Pioneer Press by Daniel
of the Year - Roy Hall Jr.
By Daniel Webster Pioneer Press Fort Jones, CA Wednesday, January
7, 2009 page 1 column 1 email@example.com
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.
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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.
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
"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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.