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Threats (by Klamath tribal members) delay tribal meeting
By LACEY JARRELL Herald and News 5/16/14
Threats of physical harm, intimidation and harassment lodged against Klamath Tribes officials have forced a tribal council meeting scheduled for Saturday to be postponed.
“We are taking the threats seriously. We need to take appropriate action to make sure members are protected,” said Klamath Tribes Chairman Don Gentry.
According to a press release, some Klamath Tribes members have been campaigning to organize a hostile takeover of the meeting. Threats included chaining and padlocking doors to force the Tribal Council and meeting attendees to remove Gentry from the council and to overturn the results of a recent referendum vote.
The referendum vote under attack was certified by the Klamath Tribes election board as in-favor of a water settlement, known as the Proposed Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement, between the Tribes and upper Basin irrigators.
The referendum was certified April 9, the day mail-in ballots were due, in accordance with the Tribes’ referendum procedures, Gentry told the Herald and News.
Actions planned during the takeover are a violation of the Constitution of the Klamath, the release said.
Taylor Tupper, the Klamath Tribes public information officer, said tribal officials have known for weeks that allegations about the referendum vote’s validity have been spread through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, a photo messaging application for smartphones.
Tupper said tribal officials are working with police, but she declined to elaborate further.
Chairman Gentry called Saturday’s meeting agenda “benign.” The council was scheduled to discuss the Tribes’ economic development plan, tribal motions and minutes, and present committee updates, he said.
He said council members have listened to members’ concerns about the referendum vote in several council meetings; however, “It is our responsibility to uphold the rights of the full 4,400 members, not just a select few,” he said.
The vote passed when 564 Tribal members voted yes, in favor of the agreement, and 419 voted no.
The tribal council meeting has been rescheduled to 10 a.m., Saturday, May 31, the release said. According to Tupper, the meeting will be at the Klamath Tribes administration building, 501 Chiloquin Blvd., in Chiloquin if security measures are in place to ensure the safety of council members and attending tribal members.
“The tribe is optimistic that we can move forward in a progressive manner, in a way that is safe and benefits not only the tribe, but the entire community,” Tupper said. “We’re not willing to jeopardize anyone’s safety.”
Contact Lacey Jarrell by email or follow her on Twitter @LMJatHandN.
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