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 Klamath Tribes-a sovereign nation on the dole
by Dr Calvin Hunt, November 10, 2003

Calvin L. Hunt began his medical practice in Klamath Falls in 1947 and had a large Indian clientele.  His father and uncle, "Doctor L.L. Truaz" came to Klamath in 1912 to practice medicine.
 

The Klamath Indian Agency, a department of he U.S. Government, supplied free medical care to all Indians and paid Dr. Hunt for his services.

Schools were built by the government and students received a stipend of $100 to $270 for books and tuition. There was a 60% drop out rate before graduation.

1956 census: Revealed only 351 full blood Indians in Klamath  County.  There were 1,222 half-blood or less and 78% of Indian marriages were to non-Klamaths (Swedes, Irish, Italian, etc.).

Senator Mark Hatfield believed integration into the white community was better than segregation and welfare.

Public Law 587 was passed in 1954, which provided for termination of the reservation and the formation of a committee of management specialists consisting of: Tom Waters, Gene Favill of Lakeview, and Bill Phillips.  Representing the tribe were Seldon Kirk, Wade Crawford, Lawrence Witt, and  Dibbon Cook.

May 1956: A tribal executive committee was formed consisting of: Seldon Kirk, Dibbon Cook, Boyd Jackson, Barclay L. Nathan-Davis, Jesse Kirk, Joe Ball, O.T Anderson, Irwin Crume, Vincent Bodner, Belford Lang, and Hi Robbins.  The administrative assistant was Idella Edgar (a white person) who served from 1955 to 1958.  All of these men and women were highly respected throughout Klamath County.  Dr. Hunt knew many of the above-listed people personally.

Termination procedure and education:
     a.  Information bulletins were sent to every member.
     b.  Many tribal member informational meetings were held.
     c.  Information bulletins explained what the vote would entail.
     d.  Registered letters were sent to every person certifying they received a ballot.

There were 2,133 voting members.  77% of the Klamath Indians chose to sell.  The land was not taken from the Klamath Indians - it was their choice to sell.

Terms of the termination contract:  Klamath Indians retained their right for fishing, hunting, trapping and gathering on 600,000 acres.  The tribe was paid $243 million dollars.  The appraised value of the timber at that time was $91 million dollars.  The approximate value of land and forest in the year 2001 is over $1 billion dollars.

A national forest plan for sustained yield from Winema National Forest was developed by Lawrence Shaw (Modoc Lumber Company), Nelson  Reid, Tom Waters, Senator Wayne Morris, Senator Richard Neuberger, and Oregon Gov. Douglas McKay.

March 1994:  The Economic Self-Sufficiency Committee of the Klamath Tribe developed a Management Plan, which anticipated annual harvest of timber of 54 million board feet, growing to 68 million in future years.

In 1986, the Klamath Tribe was recognized as a sovereign nation by the U.S. government.  They now have their own constitution and tribal laws.

Constitution of the Klamath  Tribes and Amendments dated 11-25-2000: Section II: The sovereign powers, authority and jurisdiction of the Klamath Tribe and its government shall extend to all persons and activities within the territory which formerly constituted the Klamath Reservation and is consistent with Federal Law.

Section III:  The sovereign powers, authority and jurisdiction may extend beyond the geographical boundaries of the Klamath Tribes territorial jurisdiction.

Comment by Dr. Hunt:  The management of the Winema National Forest by the US Forest Service has been very favorable in spite of environmental restrictions.  Thinning of timber and care of natural water resources have been restricted.  The deer herd has been totally destroyed by spotlighting does and bucks at night.

The slogan of the Klamath Indians is: "Heal the land and heal the people."  The land doesn't need healing and belongs to all US taxpayers of all nationalities including Indians.  Very few, if any, Indians eat the sucker fish.  The Klamath Tribe doesn't need healing.  They have been given many millions of dollars by the U.S. government and foundations for education, housing, tribal headquarters, medical care, employment and social services.  The young Klamath Indians have a difficult time finding employment in Klamath County, same as the young people in Klamath Falls, so they have to leave the area.  The tribe employs many competent, professional people. 

The brazen gamble of the Klamath Indians to get a free gift of $1 billion dollar value of land and forest from the U.S. taxpayers is very similar to the Enron rip-off of all its stockholders.

Sources:
1.  Economic self-sufficiency committee of the Klamath Tribes
2.  Constitution of the Klamath Tribes
3.  Carroll B. Howe, historian, Superintendent of Klamath County   Schools, Oregon State Legislator.
4.  Herald and News newspaper
5.  Sustainability strategy of the Klamath Forest by Inter-forest, LLC, Madison, CT

Dr. Calvin L Hunt, M.D.
Klamath Falls, Oregon

 

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