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Oppose land giveaway

Herald and News letter to the editor 2/23/05

The issue of restoring a reservation has been in the news for a couple of years now. The January article that quoted Allan Foreman on several items seemed to lean toward the restoration of a reservation being a done deal with the Indians fine-tuning how they are going to enforce the laws (tribal), administer the land and other things.

G.M. Howard's guest column Feb. 14, pointed out some important issues. This in not just an Oregon issue. That is national forest land, therefore the issue affects all citizens of every part of the United States.

The Indians indicated they were bilked out of the land because they thought they were selling only the timber.

Howard points out information from the Klamath Tribe's own archived meetings and quotes the Federal Register that shows that of 2,331 tribal members, 1,659 voted to sell, 80 voted to stay and 394 did not vote. It seems to me that a clear majority chose to sell, the sale was complete and the tribe was paid for its land. I fail to see what was wrong with this transaction or why it should justify giving the land back.

There are other questions I have about tribal interests:

n Do tribal members receive medical assistance at tribal clinics? If they do, who is paying the bill?

n Does the tribe have tribal buildings, such as a cultural center, clinic and meeting hall ? If so, who paid for the construction?

n Do Indians live in federally funded or subsidized housing?

n Was the Kla-Mo-Ya Casino financed by Indian money or federal money? If federal, is there a repayment plan?

I believe these are valid questions that deserve an answer. After all, the Indians are asking for nearly three quarters of a million acres some of the most beautiful public land in the western United States.

As a taxpayer and user of public lands, I am very opposed to giving back what was purchased.

I encourage everyone who enjoys using the public land their tax dollar entitles them to use to write to their federal representatives and object to this major giveaway.

Derrick Kleiman






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