Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Might change hearts
Pioneer Press, October 28, 2009
To the Editor:
In light of all the hype surrounding the removal of the Klamath Dams, we the Tribal Council of the Shasta Indian Nation would like to reiterate our position on this issue. Not that it will change minds, but may it change hearts. The said dams are located within the aboriginal territories of the Shasta people, yet we have not been included, except by a selected few, in any of the discussions or decisions. Nor has our county for that matter.
We have stated and continue to stand on our position that the dams remain as they are. After many discussions with Elders from our Tribe, as well as other Tribes involved, they believe the same. We have also consulted with the people of the Keno community; they too feel the dams are not the real issue and are not the problem and would like them to remain.
We are not speaking for any group, except ourselves, but these were some of the concerns and talking points from the people we spoke with and they are valid.
The first being that in a time where people are concerned about their "carbon footprint", wouldn't it be in all of our interests to keep an already clean, renewable source of hydro power? In a time where we can get to the moon and shoot at it, can we figure out a way to get the salmon over the dams? We have envisioned building ladders and natural courses that would help them build strength and continue on their journey.
Yes, the salmon are very important to the Shasta, but so are people, all people. We really like to eat, so therefore we like farmers and believe we can work together. There are many other roads that could have been considered, dam removal should have been a last resort rather than a jackpot for the KBRA "stakeholders".
People are concerned about flood control, property damage, pay rate increases, all issues that have been touched on, but not sufficiently answered. Most of the science presented is not even there, especially on the sediment issue, yet they still want to move forward with it?
Seems reckless and irresponsible and this is no small matter that should be rushed as it is. If the river wants the dams out, the river has the ability do it, but it seems to have compensated for them being there, so leave them be.
We've spoke with people that fished on the Klamath over 60 years ago, and they remember the river always had low spots, went through the natural change of seasons and camps had to be moved due to the fishy smell. The whole deal sounds fishy now!
Our biggest concerns are the artifacts that will emerge, and will they be repatriated back to the Shasta people? Like we stated, we have not been invited to the talks, so we can only assume we will not be consulted on our historical sites and their contents. Are Federal laws being ignored as well?
As for the algae concern, major fuel companies have announced that they have the ability to create renewable fuels from algae, that would seem like a better economic plan for all parties, our communities and our region. That would include us as well.
The Shasta people have been noted for our ability to make peace, respect others, work together and operate in our individual abilities. We are asking only that the next right thing be done, slow down, and look at the bigger picture and consider what the solution is really, rather than belabor a hyped up problem.
As for the "best thing since the gold rush" comment Mr. Tucker, that could not have been a more offensive comment to the Native people of this region, it's what led to the demise of the host people, not to our prosperity! There is a better solution; we are requesting a meeting with any party interested in finding them. www.shastaindiannation.org
Thank you and we look forward to your comments.
Shasta Indian Nation Tribal Council
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