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Modocs discuss separation
Proposal would establish a Modoc tribe
by Lee Juillerat, 2/2/10 Herald and News
Economic self-sufficiency for Modoc Indians can only be achieved if people with Modoc blood separate from the Klamath Tribes and create their own federally recognized tribe.
Chesnut and Manion spoke Friday night at a meeting to discuss creating a Modoc tribe.
“The only way this can happen,” Manion said after outlining a plan he believes can help give Modocs economic self-sufficiency, “is that we set ourselves up as the Modoc tribe.”
Membership in tribe
Claiming that leaders of the Klamath Tribes have continued a generations-long “climate of corruption,” Chesnut said Modocs face “paper genocide” unless they move to create a tribe with membership based on heritage and lineage, not blood quantum.
two spoke to a gathering of about 25 people at a meeting
at the Klamath County Government Center.
“If we don’t do anything, we will be assimilated into the Klamath Tribe,” he said, noting all Indian tribes face extinction within two or three generations as marriages outside the tribes affect blood quantum percentages. Chesnut said the Klamaths currently require members be onequarter Indian.
Criticism of Klamaths
Chesnut, Manion and others at the meeting took turns criticizing Klamath Tribes’ leaders, who they claim discriminate and exclude Modocs and Yahooskins from decision making processes.
“We are like the dogs that sit around people’s tables and wait for scraps,” claimed Manion, who owns property on the Klamath Marsh, but has worked as an engineer in Iraq and Afghanistan the past seven years.
“I think this is a big opportunity for our people because we’ve always been shut out,” said Patrick Foster, who said he is a 100 percent Yahooskin, but has been required to register as a Klamath. “I’m glad this is happening.”
“As a people we need to have a voice,” said Kevin Fields, who said his non-Indian appearance resulted in officials changing his nationality from Indian to Caucasian when he entered the military.
Several audience members said they have sometimes been denied medical services, and fear harassment if they sign a petition supporting establishment of a Modoc tribe.
Wayne Anderson, an enrolled Klamath Tribes member, said his and his family’s efforts to promote economic development for the Tribes were regularly disregarded by tribal leaders.
Chesnut , who was adopted into the Modocs by the late Miller Anderson and his family, said he and Anderson presented a proposal to tribal leaders in 1993 for a Jumping Rock Resort at Modoc Point.
Chesnut said a development firm was interested in financing and building the complex with a five-star hotel, motel, casino, restaurants, rodeo grounds, horse track, truck stop, mall, private airport, sports complex, two golf courses and other facilities.
He said tribal leaders declined to allow the proposed developer to make a presentation at a tribal council meeting.
Opportunities to gain
“his is an example of an opportunity lost,” Chesnut said. “ This is also an example of an opportunity we can gain if we break away.”
The Tribes’ Kla-Mo-Ya Casino, which was built after the Jumping Rock Resort proposal, is a short distance from Modoc Point.
Chesnut said a better site would be near Weed with access from Interstate 5 and Highway 97, possibly in cooperation with the Shasta Nation, another group of Indians seeking federal tribal recognition.
Chesnut also presented a map he said outlines Modoc tribal homelands ceded to the federal government by the Lakes Treaty of 1864.
The area generally goes east to Goose Lake, southeast near Alturas, south near Fall River Mills, southwest to McCloud, west near the eastern side of Mount Shasta and north along a meandering line near Ashland, Chiloquin and Winter Rim.
“This is what we have the potential of getting back,” he said.
“What if most the Modocs don’t want to break away from the Klamath Tribes,” Chesnut was asked.
His answer: “It won’t happen.”
Page Updated: Friday February 12, 2010 03:10 AM Pacific
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