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"Don't give the forest back to the Indians!"
and "We want representation!"
a complete transcript from video of concerns from today's protest, by KBC
see NEGOTIATIONS page for articles and tours and more information
 

12/1/03, KBC   Don't give the forest back to the Indians, and "We want representation".  That was the plea of over 50 protestors outside the Shilo Inn today as meetings in the Shilo Inn proceed between a small select group of irrigators, Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust (KBRT), the Department of the Interior (DOI) Bill Bettenberg, and the Klamath Tribes. Most of the passersby were beeping and waving and shouting appreciation for the protestor's message.

The irrigators want certainty in their irrigation water, the Tribes want 690,000 acres of National Forest that they sold twice, KBRT offers to rent water from Upper Basin irrigators with federal money, and the DOI wants a solution. However, besides giving up public land and downsizing agriculture, residents aren't quite sure how the community might benefit.  The public, even the town of Chiloquin where many Klamath Indians live, is pessimistic about effects of the proposed tribal acquisition.

The following are complete quotes from some concerned Klamath Basin citizens.  Their messages speak for themselves:

"I live out by Sprague River, Oregon.  I would like Bill Bettenberg (from the DOI) from Washington to meet with us in public, and not have any more secret meetings.  There's an awful lot that needs to be discussed.  I do not want to give the forest back."

I'm John Singer and I'm from Sprague River.  I feel that these secret meetings that they're having here are not what the people really want.  There's a lot of issues here.  They voted the to sell the land and now they want the government to give it back to them.  It's just wrong.  That's just my opinion.  I don't understand why we're having these negotiations to start with.  The land's been sold; it belongs to the people.  This is all special interests as far as I'm concerned."
 

"Most people know me as Snoring  Bear.  I do a radio program here in the basin which can be heard Tuesdays and Thursdays, usually in the morning between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. depending on the network and it's once again at 11:30 the last 1/2 hour of Rush's show, and then at 4:30 for Mike Reagan on Tuesdays and Thursdays (on KAGO)."


Snoring Bear and Dr Calvin Hunt

What we've got here is, we're a group of people that primarily are protesting the secrecy of the meetings that are taking place, the secrecy with which they are using these meetings because nobody will talk to us.  We have no voice.  We have no way of getting in and finding out what's going on.  And of course, the other thing is, like some of these signs say here, we owe the tribes nothing, and right now they're looking to gain back their reservation lands which are public forest lands which we purchased and paid for.  We have the paperwork and the documentation to probe that, incidentally.  We're absolutely totally irreversibly opposed to them regaining that forest land back.  That's what we're doing here today.  We're trying to get a voice.  We're trying to get people to support us, and become better known in the community so that more and more people can come onboard.  I really am depending a lot on outside information on the Rangeland Trust because I don't know very much about them.  I do know that they are not our friends in this thing, and I do know there's some highly suspicious people in it whose ideals and motives don't necessarily lend themselves to our best interests.  Really that's all I can say about them at this point until I learn  personally more what is involved.  You have to understand, I became involved in this originally as a person who is upset about the land going back to the Indians.   I'm a recreationalist, a hunter, a camper, and I know an awfully lot of people who live out in that forest and that's the side I came from .  Until I came onboard on this thing, I didn't know there was such a thing as a Rangeland Trust, so I'm learning about it as we go. But I'm learning they are not our friends."

A woman speaks,  "Public lands are public lands.  They're for the community and not for specifically one group of people.  So we should all get along and try and share this.  We're being kept out of meetings and we're not being represented.  What we'd like to be is represented."

Student, "I'm skipping school so I can protest to try to keep my land."

'Stop the Forest Give Away' sign, "I'm just a local resident that thinks the forest should belong to the public people and not any private individuals."

"I'm Fred Klas.  I live on former reservation land north of Sprague River.  The tribe really doesn't have any more claim on the reservation than I do.  It belongs to all the citizens, not just 3500  people.  Currently my partner and I are developing 160 acres of agricultural land that was going to be an equestrian facility depending on access to National Forest land.  It's going to be our retirement.  If the tribe gets the forest back, there's a good chance that our retirement is down the tube, and our investment and the local economy means nothing, so it effects me directly."

 

Ed Bartell, "We're all concerned that we feel it's just a few people that's in discussion these issues and they're issues that will effect the whole community and the water and the whole basin, particularly in the Sprague River valley where I'm from.  We're not been invited to those discussions or our organizations that represent people up there.  So we're very concerned about what's taking place and we wanted to come out and have our voice heard."

 

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