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Strategies for civil disobedience the topic of workshop

July 30, 2008

By Nicholas Grube

Triplicate staff writer

Activists fighting to remove hydroelectric dams along the Klamath River and restore the waterway will host a civil disobedience workshop today in Hoopa.

Event organizers say the goal of the workshop is to empower local people with the tools necessary to protest peacefully in the mold of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

"The real focus is on nonviolent strategies for affecting change," said S. Craig Tucker, who is the Klamath Campaign coordinator for the Karuk Tribe.

The Indigenous Peoples' Power Project (IP3) will be involved in helping to train attendees and give strategies to hold demonstrations and protests.

"What they do is they talk a little bit about the history of social movements and political change," Tucker said. "The idea of getting IP3 involved is to try to start thinking outside the box to get more creative and to see how to effect change."

In May, when a group of local American Indians, fishermen and conservationists traveled to Omaha, Neb., to protest relicensing the Klamath dams at billionaire Warren Buffett's annual Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders meeting, IP3 was behind the scenes.

"They're the ones that helped us and supported us in Omaha," said Georgiana Myers, the outreach specialist for the Klamath Justice Coalition that is organizing today's workshops. "They've been a supporting role for us pre-Omaha and post-Omaha."

Myers said IP3—which is a tangent of the Ruckus Society in Oakland that provides tools for training activists—helped train people who went to Buffett's shareholder meeting to pressure him to remove PacifiCorp's dams that are on the upper Klamath River. Buffet owns Berkshire Hathaway which owns much of the MidAmerican Energy Holding Company that owns PacifiCorp.

The hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River restrict hundreds of miles of salmon spawning habitat and contribute to the growth of toxic blue-green algae that floats downstream and can be harmful to the river system and people, Myers said.

"The Klamath dams are killing people, they're killing jobs, they're killing communities and they're killing salmon," Myers said. "We would like that risk and that health risk to be eliminated."

No agreement has been made to remove the dams.

While today's workshop will focus mainly on the Klamath dams, Tucker said anyone with an interest in activism is invited to attend.

"That's sort of the featured campaign," Tucker said of the Klamath dam removal. "But it's a skill set that can applied to a lot of causes."

The training workshop starts at 6 p.m. tonight at the Hoopa Youth Center.

Reach Nicholas Grube at ngrube@triplicate.com.

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