Saturday, December 5, 2015

Press release from The Modoc Nation:

The draft legislation from U.S. Representative Greg Walden of Oregon to address Klamath water issues was finally revealed yesterday.  The draft bill fails to provide for dam removals, which is the key component of a long-term fisheries restoration strategy. In addition, it includes a transfer of significant land acreage from federal to county control that would harm fisheries resources in the Klamath Basin.   It would also appear to force tribes to relinquish their Rights to ever hold the Federal Government Liable for anything in the future.  It would seem to be yet another attempt to force through an agreement that should have never been written to begin with.  (KBRA & KHSA)

The Modoc Nation opposes this draft legislation or any up to this point.

“The Modoc Nation cannot support any legislation that does not improve conditions on the Klamath River,” said Chief Jefferson Greywolf-Kelley, Chief of The Modoc Nation. “This bill continues to skirt the main issues and take away Tribal Rights”.  

The Modoc Nation vehemently opposes this new legislation or any prior, as should anyone interested in the long-term health of the Klamath River. The Modoc Nation is committed to restoring the river without giving up our long fought for and upheld Rights.


Friday, June 5, 2015

Klamath Tribe contributing to Our Genocide!

Although we are our own separate Nation now, we fear that that the Deal that the Klamath's are trying to make with the Government will also have an effect on us.... Although we have made it abundantly clear we do not Agree with the KBRA & KHSA (S. 133) and we will not give up our Rights Ever! We ask that you continue to send letters and make calls on this situation. No Tribe should be forced to give up their Rights and that is what the Government is trying to do to us. We consider this another form of Genocide as they have continued to group us in with the Klamath's and we are not Klamath nor were we ever. WE ARE MODOC!  
By enrolling Modoc's as Klamath and not Modoc this is a form of Cultural Genocide, by stating that the Klamath's, Modoc's and Yahooskins are one tribe is yet another. We have always been Modoc not of or part of but Modoc.  I can go on and on but hopefully you get the idea.

Subject: Fwd: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- Dissenting Tribal Voices Locked Out of Klamath Land Transfer Discussion
In case you missed it, please see the press release below about disputes and disagreements within the Klamath Tribes' membership.
It is curious (but not surprising) that a deal which once claimed to bring Klamath River Basin residents together in harmony has actually created or enhanced deep divisions within our communities.
KBRA Deal promoters also claimed that no tribal water rights would be sacrificed. The recent Upper Basin Agreement put the lie to that claim. If Congress authorizes the KBRA, the Klamath Tribes will relinquish their claim to flows for salmon and other fish in the Klamath River below Upper Klamath Lake. That right is to the amount of water sufficient to restore tribal salmon and other fisheries. It is the last best hope for Klamath River Salmon. If that right is lost Klamath River flows will be limited to the amount needed to prevent "jeopardy" to ESA listed Coho salmon. Those are the flows which right now are killing most of the juvenile salmon trying to reach the Pacific Ocean.
The Federal Government wants us to believe that funding for "restoration" projects can restore our fish even if the River is starved of water. That is a lie and a hoax; we need BOTH restoration and adequate river flows in order to restore our salmon to abundance.
Felice Pace
Klamath, CA 95548

Media Contact- Willa Powless: (307)-757-7970
Kayla Godowa: (541)-735-1793
Dissenting Tribal Voices Locked Out of Klamath Land Transfer Discussion
Despite Years of Inaction and Major Revisions, Klamath Tribes Chairman Refuses to Revisit Water Agreement
Chiloquin, Ore -- Klamath Tribes Chairman Don Gentry released a letter to Klamath Tribes members June 3rd stating that, despite substantial changes to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA), the General Council who is the governing body of the Klamath Tribes, would not be given any opportunity to revisit or revise its position. The KBRA was approved with only approximately 20% participation from voting tribal members, and support for the agreement has declined significantly since the last vote in 2014. The loss of the Mazama Forest, outlined in the original KBRA, has been seen as an opportunity to revisit the tribe’s involvement in the KBRA.
On February 28th, 2015 Klamath Tribal members unanimously passed resolutions 2015-003 directing and authorizing Tribal Chairman Don Gentry to immediately provide proper Notice of Impending Failure to all other KBRA parties, and resolution 2015-004 authorizing and directing the tribal chairman to immediately serve proper Dispute Initiation Notice (DIN) to all parties of the KBRA.
In Chairman Gentry’s letter Gentry stated that the resolution 2015-003 required “that the Klamath Tribes receive a benefit similar in nature to and not of less value than”. However this phrase is quoted from the whereas section. A whereas is a preamble in a resolution and is nothing more than simple background information or a statement of facts, and explains the logic of the resolved. The resolved is the directive. Klamath Tribal members have not authorized any cures to land acquisition or amendments to the KBRA.
Tribal members desire land acquisition but not at the mercy of the KBRA. Draft land legislation leaves many questions unanswered.
“This has not been a transparent, democratic process,” said Willa Powless of Honor the Treaty of 1864, a group of Klamath Tribal members focused on protecting tribal resources and rights. “Tribal members have been asking questions about this new deal, such as what would the priority date for the water right be on a new parcel, how do the tribes plan to manage this potential replacement parcel, and what other obligations or restrictions are already placed on the land? Tribal Council has refused to answer any questions.”
Honor the Treaty of 1864 has been particularly concerned about new reports of sick and infected fish in the Klamath Basin. Through KBRA negotiations, Klamath Tribes have relinquished the right to make a water call for salmon and this leaves many questions about an agreement that claims to restore fish.
“Water is essential to our culture as Klamath, Modoc, Yahooskin people,” said Rowena Jackson, Klamath Tribal member. “We are taught it is the foundation of all life. And without our sacred water our culture cannot survive.”
A common misconception in the public is that all the Klamath River tribes support the KBRA. However, the public is not aware that the political turmoil of the KBRA has been destructive to tribal members, igniting disputes that have created tribal divisions, split families, and ended life-long friendships.
While tribal members support dam removal and protecting fish, many do not believe the KBRA adequately represents these aspects that are vital to Klamath, Modoc, Yahooskin culture and spirituality. These tribal members believe that the bargained for benefits within the KBRA can be achieved without having to relinquish tribal rights and advocate for withdrawal from the KBRA.
Honor the Treaty of 1864 firmly believes that the tribe should retain and exercise senior water rights.
Honor the Treaty of 1864 works actively to protect water, fish and wildlife and to bring awareness to their current threats and seeks solutions to ensure their survival.
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Monday, January 12, 2015

