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Shasta Indians Seek To Clarify Its Jurisdiction

Siskiyou Daily News, March 3, 2006
By: John Diehm, Daily News Staff Writer

Yreka – Shasta Indian, Karol Purcell from the Scott Valley asked the Siskiyou County Supervisors on Feb. 21, to request a congressional investigation concerning the Karuk (Karok) Tribe’s federal recognition, claiming that the Karoks “fraudulently” received its federal recognition in 1978 by the use of the Shasta’s treaty.

After listening to the claims of Purcell and several speakers and receiving documentation, the supervisors, without taking a position, approved a motion made by Marcia Armstrong with a 5-0 vote to forward the information to congress and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, along with the request of the Shasta Tribe for a congressional review with copies sent to the Karok Tribe and congressmen and senators.

Purcell said that the Karok Tribe made historical references to Treaty “R” in order to receive federal recognition. She said historically the Karoks are associated with Treaty “Q” and Shasta with Treaty “R.”

“The Shasta people are outraged by this revisionist history and encroachment by the Karok Tribe,” she said. “This is a federal matter that needs to be addressed immediately; the future of our people and the well being of all the citizens of Siskiyou County is at stake.”

James Foley with the National Land Rights League spoke in favor of such an inquiry. He said the county should be concerned about tribal federal recognition. ”The direction of the Karok Tribe is having an adverse affect on the community and it is alarming,” Foley said. They have aligned themselves with radical environmental groups that are detrimental to society.”

Foley said that federal recognition is for the purpose of tribes improving themselves. “Aggressive behavior and terrorizing their neighbors should not be tolerated,” he said.

Michael Higbee spoke, saying he also wants the inquiry supported. Higbee said the Karok constitution proposes to enlarge its jurisdiction.

“As a gold miner on the Klamath, the Karok constitution concerns me,” he said. “They said they would be good neighbors, having a minimal affect on miners, but they intend to use the proceeds from a casino to further eliminate mining on the river.”

County counsel Frank DeMarco said the appropriate entity for tribal recognition is the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). “We should send it to the BIA and the people adversely affected should receive a copy,” he said. Supervisor Jim Cook said that courtesy copies should also be sent to the federal and state legislature.

“It is uncomfortable being in the middle of three tribes fighting,” Supervisor Bill Hoy said.



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