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( Forward by Barb Hall: I totally disagree with the two bolded statements made by Mr. Gentry - the facts and ramifications of termination were explained to the Tribal members over several years at public meetings in the local area and to those members who lived outside the Klamath Basin. If a Tribal member was not physically able to attend a meeting, representatives from the Tribe, Agency personal, and governmental Indian Affairs employees went to the individuals location to explain things, answer questions, etc. Not willing sellers? The General Council, made up of every tribal member over 21 or 18 and older if married was asked to vote on withdrawing from government control and selling off the tribes assets.
Take a look at Chapter V "The Termination" from Carrol B. Howe's book: Excerpts from: Unconquered Uncontrolled - The Klamath Indian Reservation 1992.
Views differ on sale of Mazama Tree Farm
By ELON GLUCKLICH, Herald and News 114/3/10
H&N photo by Andrew Mariman Don Gentry, vice chairman of the Klamath Tribes, said “the local community had benefited from the relationship” between tribal and non-tribal members.
A provision of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement providing for the purchase of more than 90,000 acres of land for the Klamath Tribes divides some who support the agreement and those who oppose it.
The land known as the Mazama Tree Farm covers a 24-mile stretch between Chemult and Spring Creek Hill, running alongside Highway 97 in northern Klamath County.
If the KBRA were implemented as it currently written, the Klamath Tribes would receive roughly 92,000 acres of land that once fell within the Klamath Tribes’ reservation boundary. The tribes would be free to utilize that land for economic development.
Don Gentry, vice-chairman of the Klamath Tribes, said many in the Klamath Basin do not understand the terms under which the tribal communities lost land in 1954, when Congress passed the Klamath Termination Act. He said the Tribes would not have given up the land had they been given any reasonable options by the government at the time.
“There are folks out there in the (Klamath Basin) community who believe that, because of termination, the Tribes were willing sellers,” Gentry said.
But Dennis Jefcoat, a leader of the Klamath County Patriots, said returning the Mazama Tree Farm to the Klamath Tribes would be unfair to non-tribal members of the community.
While he said he is not directly opposed to the Tribes reclaiming land, he said non-tribal members should be compensated for the land in the form of an increase in power rates for the Tribes.
“Without representation of the taxpayer and the ratepayer and the general public,” Jefcoat said, “this is nothing more than fraud against the public.”
But Gentry said the agreement is not about tribal and non-tribal community members. Since termination in 1954, the Klamath Tribes have sought an equitable way to gain a strong economic footing in the community, he said.
“The local community had benefited from the relationship” between tribal and non-tribal members, Gentry said, adding the land would help them spur economic growth in a way they have not been able to realize in generations.
And that growth, he said, would aid everyone in the Klamath Basin community.
Current tribal operations, like the Tribal Health center, travel center and Klamath Tribes Administration, employ 40 percent non-tribal members. And Kla-Mo-Ya Casino employs approximately 50 percent non-tribal members.
Plans for the Mazama Tree Farm could include timber harvesting, biomass production and a variety of other projects, each of which would hire both tribal and non-tribal members.
“And the dollars would be kept locally, which benefits the whole community,” Gentry said.
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