August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Klamath Tribal Members Refuse to Support Water Settlement

Klamath Tribal Members Refuse to Support Water Settlement

Censored News

Upper Klamath Basin, Oregon -- All across the United States, on the west coast in particular, Indian water settlements are taking place at a rampant rate. The Bureau of Reclamation, a branch of the Department of the Interior, is securing water reserves for the best interest of the United States, predominately the industrialized agricultural economy.Though recent statements made by agricultural parties have been to support water agreements because farmers help “feed the world”, the truth is the meat raised specifically in the Klamath Basin does not feed the local community, adds to the carbon footprint and degrades Indigenous habitat utilized for cultural, spiritual and substance purposes.

“To date, twenty-eight settlements have achieved a federal settlement act and are involved in implementation. Sixteen settlements are in progress with two, the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement of 2011 (Montana), S.399/H.R 3301, and the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Settlement (Arizona), S.2109/H.R. 4067 having been introduced in the 112th Congress. Many more tribes’ water rights remain to be addressed, including tribes with claims on the Colorado River, the more than 100 California tribes with federal recognition, the Oklahoma tribes which share two rivers and many more in the Midwest, East, Alaska and Hawaii.”
Darcy S. Bushnell, Ombudsman Program Director
Recently, we have witnessed the local water settlements of the Nez Perce Tribe (Snake River basin adjudication), Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of Umatilla, Confederated Tribes of the Colville, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and The Kalispel Tribe of Indians (Columbia Basin Fish Accords)
The most current settlement is the signing of the Duck Valley Shoshone-Paiute Water Rights Settlement at the end of February 2015.
Simultaneously, in the Klamath Basin, the Klamath Tribes, Karuk Tribe and Yurok Tribe have also entered into water negotiations known as the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and associated documents. Whereas, Hoopa Valley, Risighini Rancheria, and Quartz Valley refused to be signatory parties to this agreement.
Signatory tribes, such as the Klamath, Yurok, and Karuk Tribes have hailed the agreements as a path toward dam removal and fisheries restoration. Through the KBRA and Upper Basin agreement those Basin Tribes with water rights, or which have advocated for Salmon, have been promised funding for restoration and economic development in exchange for not pressing for increased flows in the Klamath River.
Particularly in the Columbia Basin Fish Accords, there was a catch that has been a trend in other local water settlements. According to an article published in High Country News by Ben Goldfarb December 8th 2014,signatories had to stop fighting the biological opinion (KID BiOp), which the tribes had attacked in court for it’s failure to help fish. They also agreed not to advocate for dam breaching or an increased spill- water that’s allowed to flow over dams, rather than through the turbines to help juvenile fish survive their trip downriver.
“My reaction was that (the Accords) were bribes,” said Michael Blumm, a professor at Lewis & Clark law school.
In these Indigenous territories, Native peoples are witnessing a theft of our sacred, priceless life source. Throughout our history and relationship with the federal government, the Department of Interior/Bureau of Indian Affairs has thrown their trust responsibility, a fiduciary duty, to the wayside to execute the federal agenda.
Land, timber, gold, oil, gas, uranium, furs, children and now our irreplaceable water have all been vied after by the United States and associated parties. Prosperity, sovereignty, self sufficiency, and economic development have all been promises made to Native peoples, promises that have never been fulfilled according to our local history.
Specifically in the Klamath Basin, Klamath tribal members have been silenced by tribal water negotiators and tribal elected officials in order to proceed with a water settlement since negotiations began in the early 2000’s.
Although legislation expired December 31st 2014 in the House, Klamath Tribes chairman Don Gentry and the Klamath Tribes negotiation team have proceeded with these agreements without consent of Tribal members. In order to proceed once legislation was reintroduced in January by Senator Wyden, tribal negotiators had to be granted consent by tribal membership, which did not take place.
Since the recent sale of the Mazama Tree Farm, Klamath Tribes elected officals have been in meetings with the US Forest Service in hopes to acquire a new parcel of land to replace the recently sold MTF.
