Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Fighting for Our Right to Irrigate Our Farms and Caretake Our Natural Resources


A MOTHER’S DAY LETTER to my children
May 13, 2001

This letter was sent to representatives by  Billie Nix, of Central Point, Oregon. 

       A MOTHER’S DAY LETTER, To my children

Last Monday, May 7, 2001, many of us joined upwards of
20,000 citizens for a peaceful protest over the end of
irrigation rights of farm and land owners in the
Klamath Basin of Southern Oregon, the last place,
nearly 30 years ago that I saw my sister. She was
older, wiser and I was sure she would have known how
to stop this terrible injustice. 

Some of you went with us on our journey to Klamath
Falls. I was so proud of you standing beside your
fellow citizens when they needed you. I’m so proud
of the fine, intelligent young adults you’ve all
become. I hope you’ll forgive me for not expressing
that long before. I know I’ve been too impatient
with some of you because you didn’t want to hear about
these things happening in our country to innocent,
hard working people. You’ve all had a taste of that
yourselves. I regret every moment I didn’t get to
spend with all of you when you were growing up,
because I was TOO busy with something that I can’t
even remember doing now. 

As we neared the end of our trip to Klamath Falls, I
looked over the dry, dusty fields blowing top soil,
recently the cause of accidents on nearby roads…only
the first of the many threats to come.

I saw an old, quaint farmhouse and had to wonder if
it could be one that your grandfather built when he
and Grandma, when I was 3 weeks old, came to Klamath
Falls in 1948 to put up the homes for the farmers,
WWII Vets, that homesteaded and made this basin
flourish. I thought, soon it will look like it did
when they came, barren, desolate and unproductive. 

A local farmer told me that this will be the first
year in 95 – NINETY-FIVE! - years that his family will
not raise a crop to feed this country. He is only one
of well over a thousand. He will be forced into
bankruptcy, but that may not help because this
Congress has instituted harsher guidelines for filers.
By some miracle should this Congress or President
find a way to “pay” the farmer NOT to farm THIS year
or the next, the soil will be so eroded, it may never
recover. Is this the left’s vision of “pristine”? 
Can this be what they want to put into a “land

The huge money backed environmental machine and our
government continue to identify this community as
“irrigators” in a feeble attempt to dehumanize this
honorable way of life and justify destroying the very
essence of what these people were guaranteed to pursue
by this government. This for a sucker-fish that
thrives in a puddle! These “irrigators” have given
their own land, time and water to build extensive
miles of habitat for all manner of wildlife, the Bald
Eagle, Canadian Goose and more that will all DIE when
they have no nesting place, food or WATER. Any notion
of this being about the “environment” or protecting
species is delusion. The lake, the reservoir is
lapping over the sides. It’s NOT about water and it’s
not about “co-existence”, something these farmers are
experts at, unlike their aspiring masters. 

After the rally, I found myself closing my eyes and
seeing the same thing over and over. Three people
that I met at the protest, whose home and livelihood
is Klamath Basin. The first was a Mexican Immigrant
gentleman with weathered skin from the years working
in the fields. Work he loves. A place he loves to
live and raise his family in the Hispanic community
they have made there over many years. He will have
to move….somewhere. Next was the beautiful, round
faced, native American young mother who was there,
protesting beside us. She will no longer have a job
at a local agricultural business where she’s worked
and thrived.. Then a boy, a farmer’s son, 14 or so
years old, holding a sign, “WHERE WILL I GO WHEN YOU
TAKE OUR HOME? In my mind I see them standing in a
“for the greater good“ empty, dusty, blowing field,
sadly looking down at the dead Bald Eagle AND the dead

When this way of life, this fine proud culture of the
good people in “Fly over country” dies, so might the
sucker. The farmer and the others won’t be around to
be sure it survives….and the politicians and
environmental wizards in DC won’t even notice. Last
Monday we met one person who was actually in favor of
driving these people off their land. Perhaps he’ll
stay there and pretend to be as good a steward as
these wonderful Americans have been.

I know your grandparents would have been proud to see
that ocean of patriotic Americans of every age, color,
religion, political party moving quietly, proudly ,
though that small city. No longer will the class
warfare, race bating, hate mongering and the typical
propaganda work on these people. They don’t want the
government’s welfare, they want FREEDOM. They want
to farm and raise OUR food. They want to care for all
the creatures they have successfully co-existed with
for nearly 100 years. Their good record means nothing
to the powers that be. When that crowd of near
20,000 people left Klamath Falls, there was not a
shred of paper, not a spill, NO litter on the street
that they stood side by side on for over a mile to
pass 50 buckets of water, one from each state into an 
EMPTY canal. This is a civil society that the rest
of the world should envy. 

This was the largest political protest in the history
of Oregon –ever. Held on a Monday, for a town of this
size, maybe the biggest in the entire country. ALL
the national broadcast media was on hand to cover it. 
Sadly, only one, FoxNews reported it. The others
reported the riot that DIDN’T happen in Cincinnati. 
An entire culture is disappearing before us and no one
wants to talk about it. Daddy was right. History
repeats itself. It matters little whether it is
local, state or federal corruption that gets you, or
what color your skin, you’re homeless all the same. 
Rural people have been getting picked off one at a
time for years. Now they’re being wiped out thousands
at a time. They are not interested in being
“retrained” for the “modern” economy, or relocated….or
would it be more environmentally correct to say,

This rural life is not for everyone, but I have hoped
that you all have become better people because you’ve
been exposed to it. My greatest regret is that your
children may never have that right. I know you
respect and love the land and every creature on it, as
these people of the Klamath Basin do. I only know
that if the farmers of the Klamath Basin are not
heard, the rest of us will be diminished. 

It’s not about Bill Clinton or George Bush. It’s not
about any political party. It’s about something
called home and family and heritage. It’s about
what I always tried to teach you, and something I was
lucky enough to be taught, it’s about playing fair and
making your own way. 

I don’t know what is going to happen to so many going
through this land grab in rural America, but I hope,
as the good citizens I know you are, you will continue
to stand by them and help the world understand what
our media WON”T talk about. I know you will not be
fooled by the calculated science, the outright lies of
our enemies, who become harder to identify day by day,
or the vacuous promises of a “buy off” from some

there is not a force of law and public justice to
protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.” John Adams


Submitted May 11, 2001 by 
Billie Nix, 3112 Randall Ave. Central Point, Oregon   97502
For fair use and discussion. 


Table of Contents Homesteaders Contact


Page Updated: Saturday February 25, 2012 05:14 AM  Pacific

Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2001, All Rights Reserved