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Pioneer Press by Daniel Webster, 1/7/09

Person of the Year - Roy Hall Jr.

By Daniel Webster Pioneer Press Fort Jones, CA Wednesday, January 7, 2009 page 1 column 1 pioneerp@sisqtel.net

He stands tall. As the chairman of the Shasta Nation, he took a stance against dam removal on the Klamath River - a stand that went against the stereotypical Native American attitude - because he knew it was right.

He is not swayed by a political movement; he sticks with his heart and speaks the truth. In a world of irrational, sometimes angry voices, he is the calm, firm stance of reality.

For these reasons, the Pioneer Press names Roy Hall, Jr. as its 2009 Person of the Year. Neither Roy nor his tribe were invited to the table for the Klamath Settlement Agreement talks, yet every single dam set to be removed is within the Shasta's aboriginal territory. All other tribes represented in the agreement talks held a pro-dam-removal position.

This is not new to him. His tribe, the Shastas, have been denied federal recognition for 150 years. It's not a question of the facts of history, the record speaks for itself. He stands alone, not swayed by political pressure, for he knows what is right and opposes that which is very wrong.

He sees the Klamath Settlement Agreement as having been made with very selfish interests in mind - disregarding the tremendous negative impact it will have on those living on the Shasta Indian land. And Roy is standing up for his people - and nowa days his people are both the native man and white man who inhabit his territory. In many ways, he's become the Chief of the people - all the people - who call the Shasta territory their home. For he has given his people a voice - with the substance of historical perspective backing him up.

The dams

"Taking the dams out isn't about the fish," Roy told the Pioneer Press. "It's about other tribes taking control of our water in this area."

With the documented history of his people behind him, he doesn't believe the fish got up as far as Klamath Lake - at least not edible fish.

With the natural barriers at Copco Marsh and in Keno, Roy believes there isn't strong enough evidence to show that fish were abundant in the upper Klamath area to warrant the decision to remove the dams.

All four dams set for removal are within the Shasta's territory.

On behalf of his tribe, his children and his neighbors, Roy has stood up and let his voice be heard.

With the political and environmental interests backing the recognition of a neighboring, down- river tribe, Roy wonders if his tribe's lack of recognition was for a time such as this.

The Shasta Territory

The Shastas claim a large swath of northern California along the border and a portion of southern Oregon as their aboriginal territory.

At "contact time" - the moment in the mid-1800s when white man first contacted Roy's ancestors - Shastas would have inhabited the territory from Clear Creek below Happy Camp up the river to approximately where Highway 97 crosses the Klamath River just outside of Klamath Falls.

Shastas were aboriginal from Jump Off Joe Creek near Grants Pass, Ore. to as far south as Salt Creek on the Sacramento River.

Their territory took in Crater Lake to the north-east and the McCloud area and Salmon River in the south.

In the heart of the territory, one would find Roy's home where he grew up, in the Quartz and Scott valleys.

Roy is a direct descendant of Chief John, who at contact time was the chief of the Scott Valley area.

Chief John was one of eight sons of Chief Tolo. Each of the sons had a territory within the vast Shasta region over which they governed.

Roy is the great-great-great-great-grandson of Chief John.

A Nation Stolen

Roy doesn't dwell on the past, yet he will never forget it.

The past guards him from allowing the past to dictate the present. He sees a goal and he marches on, and will never stand down on what he knows is right until his dying day. And on that day, he intends to leave his five children with a home which is more right-side up.

And as the world began to give Roy their ear when he spoke on the Klamath issues, he methodically gave them a history they can't ignore - but are still trying.

"The Karuk Tribe is now enjoying federal recognition with our treaty," Roy emphatically said. "The feds know it. The BIA knows it. They have more information to prove it than we could ever submit."

Indeed, without recognition by the government, a tribe can't do much to help its people. Roy has made the undisputed claim that the Karuk Tribe used the Shasta's Treaty "R" to gain its federal recognition.

"They are dealing with an illegal tribe. It's illegal for them [the Karuks] to do business and it's illegal for anyone to do business with them."

And it's Roy's life's work and the fire which drives his soul to make right this wrong.

He indeed sees a day when what he works for will come to pass.

For Roy can see what is invisible to the naked human eye.

Charity Mission

Yes, Roy believes in miracles.

But, then again, who wouldn't believe in miracles when you grew up as Roy, with the powerfully dynamic pastor Sister Theresa Sergeant at Charity Mission in Quartz Valley. You believed them because you saw them.

"I saw a lot of miracles in that church," said Roy. "And you can't fool a child."

Indeed you can't. For Roy knows if you let go of the jaded eyes which only see what's not possible, he can see around the corner to what will happen.

Against the mountain of perceived odds - an army of the most powerful entities in the nation today - Roy can see a day when the miracle occurs and wrong becomes right.

Because although his face would appear not to hold a good card, his hand would possess the win, no matter what the other hands may hold.

For, he's on the side of truth.

The well - spoken man from Quartz Valley

You taught this man, he's your product. He grew up in the schools of the valleys.

The years in the one-room school house at Quartz Valley Elementary would shape his mind. He read every book in the school's library and then some.

When he ran out of books to read in Quartz Valley, he transferred to Etna Elementary.

When he read those books he moved on to Etna High School where he spent his junior and senior high years reading what was in that library.

He looked at the front door of the college, but instead read and read some more.

And studied human nature as he read.

And in the process, became the articulate, clear speaking voice of the Shasta Nation. He wants to see his land - his ranches and farms - and his people - those who live within the purview of his family's territory - continue their way of life and experience prosperity.

He is a rancher, a farmer and a logger.

And the more he learns about himself and human nature the more he is capable with communicating with a horse.

His horse is his occupation and obviously his special gift.

He and his horses provide healing therapy to young lives where there is no failure when they are on the back of the horse.

Roy believes that to become a more natural horseman, one must have a keen sense of one's own self.

Questioning authority

He only once threw up his hands at authority. The consequences were so impacting, he never needed to try it again.

To this day, his entire family can go back to that distinct moment in time when Roy Jr. knew he was in trouble, he knew he had it coming.

He went ahead and decided to make a run for it anyway.

He ran through the house, with Roy Sr. hot on his tail.

Slamming shut doors and pulling down chairs, Roy Jr. made it through the house and out the back door - with no thought for the further consequences.

He rounded the outside corner of the house and came face to face with his father.

Two men know what happened that day. One man would never repeat it.

No one remembers the nature of the original crime.

The 1973 Etna High School graduate, Roy, 54, and his wife Monica have been married 32 years. They have five children: Jennifer, Carl, Frank, Robert and Laura. They have seven grandchildren. He is the son of Roy and Betty Hall.

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