You're an Indian? What Part?

You're an Indian? What part?"

That's the universal question many mixed-blood American Indians are asked every day. How many times have you mentioned in passing that you are (insert your tribe) to find your conversation interrupted by intrusive questions about percentage? How many times have you answered those questions? Well stop! That's right -- stop answering rude questions.

Have you ever been talking to someone who mentioned that they were part Hispanic, part African-American, part Jewish, part Italian, part Korean, etc.? Have you ever asked them what percentage? Hopefully your answer is no, because if your answer is yes, then you're rude. It would be rude to ask someone what part Hispanic they are, but we accept that people can ask us what part (your tribe) we are. This is a double standard brought about by our collective history as American Indians, and is one we should no longer tolerate.

The history of blood quantum begins with the Indian rolls and is a concept introduced to American Indians by white culture. Throughout early Native history, blood never really played a factor in determining who was or was not included in a tribe. Many American Indian tribes practiced adoption, a process whereby non-tribal members would be adopted into the tribe and over time become fully functioning members of the group. Adoption was occasionally preceded by capture. Many tribes would capture members of neighboring tribes, white settlers, or members of enemy tribes. These captives would replace members of the tribe who had died. They would often be bestowed with some of the same prestige and duties of the person they were replacing. While the transformation from captive to tribal member was often a long and difficult one, the captive would eventually become an accepted member of the tribe. The fact that the adoptee was sometimes of a different ethnic origin was of little importance to the tribe.

It wasn't until the federal government became involved in Indian government that quantum became an issue. One of the attributes collected on a person signing one of the many Indian rolls was their quantum. However, this was highly subjective as it was simply a question that the roll takers would allow the people to answer for themselves.  Kind of a stupid question back then because any tribal person would say” full “meaning yes I’m a full member of my tribe.   They would not understand how a person could be only part of a tribe.  It’s a known fact that some quantum’s are recorded incorrectly.  A case of two blood sister’s was listed with generationally different quanta even though they were sisters with the same mother and father and have the exact same quantum.

In this day and age, however, quantum is heavily relied upon for determining eligibility for tribal recognition. In order to become a registered citizen of any federally recognized tribe you must first get a CDIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood). This CDIB is issued by the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) and simply states that the United States government certifies that you have a specified degree of Indian blood and are eligible to be a member of a given federally recognized tribe. Once you have a CDIB you can become a recognized citizen of that tribe.

In addition, many Indian tribes include their own quantum restrictions for citizenship. Some have ¼ some have 1/8 others have no restrictions; you need to only prove that you are an Ancestral Descendant.

Many tribes today only have ¼ or less of that tribe’s blood by all members, some might be more by being mixed from other tribes and some might be less.

When considering these numbers it is important to remember that most tribes were in direct contact with white settlers very early in American history.  Many prominent families include intermarried whites as far back as the colonial period -- prior to the American Revolution. As you can imagine, with over two hundred years of intermarriage, many tribes today have some very confusing fractions to spit out every time someone asks, "What part Indian are you?"

But why do we, as tribes or individuals, think that a number is sufficient in proving our heritage? Blood quantum is just that -- a number -- a sterile, inhuman way of calculating authenticity. When a person asks, "What part (insert your tribe) are you?" they are trying to quantify your authenticity. If the answer given is a small percentage or an incomprehensible fraction, the answer's heritage is called into question. Why? Does the fact that my ancestor Granny Hopper married a Scottish trader take away from the fact that Granny Hopper will forever be my great, great grandma? No, it just means that one of my other great, great, great grandmas had a really neat Scottish accent.

We are not Gregor Mendel's cross-pollinated pea plants; we are people. Our ethnicity and cultural identity is tied to our collective and ancestral history, our upbringing, our involvement with our tribe and community, our experiences, memories and self-identity. To measure our "Indianness" by a number is to completely eliminate the human element. And to allow others to judge us based on that number is to continue a harmful trend.  This is what is called Genocide by ruling out who you are; soon you will become nothing in the eyes of the Government.

Next time someone asks you what part (your tribe) you are, tell them it's irrelevant. If you're braver than me, challenge them by explaining that they are asking a rude question. Because in the end, the answer doesn't matter. You're a whole person, not the sum of your "parts." If any "part" of you is (your tribe), then you are Native Period.   I personally am going to start saying “Enough”.

Author’s unknown