Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Shasta Tribal Chairman, Roy Hall, says that coho salmon are not native to the Klamath River system.
"Coho have been used for political purposes," he said.
Photos by Liz Bowen
With the loss of jobs in the timber industry, Roy Hall, Jr. from Mugginsville, California, switched to horse training and youth counseling as a career.
"Kamisha" responds to his shifts of body weight and movements and is ridden, above, without the use of bridle or halter. Hall uses his skills to help children learn respect and trust in "The Horse Program," designed for behavior improvement.
Vol. 32, No. 42
Shasta Tribal Chairman, Roy Hall, rolls with the punches
-- Native American uses horses to help youth.
By Liz Bowen, assistant editor, Pioneer Press, Fort Jones, California
(At the very top of the state.)
QUARTZ VALLEY, CALIFORNIA - "The spotted owl was used for political purposes," said Roy Hall, a man who ranched as a teen, logged for 25 years and now works as a horseman providing counseling to children through the horses.
Roy Hall Jr. is also chairman of the Shasta Nation, a California recognized Native American Tribe, which has been fighting for U.S. federal government recognition the last 150 years.
A treaty was signed by the Shasta on Nov. 4, 1851, but was never ratified. Soon after the signing of the treaty, a barbecue was held by the soldiers based in Fort Jones. The meat was poisoned and hundreds of Shasta braves died, but two chiefs of the 13 chiefs in attendance did not eat and survived. Present-day Shastas can trace their genealogy back to these chiefs and the surviving women.
During the last 22 years, council officers of the Shasta Nation and members have traveled to Washington D.C. carrying 1000s of historical documents – to no avail.
"Same as the coho salmon," continues Chairman Hall. "The coho is being used for political purposes."
(Last month, the California Fish and Game Commission listed the coho salmon with the California Endangered Species Act, citing low numbers in population, despite California Farm Bureau Federation, Cattlemen, and Siskiyou County groups to name a few, that presented scientific data that the coho numbers have actually improved.
The state Department of Fish and Game officials refused to include information from the last four years on coho numbers. Only the study by Brown and Moyles numbers were used and that study was done more than 20 years ago.)
But it is the next sentence that drops the bomb.
"Coho are not native fish. They have been planted here numerous times. The water is too warm," comes the soft-spoken short sentences. "Steelhead and chinook are native fish."
When asked, Fish and Game officials say they have no records of plantings, except for the plant of 200 adult coho in the French Creek in the early 1970s.
Yet, the shocking statements still do not stop.
"Spotted owls are not natural birds here either, so why are they being used for politics?" questions Hall.
It is his knowledge of timber and logging, along with the information passed down from generations of those who lived in this mountain forestland, which provides Roy with his facts.
"Logging and roads in the forest raised the number of the spotted owls. It gives them places to fly and hunt," he explains. "Miles of heavy forest is difficult habitat to live in."
For a Native American Tribe that called the area of Siskiyou County and several other counties in Northern California and Southern Oregon its homeland, the Shasta Nation knows the frustration of political schemes and governmental red tape.
Shasta Tribal Chairman Roy Hall with "Kamisha"
But while the current Shasta Tribal Council and members still work towards federal status, this member of the Shasta Nation has learned to roll with the punches.
Roy followed an uncle into the logging business nearly 30 years ago after graduating from Etna High School in 1973. Logging made more money than ranching, even back then. He drove truck hauling logs, skidded logs down mountains, loaded logs onto trucks and even fell trees.
In 1991, one of the trees he was cutting fell on him. Injuries kept him out of work for over a year. His shoulder still doesn’t work right, but he was able to go back to logging. Yet, because of the stringent regulations involved with the federal listing of the spotted owl to the Endangered Species Act, work was taking him farther and farther from home.
Roy and his wife, Monica, have five children. A dad needs to be home. They were living the economic shutdown in Siskiyou County, which was a result of the loss of the timber industry. But they do not want to move. This is their home in more ways than one.
By this time, the Halls were in the thick of studying the Parelli Horse Training methods. Roy and Monica liked the "natural" way of training, especially the results. His mare "Kamisha" works so well, Roy can actually ride her without a bridle or halter. Her head and mouth are free, but she listens to the rider as he shifts his body and slightly moves his hands.
Then "The Horse Program" began hiring. It was October of 2002 and Roy was ready to change careers. The tractor that he had most recently drove pulling a belly dump trailer is now hooked up to a long horse trailer. There isn’t a problem pulling the steep mountain grades, Roy mentions with a smile.
"The Horse Program" is a private business that works to improve behavioral health, a problem facing many youth and families in today’s society. The program works closely with the Siskiyou County Behavioral Health Department. Most of the clients are children and teens.
"Kids love the horses and respond well," Roy explains. "Horses teach respect, boundaries. Instead of an adult telling them what to do, we let the horse teach them."
Part II to follow next week: How Roy Hall took up the Shasta Tribal cause, following in his grandfather's footsteps.
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