Collier Park, 4 miles north of Chiloquin.  With strong support from Senator Wyden, he stated “I am going to introduce in the first few days of May, legislation in partnership with Senator Merkley to make this agreement law.”
But the “celebration” was not held without opposition.  Members and descendants of the Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin tribes came together to object to the UKBCA stating that tribal membership had less than a month to review the 93 page document. Tribal Council only allowed 19 days from the mailing of the ballots by the election company to the deadline for return.

Although their addresses are current and updated, a large portion of membership either did not receive a ballot or did not did receive a ballot in time to cast a vote before the deadline. Therefore, membership feels proper voting procedure was not implemented and they did not have adequate time to make an informed decision in the referendum vote, which had a deadline of April 9th 2014 postmarked by 9 am.

 

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“To me this is a violation of the code of ethics that the Tribal Council signed at the beginning of their term. They showed no moral principal with this act. I hope they can live with themselves after they have ignored their membership.” – Anonymous Klamath Tribal member

Tribal members also stated that this agreement does not reflect the cultural values that they would like to see included in any agreement that brings their Treaty rights into discussion. Tribal membership did not have any direct involvement in the negotiation process and feel that Klamath tribal elected officials do not retain the sovereign authority to make decisions on behalf of the entire tribal membership.

Those in opposition to the agreement held signs stating *“water is life”, *“no more KBRA lies” and “my council does not speak for me.”

As signatories took their place to sign the agreement, tribal members moved to the front of the crowd to deliver a written testimony and to publically state why they were not in agreement with the proposed piece of legislation.

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While the signing took place, a Klamath Tribes descendant burned a copy of the UKBCA to symbolize tribal membership’s disdain for the agreement.  Tribal members were not given adequate time to make an informed decision and less than one third of eligible voting membership cast a ballot to grant signatory authority to Klamath Chairman Don Gentry. Many believe as a result, the outcome of the referendum is not reflective of overall enrolled members’ opinions, and therefore is inconclusive.

A statement released by the Hupa Tribe from Northern California criticizes the agreement stating it “surrenders their tribal rights for water and fishing.” Commissioners from Klamath and Siskiyou County were not in attendance, though they will be impacted by any agreement on the Klamath River.   They say they consider this a “surrender” or a “sell-out.”

Klamath Youth Program Melding Science and Traditional Knowledge Wins National Award

U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceService biologists provide tribal youth in northern California and southern Oregon with a unique opportunity to combine their cultural knowledge about the local ecology with the high-tech capabilities of NASA, the Service and other federal agencies.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Service biologists provide tribal youth in northern California and southern Oregon with a unique opportunity to combine their cultural knowledge about the local ecology with the high-tech capabilities of NASA, the Service and other federal agencies.

Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

A unique collaboration between a Klamath youth leadership development program and U.S. government researchers has won the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Partners in Conservation award for its use of traditional knowledge in conjunction with modern science.

The Klamath Tribal Leadership Development for Integrative Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge Program, operating in northern California and southern Oregon, was one of just four recipients working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Klamath Tribes said in a media release. The partnership was one of 20 recipients overall out of groups working with various federal agencies on environmental conservation and won for its work in habitat restoration and the implications for fisheries management.

The cornerstone was the Klamath tribal youth program, started last summer to connect scientists and college students to Klamath Basin restoration projects. Juxtaposing traditional knowledge and modern science, youths from the Yurok Tribe, Hoopa Valley Tribe, Karuk Tribe, Quartz Valley Indian Reservation and Klamath Tribes worked with scientists from NASA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Forest Service for 10 weeks in the Klamath Tribal Leadership Development Program for Integrative Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Together the partners restored habitat, developed models and collected data from two Klamath watershed tributaries, the Sycan River in Oregon and Shasta Big Springs Creek in California, that support tribal fisheries, the Klamath said in the statement.

The U.S. Department of the Interior noted the unique melding of tribal cultural knowledge with today’s technology that got the program chosen out of the 14 partnerships that were nominated for the award by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Students worked first with tribal elders to gather ancestral knowledge of the region’s lands and waterways, then applied that knowledge to programs whose goal is to restore and manage native fish populations in the Klamath Basin. At the same time, the program gave tribal youth job skills, setting them up as future conservation leaders even as they contributed to present-day management of fish species that are important to indigenous culture and the ecology, the Fish and Wildlife Service said in a release.

“This partnership has the promise to result in some of the most advanced approaches to fisheries management in the country and will help prepare tribal youth for future careers in conservation,” the Fish and Wildlife Service said. “To date, these agencies have brought their collective resources and expertise with established and emerging technologies and have applied these to this collaborative effort, including remote sensing and unmanned aircraft systems. These technologies hold promise for improving our knowledge base and conservation effectiveness through energy efficient, cost-effective approaches to data collection with less impact on our ecosystems.”

Other partners involved were the Nature Conservancy, Humboldt State University, Southern Oregon University and the Oregon Institute of Technology, the Klamath statement said.

“The Department of the Interior is proud to recognize the accomplishments of those who are innovating and collaborating in ways that address today’s complex conservation and stewardship challenges,” said Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who handed out the awards on January 16. “These partnerships represent the gold standard for how Interior is doing business across the nation to power our future, strengthen tribal nations, conserve and enhance America’s great outdoors and engage the next generation.”

Proud honorees. (Photo: Courtesy Klamath Tribes)
Proud honorees. (Photo: Courtesy Klamath Tribes)

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/01/27/klamath-youth-program-melding-science-and-traditional-knowledge-wins-national-award