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Basin Alliance to Save the Winema and Fremont Forests came to Tulelake

KBC (jdk) 2/26/04

Why are these folks in Tulelake? What do they want? How does the Tribal reacquisition of 690,000 acres of Oregon's public forest effect our rural community?

Around 30 people came to hear what the Basin Alliance board had to say last night.

Lynn Bayona, president of the group, explained who they are.  They are a group representing thousands, and growing, of people who do not want the Klamath Tribe to be given any of the publicly-owned National Forest. Bayona said how they formed Basin Alliance last fall so that everyone could have a voice. 

He said that the government bought and paid for the forest lands. Everyone had a vote.  It is now everyone's public forest, and it should belong to everyone, not just one race of people. "It's not a racial issue; we'd feel the same if it were the Baptist Church wanting to be given this land. It's public land that belongs to the Tribes and us and everyone."

With documentation backing their every word, members of the told how this would effect our water, even in Tulelake.  Bayona felt that the effect on our economy would be at least as bad as 2001 since it would diminish our tax base. Regarding logging, there was concern that it would only involve tribal people because they said the tribes hire with a racial preference often for jobs advertised in the newspaper.

In the Tribal Constitution it tells how they would have all the water that runs through the reservation.  They also have documented other areas that gained reservation land and are now suing for water from neighboring domestic wells, as they have claimed, not only surface water but also the aquifer.

One board member told how she lives within the proposed reservation. She has tried to get two different companies to upgrade their private road through this forest land. Neither would do the work because the tribes said there would be an extensive permit process and they did not want to go through that much red tape.

They told about Tribal Chairman Allen Foreman's statements saying that neighbors would not be effected, there would be public access, and the same hunting practices.  However, from the notes of a tribal meeting in Oregon recently, the Tribes had voted that most of them would want limited public access and hunting, and they wanted even more land. Then more histories of other places told how the neighboring areas had been restricted. And they are already forming their tribal courts.  People outside that race may not sue or bring charges against their 'nation'.

Bayona stated that their 'self sufficiency' means that the government would give then 9 1/2 million dollars the first year. It was also brought up that in a magazine 'Indian Country', Alan Foreman says that the Klamath Tribes are "setting a  precedent for decades to come."

For contact information, petitions, Tribal Constitution, and news, go to Basin Alliance website.

Also, see KBC's TALKS PAGE for related articles and complete transcript of the Tribes' forest plans and discussions.






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