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Many came out to hear Basin Alliance in Keno

4/3/04     Notes by KBC (jdk)

Dr Doug Whitsett right, Senate Candidate

Over 40 people came to hear what Basin Alliance (BA) to Save the Winema and Fremont Forests had to say. The group,  formed in late 2003,  oppose the Klamath Tribes being given the public forest lands.

Lyn Bayona, the group's chairman, led the meeting.  First there were brief talks by several candidates for public office in Klamath Fall this year, including  Doug Whitsett for Senate, all voicing their opposition to the forest being taken away from the public and profits from the tribes proposed logging operation and power plant being tax-exempt.

Bayona told how the group began: The public is losing land all over this nation. They are public lands, your lands, but they are being taken incrementally.  We are losing recreation and businesses. Individuals felt they didn't have a voice, so that's why we formed a group. Big enough numbers will have influence on our political leaders. We're known in Washington DC and in Salem and they know they are dealing with the public at large.

"Our opposition from the alliance is based on the myth of termination.  We have Congressional letters--The Termination Act did not apply to them.  Each tribal member (in the 50's) had a vote to keep their land, as did Edison Chiloquin (who did not sell).  1600 votes agreed to sell, and 60 to keep their land." The US government and tax payers money bought this land.  Since 1906, tribal members tried to sell their land.

"We believe that public land should remain free, to hunt, fish, recreate, enjoy, and have use of the timber."

Bayona explained that property values will drop because of limited access.  With sovereign governments, 2 governments can't exist together peacefully.  It's hard to develop land with tribal permits.

There would be a great loss of taxpayer's money.  Property taxes being lowered when home values lower will effect schools, roads and everything.  Timber revenue won't be received for education.

"(According to the tribal constitution) if these lands are turned back to the tribes, they claim all the water that flows through their land, under their land, and over their land." We see this as a start of our problems. And only tribal judges are on their justice panel.

And if this transfer takes place, it's permanent.

There is this major push now all over America for the Tribes to grab land, like casinos, tax free and benefiting only the tribes.

Several people in the audience asked questions and offered stories of what they have seen happen in tribal land acquisitions. There was discussion of how the power companies and Klamath Water Users fit in to this scenario.

For more information about Basin Alliance, and documentation backing their views, go to www.basinalliance.com

For a collection of articles regarding tribal land reacquisition, meetings with the tribes, Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust, Klamath Water Users, Hatfield Committee, and The Nature Conservancy, go toKBC's Talks Page. Also, at the bottom of that page is the complete transcribed tour of the proposed forest acquisition with Klamath Water Users, hosted by the Tribes.





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