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Karuk Tribe and Environmentalists Play on People's Emotions

Guest Opinion By Nita Still, Montague, Pioneer Press November 28, 2007

The environmentalists, Craig Tucker, spokesman for the Karuk Tribe and Cultural Biologist, Ron Reed, are playing upon the emotions of people. Saying that if the dams are not removed "could mean 'destruction' of tribal cultures who have long subsisted on the various salmon species that once thrived in the river." (And still do.) Reed says, per 11/21/07 Pioneer Press: "We can't continue to let Pacific Power extract the wealth of the Klamath Basin, leaving our communities behind to suffer the consequences." The only wealth Pacific Power is extracting is the power of the water behind the dam.

Now check out these words by Kelly Catlett of "Friends of the River": (Pioneer Press) "Since Pacific Power refuses to act responsibly, we're calling on their customers to join our struggle. With the help of Pacific Power's customers, we can ensure that the utility will not get away with fleecing its own customers while destroying one of America's greatest natural resources."

"Refuses to act responsibly?" "The utility will not get away with fleecing its own customers?" "While destroying one of America's greatest natural resources?" "Leaving our communities behind to suffer the consequences?" "We're calling on their customers to join our struggle?"

All this says is "Oh, poor me - blah, blah, blah, blah, and plays upon peoples emotions who do not know the facts.

Edward S. Curtis's book, "The North American Indian," volume 13, page 57 says: "The Karok inhabited the banks of Klamath River from a few miles above Happy Camp in Siskiyou County down to Redcap Creek in Humboldt County and Salmon River up to the Forks of Salmon." That is no where near the dams they want to get rid of.

The Karuks as well as the Yurok and Hupa are allowed to use a net near the mouth of the Klamath River to catch salmon which is their custom, hence culture and they are allowed to do this. Times and traditions are always in a flux, hence, change. When Richard Sargent, a Karuk, was alive, he told me they should leave the dams intact and so did another Karuk.

Logging has been manipulated by the Endangered Species Act and the environmental groups. Now the environmental groups want more water, and land put into wilderness and Barbara Boxer is helping. There is a Proposed Soda Mountain Wilderness in Oregon, just across the Oregon border, near us and south into Siskiyou County. Woe be unto us if we let that bill pass. If it does the Nature Conservancy and the Sierra Club would be delighted, for it will help to implement Dave Foreman's Wildlands Project. You know he also wants to rewild the last hundred miles of the Colorado River, he wrote it in one of his books.

Therefore, Hoover Dam and Lake Mead would also have to be destroyed. This would affect the Central Arizona Project. You see how the environmental groups are affecting many states.

When our land is turned to wilderness no one is allowed or has to get permission to place their feet upon it. Wilderness is also called a Core Zone. It will make our land surrounding it less valuable, and by and by, a lot of tax base will be lost. Our economy will deteriorate. People will not be able to sell their property except to Nature Conservancy. They in turn sell it back to our government at a higher price.

There is a way to stop this. I hope and pray the supervisors will hurry up and set it into motion. We must control be in at the local level. Thirty-five years ago congress passed a statute where the federal land use agencies must consult and coordinate with local governments to make their land use statutes agreeable.

About three weeks ago I was looking about how to kill algae and came across information of oxygenating water and how it killed algae. Then I read the Pacific Corp and FERC saying the water should be oxygenated. Now "they" cannot use algae as an excuse.

I just talked with a Karuk Indian. This is what she told to me. They went camping several years ago near where the Klamath enters into the ocean. They fished and caught a salmon they had for supper. They were having a good time until the next morning they were approached by some Indians and asked where they were from. They were told they shouldn't be there, they did not want them to get any of the fish they were netting and "had guns on them all night." That they should leave and not come back. She said they did not even now there were nets in the water. They were quite unnerved with the episode and she said they never did go back.

Another episode is where she discovered people were giving salmon to the Indians and the Indians were selling the salmon to a market in Yreka, that the cashier had told her this. She thinks most of the salmon the Indians catch are sold.

She also said before the dams everything was flooded. Another episode is where the forest service wanted to build a road through a burial ground to fix a fire trail up the mountains. The Indians told them no. The next morning the forest service came again and found the Indians drunk and laying across the road, too much wine. She told me they should not have been drinking on that sacred ground. Again, this information came from a Karuk person. I asked her if I could use this information and told her I would not use their name. She said, "Yes." Then laughing, she said she "wanted to live a little longer."

In checking the Karuk's Constitution, it talks mainly about elections and how to carry them out. No mention about salmon or specifics, just generalities about their lives.
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