Malibu Chumash Village to Host Klamath
Local Groups Join Ranks with Organizations Seeking Removal of
by Anne Soble 7/24/2008 Malabu Surfside News
The activist group Ventura Coastkeeper is hosting a fundraiser on
Saturday at the Nicholas Canyon County Park Chumash village to
support a sister environmental organization’s fight to remove four
dams and restore one of the state’s great rivers, the Klamath.
According to the event’s organizers, “At stake are the traditional
cultures of California’s three largest Native American tribes as
well as the state’s commercial and sport salmon fisheries.”
Mati Waiya, who is the head of Ventura Coastkeeper and a member of
the Chumash tribe in the area, has spearheaded local cooperation
with Klamath Riverkeeper.
Waiya says, “It’s important that we support one another’s
struggles because all things and all struggles for justice are
He adds that is why he is working with the international
Waterkeeper Alliance to launch a Tribal Waterkeepers program.
Klamath Riverkeeper’s objective is to convince PacifiCorp, which
is overseen by Warren Buffet, to remove four dams on the Klamath
River that have reportedly led to dramatic declines in the salmon
population, as well as massive blooms of toxic blue green algae.
According to Klamath Riverkeeper’s Regina Chichizola, “Buffet’s
PacifiCorp is creating an ecological disaster and native people
and commercial salmon fishermen are paying the price.”
Chichizola says this weekend’s event is important to help fund the
group’s actions on “this critical concern, “Funds raised will help
the Klamath Riverkeeper and the Karuk tribes’ actions to solve the
Klamath crisis,” she said.
Recently, Klamath Riverkeeper, along with members of the Karuk,
Yurok, and Hoopa tribes, disrupted Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway
shareholders’ meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, in an attempt to draw
national attention to what is happening.
According to Chichizola, PacifiCorp is owned by Mid-American
Energy, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway ,and Buffett is
president and majority shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway.
Chichizola says, “We want Buffett and PacifiCorp to know that as
long as there is no business as usual for salmon fisherman on the
Klamath, there will be no business as usual for them either.”
The groups hope that additional political and economic pressure
will come from environmentalists who do not want to see the river
The event that will be held at Wishtoyo Foundation’s Chumash
Village at Nicholas Canyon County Park will feature traditional
songs and regalia from the local Chumash community and the Ohlone
dancers, as well as performers from the Klamath River tribes.
Organizers say the highlight of the evening will be a dinner of
traditional fire-roasted Klamath salmon.
“Once you have a taste of what could be lost, you quickly become a
supporter of our struggle,” said Leaf Hillman of the Karuk Tribe.
The groups taking part in the event hope to raise $75,000 to
support their campaign efforts, including the cost of experts to
assist with a nuisance lawsuit against Buffett’s PacifiCorp that
is now headed to trial.
The July 26 event is set for 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the site that
features a reconstruction of a Chumash village and a spectacular
view of the waters the Chumash people once traversed in numbers.
Donations to assist the Klamath campaign are requested.
Malibuites interested in attending the event can obtain
additional information from Waiya at 805-794-1248, or Chichizola