Four new land alternatives offered by the USFS have come into discussion, though no consent of Klamath Tribes General Council regarding new land acqusition has been granted. These options include parcels referred to as the Chiloquin Ridge, Remaining Members, South Klamath Marsh, and Yamsay Block options.
Potential options were set to be discussed amongst tribal members at the March 21st “special” general council meeting in Chiloquin, Oregon but due to unforeseen circumstances the meeting was adjourned. Which again, has given no opportunity for Klamath Tribes General Council to grant consent to any further action of tribal negotiators or tribal elected officials.
Unbeknownst to tribal membership, on Monday March 23rd Klamath Tribes Don Gentry testified at a hearing in Salem, Oregon before the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee claiming that the Klamath Tribes offer their support for senate bills 206 and 264 as amended, though tribal members are not aware these senate bills exist.
After the March 23rd meeting in Salem, individual tribal members contacted the Chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, Chris Edwards by email to make him aware that General Council as the governing body of the Klamath Tribes has not granted consent to chairman Gentry to testify in support of these senate bills. And since tribal members were not aware that this meeting took place, they were not given the opportunity to have their statements be part of the official record regarding Senate bills 206 and 264.
As of Monday March 30th, two enrolled members of the Klamath Tribe received confirmation from Tiffany Telfer, Senator Edwards Communications Director in Salem, that their emails have in fact been passed along to Senator Edwards.
“The General Council has been poorly informed of Senate Bill 206 and 264, literally none of my family members even heard of these. I feel Klamath Tribal council and the Klamath Tribes negotiation team do not handle the day to day business of our Tribal people. Many have not been informed of most of these agreements and for those of us that have we do not agree with them.”
Racheal Kirk, Klamath Tribal member
At the last General Council meeting February 28th 2015, Klamath Tribes General Council made a motion to file a Dispute Initiation Notice and Notice of Impending Failure in hopes to reserve their right to withdraw from the KBRA and associated agreements.
These two documents gave Klamath tribes negotiators and KBRA parties a 30 day deadline to either agree on a new parcel of land or make an amendment to the KBRA, pending the approval of Klamath Tribes General Council, which has not taken place.
Monday March 30th 2015 was the final day for the Klamath Tribes and associated parties to find a “remedy” to the failure of the acquisition of the Mazama Tree Farm. Though this would be prime opportunity to initiate the withdrawal process, as many tribal members would like to see, it is clear that the Klamath Tribes negotiation team will attempt to proceed with the agreements at any cost, even at the expense of the rights of their own tribal members.
“Not being informed on what I am supposed to know by Tribal council is heartbreaking to me and the generations not yet born. This proves how us as Tribal members are not in our elected leaders best interest. It has been this way since the beginning of this so called agreement. Even our most educated tribal members are brainwashed into agreeing with Tribal council and aren’t aware of the manipulation taking place. Our elected officials are full of empty promises.”
Rowena Jackson, Klamath Tribal member
Klamath Tribal Council held a “closed” work session Monday March 30th, where no tribal members were allowed to attend. Countless decisions have been made in secrecy with the excuse of “confidentiality” and “sensitive issues”, leaving tribal membership in the dark on issues they are expected to vote and make informed decisions upon.
Many tribal members have more recently expressed they would like to see the Klamath Tribes withdraw from the controversial “Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement” and associated documents.
Although the actions of Klamath tribal negotiators and elected officials are yet to be determined, there is a serious abuse of power at play with in the Klamath Tribes government that many tribal members hope to see come to an end sooner than later.
In a time where Indigenous people across the world are witnessing the theft of our sacred resources it has never been more urgent to protect that which is vital to our existence as Tribal peoples. Without our sacred water, we cease to be a people.
Honor The Treaty of 1864 is a group of like minded individuals who want to honor our ancestors and our 7th generation by protecting our resources and our rights. While these ideas are not new and many people before us stood for the same things we do, our group was officially formed in 2014. We welcome all people who support our cause.

