July, 28th 2014
Honorable Jon Tester, Chairman
Honorable John Barrasso, Vice Chairman
Committee on Indian Affairs
United States Senate
838 Hart Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Honorable Mary L. Landrieu, Chair
Honorable Lisa Murkowski, Ranking Member, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
United States Senate
304 Dirksen Building
Washington, DC 20510
Re: Tribal rights and trust resources at risk in S. 2379 (Klamath Basin Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act of 2014)
Dear Senators Landrieu, Murkowski, Tester and Barrasso:
The Modoc Nation (formerly known as the “Modoc Tribe”), a federally recognized native nation by virtue of the Lakes Treaty of 1864 and the Klamath Tribe Restoration Act of 1986, hereby submits the following issues and comments that we would to like make regarding S. 2379
S. 2379 contains language that is of great concern to our Tribe because it allows the United States to take unilateral action to abandon its treaty and trust obligations without tribal consent. Following the devastating effects of the Dawes Act in 1887 and Termination Era of the 1950s, the United States declared that the practice of exercising absolute plenary power against the interests of Tribes Native people should forever be removed as an acceptable policy because of the dishonor that it brings to the Nation. Yet, it has once again resurfaced in S. 2379 by proposing to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to unilaterally abandon its obligation to enforce treaty and trust obligations to affected tribes that result from the Department of the Interior’s own actions. We ask that you formally reject this attempt to undermine United States trust obligations to tribes by opposing enactment of S.2379, or any other legislation that contains this already rejected bad Indian policy.
It is reported that a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee was conducted on June 3, 2014, with little notice and without providing an opportunity for affected tribes to present testimony. This demonstrates a complete lack of respect by the Committee to Indian tribes, as well as a willingness to use backroom politics and improper manipulation of the legislative process as tactics to move legislation that is adverse to Indian tribes.
The National Congress of American Indians, by Resolution PSP-09-051, and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, by Resolution 09-63, has opposed any legislation that would terminate or subordinate the rights of any Indian tribe without their consent. We ask that you reaffirm your commitment to protect the United States’ trust obligations to tribes and Native people by opposing the passage of S. 2379.
Although we have exercised our rights to sovereignty and self-determination as a federally recognized tribe to protect our rights to be a Tribe by ratifying and adopting our own Constitution forming our own Government on June 19th 2010; We have not forfeited our Federal Recognition nor given up any rights and still wish Government to Government Relations with The Federal Government of The United States. Our rights, homelands, distinct culture, beliefs, protection, and well-being was not being represented or protected within the Klamath Tribes.
We will also soon have an address in California too since we have also purchased land for our Nation in California.
Chief Jefferson Greywolf-Kelley
Chief of The Modoc Nation
P.O. Box 506
Independence, Oregon 97351
The Modoc Nation
The Modoc Nation on FacebookModocemail@example.com