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http://www.heraldandnews.com/articles/2003/12/24/viewpoints/letters/letters.txt

The deal was made

I keep seeing headline articles, city-region articles and heaven-knows-how-many letters to the editor concerning the proposed reservation of the Klamath Tribes.

Well, let's consider for a moment: The strong have always overpowered the weak. If you like, you can go back to the Cro-Magnon man, or Rome, or World War II, and, yes, the Tribes as well. It happens in war. It happens in business. It happens in football. And it happens in daily life. So, let's give up this melodramatic idea about how long the Tribes have been here, and how badly they have been mistreated.

I consider myself as much a Native American as any living soul today. I can trace my ancestry, by name, back to 1733. Can they?

As for Native Americans being killed and cheated, I, too, can lay claim to that. One of my ancestors was killed by Native Americans, and my ancestors were cheated out of their ancestral home because someone hornswaggled them.

Well, I want my land back, too. Do you actually think that anyone in his right mind would even consider it? Not on your life.

As I understand the present plan, the Tribes want their land back because the present generation thinks that the past generation got cheated by taking something like $47,000 per person for their land back in 1954. Oh, yes, they could be at peace with themselves, too, because they are part of the land and it would soothe their soul. I fit the same category.

This land became part of the national forest system, which was to be managed in perpetuity for timber, water, fish and wildlife, recreation and range for all citizens.

Admittedly, the Forest Service has done a lousy job in management, but recent environmental pressures have caused the government to be much more sensitive about how it goes about its mandate. Would the reservation have the same environmental controls? No. So just who do the Tribes think they're kidding when they says that it can "heal the land" more effectively?

Let's be fair. I don't stand a prayer of getting my land back because it makes absolutely no difference what my ancestors' state of mind was when they sold it. In a court of law, the agreement was made and it stands. The same should apply to the Tribes regardless of the circumstances.

This land is part of the national forest system. and it belongs to every taxpayer in this country. Like it or not, it is legal and it is fair.

M.A. Siverts

Klamath Falls

 

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