Federal Court Victory for South Dakota Native Children and Families

Sign the petition:
Today marks a huge legal victory for the Native American children of South Dakota. A summary judgement was issued in the case of Oglala Sioux Tribe vs. Van Hunnick in favor of the plaintiffs!
Federal Court Judge Viken has ordered that South Dakota offficials have violated due process as stated by the 14th Amendment and the Indian Child Welfare Act, "The court finds that Judge Davis, States Attorney Vargo, Secretary Valenti and Ms. Van Hunnick developed and implemented policies and procedures for the removal of Indian children from their parents' custody in violation of the mandates of the Indian Child Welfare Act and in violation of he Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

Federal Court Rules for Indian Families in ACLU Lawsuit

RAPID CITY, S.D. – In a sweeping victory for Indian families, a federal court has ordered South Dakota officials to stop violating the rights of Indian parents and tribes in state child custody proceedings on several grounds.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and Rapid City attorney Dana Hanna on behalf of two South Dakota Indian tribes – the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe – and Indian parents who suffered the loss of their children at the hands of the state.
The lawsuit in part charges that Indian children are being removed from their homes in hearings that lasted as little as 60 seconds, and that parents have no chance to present evidence. In a 45-page ruling issued late yesterday, Chief Judge Jeffrey L. Viken wrote that "Indian children, parents and tribes deserve better," agreed with all seven of the ACLU's claims, and ordered the state to:
  • Provide parents with adequate notice prior to emergency removal hearings
  • Allow parents to testify at those hearings and present evidence
  • Appoint attorneys to assist parents in these removal  proceedings
  • Allow parents to cross-examine the state’s witnesses in the hearings
  • Require state courts to base their decisions on evidence presented during these hearings.
 The court also found that the state violated the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a federal law designed to ensure the security and integrity of Indian tribes and families. The law is intended "to curb the alarmingly high rate of removal of Indian children from Indian parents."
"Indian children are being removed from their homes without giving parents and tribes any valid chance to respond. These reckless practices have led to enormous suffering BY Indian children and their parents, and the unnecessary breakup of Indian families. This important ruling should help keep this from happening in the future," said Stephen Pevar, an attorney with the ACLU's Racial Justice Program. "We are very grateful that Judge Viken is putting an end to years of violations of basic rights."
The defendants are State Judge Jeff Davis, Pennington County Prosecutor Mark Vargo, State Director of the Department of Social Services (DSS) Lynne Valenti, and Pennington County DSS employee Luann Van Hunnik.
"All praise and honor should be given to those tribes and to the Lakota parents who have fought for the rights of all Indian people in this historic legal victory," said co-counsel Dana Hanna.
The lawsuit, Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Van Hunnik, was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota in Rapid City.

45-page summary judgement for Oglala Sioux Tribe vs. Van Hunnick:…/oglala-sioux-tribe-v-van-hunnik-summ…
Please sign our petition to show your support for the return of the Indian children in South Dakota:

Mohawk Nation News 'Iroquois Confederacy Statement'



Please post & distribute. Nia:wen.
Mar. 31, 2015. On March 29 the Haudenosaunee came together in Akwesasne to discuss land issues. The clans passed a resolution regarding the Kanion’ke:haka/Mohawk territory known as the Seigneury of Sault Louis. Also discussed were Kanehsatake, Akwesasne, Owego and Kanekotah issues.
Never know what we're cooking up!
We’re always cooking something!
The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Inc., a Canadian government entity, is in the process of illegally accepting money for the 45,000 acres of land and eventually removing us to lands of other Ongwe’hon:weh nations. The deadline is June 2015. This is ethnic cleansing. To sell what is not yours is theft under any law.
Ia tihotiianaion means they have no path on this land. Our relations with them is water vessels rather than land. The incorporated INDIANS have gone off our ancestors’ path and follow the path of the ranenrakon.
MCK Inc. dollars!
MCK Inc. seeks to sell our children!

The fatal violation of the Kaia’nereh:kowa, the Great Peace, the law of the land, is to put a monetary value on our Mother and deprive the ion’kwanion:sioni, the present and coming generations, of our birthright.
All land issues belong to the Iroquois people. Tewa’tha:tawi, we carry ourselves and our ties to our land. Such can never be disturbed by foreign entities and their agents to restrict us and spread division among our people. Ia te ion ki wenna hawi, they do not carry our voice.
Our union provides strength that casts out fear. “We bind ourselves together”, said Dekanawida, “by taking hold of each other’s arms, teionkwatenentsawakon, so firmly, forming a circle so strong that if a tree should fall upon it, it could not shake nor break it. Our people and grandchildren shall remain in the circle in security, peace and happiness.”
Creation has given you MCK Inc. and your followers the ability to make a choice. You have decided to follow the ranenrakon, onto his ship to try to steer our canoe. Our birthright is not saleable as is the white man’s. All negotiations that put our titles in jeopardy must end. Your have alienated yourselves from the circle. You have severed your tie to our mother, onensahotonkoton.  harper templar
Corporation of Canada, your goose is cooked, as McKenna Mendehlson Mainline sing: “Don’t give me no goose for Christmas, Grandma. Cut it out. Now don’t you dare. Give me a duck like old McDonald’s that goes Quack, quack, quakety, quack. Where a goose just makes me nervous every time I turn my back.” [Don’t give me no goose for Christmas, Grandma.]
MNN Mohawk Nation News For more news, books, workshops, to donate and sign up for MNN newsletters, go  More stories at MNN Archives.  Address:  Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L for original Mohawk music visit
Ongwe’hon:weh land sellers: Kahnawake 450-632-7500 ; Same secret land theft at Kanehsatake contact Patricia Meilleur

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