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Tribal leader accused

Beer Bottle Assault

by Barry R. Clausen For the Pioneer Press August 8, 2007
Karuk Intimidation Game, My Opinion - By Barry R. Clausen August 2007.

SALMON RIVER - Mollie Hillman, the wife of recently re-elected Leaf Hillman, vice chairman of the Karuk Tribe, was hit on the head with a beer bottle during a gathering at Nordheimer Flat.

According to a Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department, Hillman was hit at 11:37 p.m. on July 27. Ms. Hillman, a resident of Orleans , was treated at the scene and taken to Hoopa by medical personnel from Salmon River Volunteer Fire and Rescue. Hoopa Ambulance then took her to Mad River Community Hospital in Arcata where she was treated for blunt head trauma and multiple face lacerations.

Karuk Tribal member Earl (Scrub) Aubrey was present at Nordheimer Flat when the incident occurred. Aubrey said he was about twelve yards away from the incident cooking fish.

According to Aubrey, the gathering was a social event for "a bunch of hippies from the city that have nothing else to do with their time and money but count fish. They think they are going to save the river."

When the commotion started, Aubrey looked over to see Ms. Hillman lying on the ground with a massive amount of blood flowing from her head. "She just laid there for a long time. I thought she was dead," Obery said.

Rumors quickly spread surrounding the details of the alleged assault, but none have been validated. Susan Gravenkamp, Sheriff's Department spokesperson, told the Pioneer Press that Tribal leader Leaf Hillman is a suspect in the injury case.

At this point, there has been no arrests in the case.

Lt. Bucky Jefferson of the Siskiyou County Sheriffs office explained to Pioneer Press editor Daniel Webster that when there is obvious domestic violence upon arriving at a scene, there must be an arrest of the assailant.

In this case, the 911 call went to the Sheriff's Dispatcher and was then transferred to the California Department of Forestry who responded to a serious injury. According to several witnesses, no one from the Sheriff's Department arrived at the scene at Nordheimer Flat.

"We are going to pursue this, we'll find out what happened," said Siskiyou County Sheriff Rick Riggins.

On Friday, Under Sheriff Mike Murphy echoed Riggins' words.

"Were not going to let this drop," he said. After reviewing some of the initial reports, Murphy said that he felt confident there would be an arrest shortly.

After the incident, several of the Tribal Elders went to Archie Super, Roy Arwood, Alvis (Bud) Johnson, Charron (Sunny) Davis and Florrine Super of the Tribal Council to ask the Council to ask Leaf Hillman to resign his position as Tribal vice chairman.

"There was no response from the council," said Sharon Crocker, Tribal elder. "They said they would look into the legal issues. This is just morally and ethically wrong."

Two of the Elders that met with the Council are Pauline Attebery and Sharon Crocker.

"There was no response from the council, they said they would look into the legal issues," Attebery said. "This is just morally and ethically wrong," Crocker said.

Tribal member Dan Effman described Hillman and other members of the Tribal Council as "corrupt."

"The Council does nothing for its people unless it's for their own friends," Effman said. He and others are reportedly trying to form their own Tribal Band to oust the present Council.

Barry Clausen can be reached at 227 4774 or unfrend1@charter.net

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