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Reservation foes organize, rally

Published Dec. 12, 2003


A group opposed to the idea of a reservation for the Klamath Tribes started rallying Thursday, and members said they want to increase their numbers.

About 160 people met Thursday night at the Shilo Inn to talk about the negotiations that have been under way, also at the Shilo, among irrigators, tribal leaders, federal officials and others involved in the Basin's water issues. Another session in those talks was scheduled today.

Thursday night, many of those who object to a reservation stood up to urge the crowd to write to lawmakers, talk to friends and relatives, and walk a picket line outside the closed meetings.

"I don't think that my name or anyone else's name is going to affect a politician, but I think numbers will," said Dr. Calvin Hunt of Chiloquin.

Hunt is circulating a petition that says the signers want no part of the former reservation to be given to the Tribes. The Tribes are trying to get 690,000 acres of national forest land from the federal government.

The meeting was held by the Basin Alliance to Save the Winema and Fremont Forests.

Lynn Bayona, alliance chairman, said he was encouraged by the turnout and urged attendance at rallies today and Saturday. Today the group planned to picket outside the Shilo, and Saturday it planned to be outside a public meeting held by the Tribes at the Mabel Liskey Henzel Pavilion. Both rallies were set to start at noon.

"At this time we find the best thing is to get more numbers," Bayona said. "These numbers are the things that will get us through Greg Walden's door." Walden is the U.S. representative for southern and eastern Oregon, and he would play a key role in any vote in the Congress to restore a reservation.

Barbara Martin, a Klamath Falls real estate agent who helped organize protests at the A Canal headgates in 2001, said the group might have to engage in civil disobedience to get recognized. She said the picket lines should be a good start.

"I'm not saying break the law," she said. "When they see us, they will take notice."

Two members of the Klamath Tribes' spoke out against the possible land deal and the Tribes leadership, particularly Chairman Allen Foreman.

Marni Morrow, a tribal member from Klamath Falls, said the informal meetings smack of communism, with the people not being represented in a decision. She said if Foreman and the Tribes leadership really cared about what the public thought of the potential deal they would have been at the meeting Thursday night.

She said the Tribes need to explain what they would do with the land if they got it and need to learn about the farming lifestyle. She said she wants the Tribes to know what the agriculture community is fighting for and how hard its members work.

"I don't know a tribal member who could work as hard as a farmer, 375 days a year," Morrow said.

Later in the meeting, James Sanderville, a member of the Klamath and the Blackfeet tribes, said he questioned the Tribes leadership and why federal lawmakers want to deal with it.

Both Morrow and Sanderville said they plan to run for tribal office in the spring. Morrow said she didn't know what position she wants to run for and Sanderville said he wants to be the next chairman.

Meanwhile, two other members of the Tribes sat quietly throughout the meeting, scribbling notes.

One of the two was Joe Hobbs, vice chairman of the Tribes, who said he was not there as a tribal official. "I'm here to get notes for Saturday," he said.

The Alliance started forming about a month ago, members said. Members are Averil and Jerry Anderson, Bair, Bayona, Lani Hickey, Chris and Glenn Howard, Carolyn and Merle Carpenter, Buddy Reno and Charlie Whitlatch.

The board meets about once a week.

Merle Carpenter, one of the alliance's charter members, said the group "just felt that most people didn't have a voice and wanted to provide a venue for them to have a voice."

Whitlatch, another charter member, said getting Bayona to be the Alliance's chairman was key part of making the group work.

"Lynn is the linkage between the farmers and the other groups," he said.

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