Apr 6, 2016 - SECRET KLAMATH DAM DISCUSSIONS-PART ONE: Tribal members not informed of recent talks
Upper Klamath Basin, April 5th 2016- Amid a busy campaign season both nationally and locally, water issues remain a top priority to Klamath Tribal members. New candidates have been nominated in hopes to bring positive change in Indian Country. And water, the foundation of Klamath culture, is a primary part of the main discussion.
The false impression has been given that all Klamath Tribal members support yet another new water settlement, though it has not been discussed by membership. Some are not even aware this new settlement exists.
As stated in a recent Klamath Tribes news release sent out by Taylor Tupper-David, March 31st 2016, “The Klamath Tribes have the option of joining as a party if we (the General Council) decide that it is in the best interest of the Klamath Tribes to do so.
Tribal representatives from the Klamath Tribes, Karuk Tribe, Hoopa Valley Tribe and Yurok Tribe have attended discussions about this draft amended KHSA in order to protect tribal interests, but neither the other tribes nor the Klamath Tribes are currently parties to the agreement.
The non-tribal parties understand and accept that each Tribe has to go through its own unique Constitutional process to determine whether to participate as a Party to the Agreement. The Amended KHSA does not require any Tribe to participate as a Party.”
Representative Doug LaMalfa raised concerns regarding Klamath Dam Removal Meetings being held is secrecy. The following is an excerpt and link to the online record of a House of Representatives meeting that took place March 3rd, 2016:
Klamath Dam Removal Secret Meetings
(Mr. LaMALFA asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. LaMALFA. “Mr. Speaker, a government for, by, and of the people cannot hold its most basic deliberations in secret. I am not talking about matters of national security, but basic, everyday government deliberations.
Yet the Department of the Interior, the State of California, and the State of Oregon are meeting with select groups in private in places like Portland, Sacramento, and even proposed San Francisco, to make public policy decisions affecting my district in the north end of California and south Oregon without public or legislative input.
In order to be invited to join these meetings, individuals are required to sign confidentiality agreements and agree to a predetermined outcome.
The issues involving the Klamath River water and possible removal of the hydroelectric dams are indeed of concern to the public. The decisions regarding whether these dams should be removed and what water and environmental policy should govern the region are fundamentally a public policy decision.
The deliberations should be made in public and free for all to be involved, yet long-distance locations an hour or a full day’s drive away don’t make that possible, especially when they are held in secret.
These secret meetings have been happening for years, and they are wrong.
The agencies of the government are meeting in secret to create a 501(c)(3) dam removal entity called the Klamath River Renewal Corporation. This new corporation will be the recipient of taxpayer and utility rate dollars. These meetings need to be held in public where the people can meet and hear what they are planning to do.”
Representative LaMalfa brings up an excellent point that these secret meetings are often held in long distance locations, the most recent were in winter in Northern California, which makes it extremely difficult for Klamath tribal members to attend. And with little to no call in options, Tribal membership participation plummets.
No public scoping meetings this last winter were scheduled in Oregon.
Tomorrow, Wednesday April 6th 2016, yet another meeting has been scheduled without Tribal membership’s knowledge. But according to Governor Kate Brown of Oregon’s notice, there is a conference line for those who cannot attend in person.
Wednesday, April 6
10:00 a.m. Requa Resort
CONFERENCE LINE: For those unable to attend, audio will be streamed via phone. Dial-in: 1-800-369-2012
Participant Pass code: 1003775
DIRECTIONS: From Highway 101 North make a left onto Requa Road. At the Requa Inn make a slight left onto Mouth of Klamath Road. Mouth of Klamath Road runs directly into the Boat Ramp parking area.
A press advisory has been issued by Governor Kate Brown’s office as of April 4th 2016. More information can be found on the Governor’s website at the following link:
Governor Kate Brown to Make Major Announcement on Klamath River Dams and the Basin’s Restoration
Governor Brown will be joined by California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Pacific Power President and CEO Stefan Bird, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, representatives of the Yurok, Karuk, and Klamath tribes, non-governmental organizations, and farmers and ranchers from the Klamath Basin.
Are Klamath Tribal members going to be notified after this meeting that their tribe is now party to yet another water agreement? The Klamath Tribes recent news release clearly states that the agreement must be approved by General Council for the Tribes to participate as a Party, yet most Tribal members remain entirely unaware another water agreement is in the process.
For all people who have this everlasting cultural and spiritual connection to the Klamath Basin and its waters, please demand that these secret meetings stop now.
The Klamath Basin Hydroelectric Settlement (KHSA) as amended and this new settlement, still have not been determined to be in the best interest of the Klamath Tribes by the Klamath Tribes General Council. (General Tribal Membership with voting power)
I urge any and all Tribal members to please participate and attend the meeting on April 6th in Klamath, California on the Yurok Reservation or please call in to listen to the meeting. If you know someone attending in person, ask them to amplify your voice over the speaker phone if you have concerns to raise as a Tribal member.
It is every Tribal member’s right to have a voice in the major decisions that directly impact our treaties, culture, home, environment and families. It is shameful that so many elected officials deliberately do not involve their people solely out of selfishness and greed.
Please disseminate this information widely with all of our people. We will release part two of this article soon as this story continues to develop.
naat ciiwapk diceew’a “We help each other; We will live good”
Kayla Godowa-Tufti is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs of Oregon and a descendant of the Klamath, Modoc, Yahooskin peoples of the Upper Klamath Basin. An Indigenous rights/water advocate and freelance journalist residing in Kalapuya Territory, Oregon.