Nation and its ongoing Tulelake Basin AIRPORT disputes
Juillerat, Herald and News 2/16/2020
Herald and News
efforts have been made to contact William
“Blake” Follis and other Modoc Nation officials.
Attempts have also been made to contact Tulelake
Basin individuals to obtain information and
their points of view about the various
controversies, such as the future of the
Tulelake Municipal Airport. Some individuals,
who claim biased reporting, have declined to
comment while others provided only limited
responses. Likewise, some Tule Lake Committee
members have questioned what they believe is a
reluctance by the Herald and News to publish
articles about their concerns...."
KBC News NOTE:
We Tulelake farmers were not asked for a
response or input in the Herald and News
editor's August 2018 article condemning us by
Tulelake Committee Barbara Takai of "racism"
"hysteria" "failed political leadership" "lies"
and "fake news." However, H&N is quick to allow
Takai to devalue our community and Modoc Tribe
from Oklahoma, even while both Tribes who
resided here for hundreds or thousands of years
supported our farm community keeping our
essential airport. Our community was homesteaded
by WWI and WWII veterans, including Japanese
POWs. 1300 acres has been acquired to tell the
4-year Japanese story.
Nation, formerly the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma, remains
involved in multiple issues in the Tulelake Basin, such as
legal disputes over its controversial purchase of the
Tulelake Municipal Airport, opposing proposals to have Lava
Beds National Monument receive national park status, and the
disenrollment of Cheewa James and 15 of her family members.
It’s unknown if
the departure of William “Blake” Follis, the grandson of
long-time Bill Follis who had been the Tribe’s attorney
general and its main spokesman, will impact those and other
which is based in Miami, Oklahoma, and now owns land near
the Lava Beds, is facing legal challenges by the Tule Lake
Committee, which seeks to overturn the 2018 sale of the
airport to the Tribe by the city of Tulelake.
Modoc’s tribal council voted to disenroll Cheewa James, a
noted Modoc historian, and 15 family members from tribal
membership. James, who is well known in Oregon and
California as a Modoc descendant, speaker and author and
narrated a Lava Beds driving tour, says the disenrollment
stems from her questioning tribal business policies
involving Blake Follis.
Late last year
it was announced that Follis is no longer affiliated with
the Tribe “due to different business philosophies,”
according to the Tribe’s newsletter. It was also learned
that Follis has been named in a $3.15 million lawsuit by a
company that formerly worked with tribal businesses.
Previously, the Tribe, which uses its federally permitted
tribal sovereignty in sometimes controversial business
dealings, paid more than $4 million in fines for a criminal
payday loan scheme.
Nation, which reportedly has fewer than 300 members
scattered throughout many states, is a federally recognized
tribe based in Oklahoma, where Modoc Natives were sent
following the 1872-73 Modoc War. In October 1873, 153 Modoc
men, women and children were sent by train in cattle cars
under the surveillance of armed Army soldiers, eventually to
the Quapaw Indian Agency in Indian Territory, which is now
Oklahoma. In 1909 the U.S. government allowed Modocs to
return to the Klamath Basin, which many people did. Those
that remained in Oklahoma eventually became part of the
Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma. The Tribe was terminated in the
1950s but regained federal recognition in 1978.
Since then, the
Tribe has established Red Cedar Recycling, the Stables
Casino, reintroduced bison and been involved in several
economic projects, including, according to the Tribe’s
website, “businesses specializing in information technology,
construction, aviation, gaming, payment solution and health
In 2018, the
Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma – it renamed itself the Modoc Nation
in 2019 – was one of two tribes that in court proceedings
admitted it had allowed Scott Tucker, who was fined and
sentenced to more than 16 years in prison, to use the Tribe
to skirt state usury laws for an illegal $2 billion payday
loan scheme. According to court documents, proceeds were
laundered through bank accounts in the Tribe’s name that
were controlled by Tucker. The Tribe reportedly forfeited
more than $4 million in settlements. A documentary about the
payday loan scheme was featured on episode two of “Dirty
Money” on Netflix.
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