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The Pioneer Press at the very top of the State of California grants permission for this article to be copied and forwarded.


Pioneer Press, Fort Jones, California

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Vol. 33, No. 15

Page A1, column 2


Karuk Treaty controversy continues


In December, the Karuk Tribe announced another casino proposal.


By Liz Bowen

Pioneer Press Assistant Editor, Fort Jones, California


SCOTT VALLEY, Calif. – An ad hoc group is taking exception to the validity of the Karuk Tribal’s federal recognition and is requesting an inquiry by the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors to Congress.

After leaders of the Karuk Tribe announced on Dec. 6, 2005 to the county Board of Supervisors that it is proposing a new casino, in Yreka, an ad hoc committee organized and will be presenting information to the county supervisors at its Feb. 21, 2006 meeting. The ad hoc group is opposed to the new casino proposal for a number of reasons and can back those reasons up with documentation and facts. The proof that the Karuks are using another tribe’s treaty, according to the ad hoc leaders, shows that the Karuks received federal recognition incorrectly.

Supreme Court ruling documents, congressional testimony and historians utilized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the National Indian Gaming Commission are the basis for the proof that the Karuk Tribe received its federal recognition through a lie.

In recent months, the Karuk leaders have been claiming that Yreka is an aboriginal area to the tribe. But throughout the last six years, the Karuk’s website showed that their aboriginal territory was based from Seiad to below Orleans to Bluff Creek. Yreka was not included in that area.

Now the Karuks are claiming most of Siskiyou County from Scott Valley, Yreka and Shasta Valley as it lands.

Members of the Shasta Nation are incensed, because the area clearly was “not Karuk territory,” according to Karol Purcell, a member of the ad hoc committee.

The two tribes speak a very different language, which was first documented back in 1851 by George Gibbs, who wrote the journal and documented treaties with the federal government.

The first congressional testimony on the territories of the tribes in Northern California came through Gibbs, who rode with Indian Agent, Redick McKee. The Karuk, then known as Coretem and later as Karok, was a party to Treaty Q signed on Oct. 6, 1851 at Camp Klamath (Weitchpec) and a supplement treaty signed a Camp Coretem, which is the mouth of the Salmon River, on Oct. 12, 1851.

It wasn’t until McKee’s group reached Scott Valley on Nov. 4, 1851 that a “treaty of peace and friendship was made and concluded” on Nov. 4, 1851, with a dozen chiefs of the Shasta Nation. This was documented as Treaty “R.”

In obtaining its federal recognition 20 years ago, the Karuk leaders used the Shasta Nation’s Treaty, which was “R” in submitting its application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

But the proof of documentation goes deeper than the first signing of Treaties Q and R.

In the December 2005 meeting of the Karuks with the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors, the Karuk’s attorney quoted a 1910 census of where Native Americans were living along with their tribal connection; and said that Karuks had immigrated to the Yreka area. The attorney also said this was the first time a census was done on the Indians.

The ad hoc committee, in doing its research, quotes an 1886 censes, where the different ranches of the Hoopa Valley Indians were numbered, which included the “Karoks.”

In the Kelsey Census of 1907, a few Karoks are counted in Scott Valley, specifically in Greenview and Etna, but were not found in Yreka.


In the 1910 Census, Karok are again counted in Scott Valley. The Indians in Yreka were listed as “Shasta, Wintu and Pitt.”

“The 1910 Census is available for viewing on microfilm at the Siskiyou County Library in Yreka,” said Purcell.

Then in the 1925 Supreme Court case, number 262, Steve Super and Benjamin Wilder vs Hubert Work, it shows that the Karok were claiming Treaty Q, not Treaty R. Super was a Karok and Hubert Work was the U.S. Secretary of Interior.

“This is just a small sample of the documentation showing the fraudulent use of Treaty “R” by the Karuk Tribe,” said Purcell

The ad hoc committee included legal documentation from the last 30 years to show that the Karuk signed Treaty Q, which does not give them aboriginal access to the Shasta Nation lands encompassing most of Siskiyou County and into Oregon. It also shows that the Karuks jumped ship at some point and began using Treaty “R.” In Oct. 2004, the National Indian Gaming Commission denied the Karuks its Indian Gaming exemption for a casino proposal on lands taken into trust after 1988. In that document the NIGC referenced the use of Treaty “R” by the Karuks, which was actually signed by the Shasta Nation on Nov. 4, 1851 in Scott Valley.




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