Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Alan Foreman, Tribal Chairman: We are going to start this meeting as we do all our tribal meetings, and I would like to ask Joe Hobbs to do an invocation for us to start.
Joe Hobbs, Tribal Member: Okay, first of all, I would just like to welcome you all in the name of the tribes and thank you for being here. Lets bow our heads to the Lord in prayer. "Dear Lord, we just come before you this day with thanksgiving in our hearts Lord, and Lord, we look to you this day to lead and guide us throughout this tour that we go upon, Lord God, and we pray that you would just bring us together Lord, more and more Lord, as we need to come together in this basin to be able to fulfill all the needs that need to be met. Lord, you told us in your word that the threefold cord is not easily broken. I pray that you would bind us together such as that, we ask it all in that precious son by the name of Jesus. Amen."
Foreman: People are still signing in; it will be just a second. Going to open it and have some opening remarks by other folks, but I'll go ahead and start it, and then we'll have Dan and Becky do their opening remarks, and I need the commissioners if they like to, and anyone else that would like to. On behalf of the Klamath Tribes, I want to sincerely thank each and everyone of you for coming today. I know that it is a busy time of year for a lot of you folks and everything, and you're taking time out of your schedules to come, so I certainly appreciate that. What we have got planned for you today is kind of an over view of who we are as the Klamath People, and what we're about. We hope to give you a glimpse into our world, so that each and everyone of you might understand the tribes and the tribal people better. But, I think more importantly, we really hope, or at least I do, anybody to reconnect the broken lines between us. We have a lot of older tribal members in here, and like many of the older tribal members, we remember back in the '60s and "70s that we had a lot of friends that lived in Tulelake and Merrill and Malin area, and we did a lot of things together and did a lot of things just like the recent Grand Marshall of the Tulelake Fair. She was a very personal and close friend and likewise with her husband, and we had a lot of friends down in that area that we did a lot of things with. I remember particularly attending their children's wedding down there. And, there are others throughout the area. There was a connection between the tribal members and non-tribal members, and there certainly was a connection the upper basin and the lower basin. It is my hope that these series of tours that we are taking and the interaction that accompanies them will help bring that connection back together. Again, it is my hope that we can bring the view of the world together as a community, not just upper basin and lower basin, tribe and non-tribe. I think that is real important. All of this really doesn't mean, you know, that we'll be able to solve all our problems, but it means that we will be able to gain a better understanding of those problems and see things from each other's viewpoint. What we hope that you all will see today during our presentation and our tour, is that we, like each of you, are concerned about the future here in the basin and concerned about the future for our children. Our way of life that we cherish so dearly, just like yours, is threatened. We also hope that you see that we truly care about the land and our resources, just as we have seen and know that you do as well. Those of you who have moved to the Klamath Basin within , lets say, the last 3 decades must understand that when you arrived in the Basin, and particular the Basin above the lake and the Upper Basin, you arrived in a condition that wasn't fully the way it should be. You arrived as an already degraded condition above the lake here. Those of you who have been here longer, I think understand and know really what I am talking about, and you know that there can be some serious improvements in this area here, and so with that, I would like Dan or Becky or Steve, if you would like to make some opening remarks.
Steve West, Klamath County Commissioner: I just want to thank the Tribe and Chairman Foreman, thanks so much for inviting us here to this wonderful facility, and I am greatly encouraged. I think that as a community we are starting to concentrate more and more on the things that we agree on and less and less on the things that we have disagreement on. I am pretty simple minded. I think that as we concentrate on those ones that we agree on, that the points that we disagree on will become smaller and less important. So, I just greatly appreciate the opportunity to visit today and learn some new things and just really appreciate what I see as a real improvement in communication between everybody here in the Basin, and I think that comes from leadership. I think that comes from leadership of the ag community. I think it comes from leadership of the tribal community, and I look forward to the day that we are 1 community, and I think that we are getting closer and closer to that. So, thanks so much for hosting us today.
Dan Keppen, Klamath Water Users Executive Director: I am Dan Keppen from the Klamath Water User's Association, and I want to thank you all for hosting us today, and I am really looking forward to this. I guess what I see is to try and keep us all together here, what drives our involvement right now, is we are a community. I think there are a lot of myths out there that somehow the Bush Administration or the political types are going to take care of our problem, but the solution is going to have to come from our community. This is our community, and frankly I'm tired of outside interests splitting us up, and I think what I would like to see as far as our involvement from the water user's standpoint, is our community to remain intact. Not to just remain intact but actually get healthier. We want to see young farmers wanting to stay in the Basin. There are not enough young folks out there, and what we are looking for is certainty, and that is what we need to keep our community whole, and I really think we've got a much more common ground working together than we have differences, and that is why we are spending the time that we are and the discussions that we have been having. I know that Allen and Jeff and myself and other people that have been involved in these discussions, we are taking some hits. Some people don't want us to be talking but that is just ridiculous. I think we just have to try to take the high road and work together because there is no way around it. We are the ones who are going to have to come up with a solution, and to get there, we have to have a better understanding of each other's issues, and that is why I think today is really important. I really appreciated the participation we had from the tribes on the tour that we gave a couple of weeks ago, and I am pleased to see this great turnout by the irrigation community here today too. So, lets just continue to do what we are trying to do and remember this is all our community, and it is going to have to be a solution that comes from us. Thanks.
Becky Hyde, Upper Basin family: I just want to welcome everybody here today as well. I think if we keep meeting like this, I am going to have to start smoking and drinking a lot just to handle the stress. I think that there is 1 thing that this whole room can agree on and that is that the ONRC is not going to run our communities. Applause. I think we need to make a real effort. Today, I see we get tribal people sitting over here and irrigators sitting over here and you know, when we get going today, let's try to mix it up a little bit. Let's try to hear each other out. I mean, we are talking about serious stuff here, and I think about how I knock my little kid's heads together all the time and tell them to share. Maybe we ought to model that in this community. I think everybody who is doing this, like Dan said, we're taking a big risk. I know I'm personally taking a big risk in my community, but I think we need to be careful about people threatening us not to meet with each other and try to work this out. So we either work it out now in this process, or we work it out 5 years from now by us trying to work it out, or we work it out 10 years from now. Unless we try to work it out together, it is just going to keep lingering on, and we can keep throwing these lawsuits at each other until we all go broke. Anyway, here we go.
Foreman: Thank you Becky, and I certainly do appreciate the remarks. What we have got laid out basically for you this morning, we have got a presentation in here, and then we will go on the tour, and we have got a real good lunch set up for you at Beatty. So, anyway, we will go ahead and get into our presentation, and if somebody could at least turn the back lights out, and we will try to use some of this modern technology that we all struggle with. What I want to do, and some of you may be aware of this information that I am going to go through, but I think it is important to make sure that at least everybody is aware of it and is on the same page, so I am going to go through some just brief historical information, and then we'll have presentations by our forester and wildlife biologist and fishery biologist afterwards. Again, there is coffee and donuts available. The restrooms are around the corner and down the hall if you need them.
Page Updated: Thursday May 26, 2011 03:18 AM Pacific
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