This is Great News but keep up the pressure and send letters to Congress and your Senators!
We will not give up our Rights!
The Modoc Nation does not agree with something that takes away tribal rights. The Klamath tribe was willing to sell off our rights without our permission.
(KBRA) Water bill stalls in Congress
House won’t sign off on the legislation
SB 2379 faces major opposition in the House from the chairman of the House Resources Committee, U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash.
By LACEY JARRELL H&N Staff Reporter
Time is running short for the Klamath Settlements. As of Monday, the water package only has four days to gain federal approval.
According to lawmakers, the chances of that happening are slim.
On Monday, Congress will convene for the last week of the 2014 legislative session. Lawmakers must pass spending legislation by Thursday or risk another government shutdown.
Water stakeholders hoped the Klamath Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act, SB 2379, could be pushed through for presidential approval attached to a year-end spending bill.
“At this point in the lame duck session, however, inclusion in the bill requires the sign off from both the House and Senate negotiators.
“Unfortunately, we have received word from both the Senate negotiators and directly from House members that the House will not sign off on the bill,” said Courtney Warner-Crowell, a spokesperson for Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
In partnership with bill sponsor Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Merkley has worked to build bipartisan support for SB 2379. The legislation, he said, is essential for delivering a win-win resolution to water conflicts in the region.
According to Andrew Malcolm, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., major issues such as the Klamath bill will not be included in the year-end omnibus bill. Malcolm said the bill was already rejected from inclusion in a public lands bill and a tax bill that is moving through Congress.
“House Republican leaders stepped in to block critical Oregon priorities that have received bipartisan support – including the O&C forestry bill and Klamath River Basin restoration agreement. It is my plan to keep pulling out all the stops to move these important bills forward as soon as possible,” Wyden said.
Malcolm noted that SB 2379 faces major opposition in the House from the chairman of the House Resources Committee, U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., and members of the California delegation.
“Based on that, it would be outside the norm for it to be included in a ‘must pass’ year-end bill, like the government funding bill, when it hasn’t passed out of either chamber and when it faces major opposition from some in Congress,” Malcolm said.
In April, Walden suggested that a comprehensive water bill may not make it through the House as a single piece of legislation, particularly if a provision for removing four dams on the Klamath River is included.
According to Klamath Tribes Chairman Don Gentry, who met with Walden Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Walden is holding to that statement.
“My discussion with Congressman Walden indicated he can’t, or he won’t, approve moving that forward. It’s pretty disappointing,” Gentry said.
Gentry said stakeholders have been encouraged by the tide of positive support in recent weeks, especially endorsements coming from the ag community.
In addition to the Klamath Falls City Council and the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce each writing letters to support the bill, the Klamath County Farm Bureau and the Klamath County Cattlemen’s Association have thrown their support behind it.
The Klamath County Commissioners wrote a letter to Walden opposing SB 2379, particularly conditions relating to removing the Klamath River dams.
“The county commissioner opposition is still seen as a pretty significant obstacle,” Gentry said.
Gentry said during his meeting with Walden, he and representatives from other tribes reiterated the crucial role dam removal plays in the settlement.
“I think folks thought somehow that could be removed and things could be pushed through, but that is a key element of what we negotiated to,” Gentry said.
According to Warner-Crowell, Merkley is concerned that lawmakers are about to miss an opportunity essential to the future success of the Klamath Basin.
“Sen. Merkley believes that we should seize this moment and pass this legislation,” Warner-Crowell said. “This opportunity might not come again anytime soon, and failure to implement the agreement could be catastrophic for the region.”
Saturday, August 2, 2014
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 FacebookModocfirstname.lastname@example.org
The Sovereign Rights of Self-Governance and Self-Determination are at Stake in the Klamath Bill
The Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and S. 2379, a bill to implement it, got a quick hearing. Reclamation’s lawyer and several Oregonians testified but no one from California, including The Modoc Nation, was given an opportunity to participate. The Federal government’s role in the KBRA should be alarming to any tribe that prizes the sovereign values of self-governance and self-determination.
The Modoc Tribe, now (Nation) in California is one of the few Indian tribes who legally own water rights that are protected by treaty, Executive Order and federal law.
S. 2379, introduced on May 21 by Senators Wyden, Merkley, Feinstein and Boxer, will effectively bind the United States to abandon its fiduciary duty to protect our fishery from the effects of the Bureau of Reclamation’s management of the Klamath Irrigation project. S. 2379 would authorize this provision in the KBRA:
The United States, acting in its capacity as trustee for the Federally recognized tribes of the Klamath Basin, hereby provides . . . Assurances that it will not assert: (i) tribal water or fishing right theories or tribal trust theories in a manner, or (ii) tribal water or trust rights, whatever they may be, in a manner that will interfere with the diversion . . . of water for the Klamath Reclamation Project.
Our Tribe evaluated the Klamath settlement on the basis of decades-long experience with legal, political, and administrative conflicts that threaten the rivers and fishery we have relied on for thousands of years. We identified policy, fiscal, technical and scientific problems, and proposed solutions. At the conclusion of negotiations, our judgment, exercised in utmost good faith, led us to reject the settlement as too risky to our rights.
That should have been the end of the matter. After all, such decisions are made daily by businesses, every level of government and, yes, Indian tribes. Parties meet, confer, bargain, disagree, and either make a deal or they don’t.
But after being pressured by water users, the United States did not respect our decision by stating “although we recognize The Modoc Nation as descendants of Modoc people, we have to assume that the Klamath Tribe(s) is looking out for your best interest”. Even though as of June 19th 2010 we were no longer with the Klamath Tribe(s). We exercised our rights as a federally recognized tribe and formed our own Government because the Klamath Tribe(s) was not representing our best interest or protecting the Modoc tribes’ rights as you can see with the KBRA & KHSA Agreement. Now Congress and the Secretary of the Interior are gambling with our rights. If their gamble fails, our tribe loses.
At the end of the day, the policies of the Klamath settlement mock the tribal consultation and coordination mandate in Executive Order 13175. In that order the President recognizes the right of Indian tribes to self-government and supports tribal sovereignty and self-determination.
Instead, the Klamath settlement turns the fiduciary duty inherent in Congress’ power over Indian affairs into a bludgeon against tribal rights. The National Congress of American Indians (Resolution No. PSP-09-051) and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (Resolution No. 09-63) have long decried this kind of outcome.
The precedent that S. 2379 represents for tribal rights is an unacceptable and unnecessary price for Indian country to pay. All tribes should tell Congress and the President to reject forced settlements for our tribe or any tribe.
Thank You Hoopa Tribe for your outline of this document and letter to send to the committee of Indian Affairs and Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Chief Jefferson Grey-Wolf Kelley
Chief of The Modoc Nation