Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

Subject: Karuk Tribe of California is claiming additional lands through use of a United States treaty with the Shasta Nation on Nov. 4, 1851.
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, March 30, 2005 Vol. 32, No. 23 Page A1, column 1

 Karuk Tribe uses wrong Treaty

-- A treaty with the United States explained aboriginal land boundaries.

By Liz Bowen, assistant editor, Pioneer Press, Fort Jones, California

SISKIYOU COUNTY – In submitting a letter regarding the ruling of "Indian land determination" to the National Indian Gaming Commission in 2003, the Karuk Tribe of California claimed to be using Treaty R.

But Treaty R is the treaty that was signed on Nov. 4, 1851 by U.S. Indian Commissioner Redick McKee with the Shasta Nation – not the Karuks.

According to the "Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties" of the United States government, the "Treaty with the Upper Klamath, Shasta and Scott’s River" known as Treaty R concluded in Scott Valley.

In reality, the Karuk Tribe received its treaty through a supplement on Treaty Q. This treaty was signed by Commissioner McKee on Oct. 6, 1851 at Camp Klamath at the junction of Klamath and Trinity Rivers with the Lower Klamath Tribes, according to "Laws and Treaties."

On Oct. 12, 1851, the "Laws and Treaties" explains that McKee and his party had traveled further up the Klamath River and at the mouth of the Salmon River, called Camp Cor-a-tem, a supplement to Treaty Q was signed with the tribe residing in that area. The area was between Bluff Creek and Clear Creek on the Klamath River and the language differences were outlined by journalist George Gibbs, who traveled with the McKee party.

It wasn’t until early November that Commissioner McKee was able to sign Treaty R with headmen and chiefs of the Shasta Nation in what was called "camp in Scott’s Valley."

According to the letter from the Karuk Tribe’s legal representative in 2003, Treaty R was referred to as the Karuk’s.

The letter states: "Between March 19, 1851, and January 7, 1852, agents for the United States entered into 18 treaties with the ‘Indians of California.’ … Lands constituting the Karuk Tribe’s aboriginal territory were the subject of Treat R."

"This is incorrect," said Kathy Varnell, a member of the Shasta National Council.

In the Jesse Short lawsuit case of 1973, it outlines the territorial boundaries of the Karuk Tribe, specifically on pages 19 and 76. Once again, the Karuk’s area is described as being near Bluff Creek.

"That most definitely is not the Yreka area," said Varnell, who is concerned because of a continued push by the Karuk’s to build a casino in Yreka.

Bluff Creek is well below Happy Camp.

Under rules governing Indian Gaming, a Tribe can only place a casino on aboriginal territorial land.

The Shasta Nation Council has responded to the fraudulent allegation of the Karuks.

"This is proof that the Karuks are trying to steal our land," said Council member Varnell.

What is interesting is that the Karuk Tribe has used Treaty Q in times past. In the lawsuit case of Super v. Work in the 1920s, it states on page 39 that the Karuks were a party to the treaty signed on Oct. 6, 1951.

Also the Karuk Department of Natural Resources web site states that the "heart of the Karuk lands is Katamin at the mouth of the Salmon River" at the Klamath River. This is where the supplemental treaty to Treaty Q was signed, according to United States "Laws and Treaties."






Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2005, All Rights Reserved