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Published April 15, 2004

Tribes sought termination

The treaty with the Klamath, and so on, in 1864, is the original treaty between the Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin Snake Indians and the United States government. Nowhere in it does it say anything about "as long as the grass grows, as long as the river flows, this land is yours."

That came from the movie "Little Big Man," which may have taken it from a treaty with some other tribe.

Nor does the Treaty of 1864 or the so-called "Termination Act" mention hunting rights. They mention fishing and gathering - not a word about hunting.

Hunting rights were given to the Klamath Tribes by judicial fiat about 1979 and later by the Restoration Act, which restored a right that previously did not exist in law.

I find it unlikely the failure to mention hunting rights was an oversight. Hunting was far too important in those days. Both Indian and non-lndian hunted in those days, and it was that year-round hunting that had severely depleted big-game populations by the turn of the 20th century. It was modern game management and the opening up of the forest by logging that brought the game populations back.

Spotlighting by non-lndians is illegal. Spotlighting and year-round hunting by tribal members is giving them a right superior to other U.S. citizens. In my estimation, that is unconstitutional.

Spotlighting by anyone is dangerous, shows a lack of respect for the game and is a detriment to big-game populations. Spotlighting by anyone should be abolished. I would be ashamed if I had to use a spotlight to hunt big game.

As far as the National Forest land goes, it now belongs to all U.S. citizens. To again set it aside as a reservation is to grant special status to one group of citizens over another. That, in addition to casino gambling and "subsistence hunting."

Since the Klamath Tribes, (or factions within the Tribes) had been trying to sell the reservation since 1915, it seems the Termination Act was an example of the old adage, "Be careful what you ask for because you might get it."

If you have computer access and a search engine, you can read these three laws for yourself. They are written in plain English.

S.P. Rapalyea






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