Facts Pertaining to the Klamath Tribes

and Termination



In the 1950 tribal council meeting, the Klamath Tribes voted to introduce the voluntary withdrawal act in Congress, allowing their members to sell their share of the reservation for cash.  The voluntary withdrawal act did not pass Congress but evolved into the Act Providing for Termination of Federal Supervision of the Klamath Tribes allowing the Tribes to sell the reservation in exchange for cash, for the withdrawing members.


While the Tribes insist they did not receive adequate representation during the passing of the Termination Bill, the Council minutes speak for themselves. In 1954 the two elected delegates from the Tribe, Boyd Jackson and Jesse Kirk were in Washington, D.C. They, along with Wade Crawford who claimed to represent 307 members of the Tribe, testified before the Senate Committee.


Wade Crawford spoke before the Council: “ . . .Mr. Jackson and Mr. Kirk had a meeting on these amendments that are now a  law, and that’s public record . . .Mr. Jackson agreed to that bill. . .The parties representing you agreed to this law, don’t let them give you anything about they wanted to change it.”


In the same meeting a letter was read into the transcript from Congressman Sam Coon:


“Last year, at the request of the Klamath Indian Delegates, I introduced the Voluntary Withdrawal Bill. It did not get a favorable report from the Department nor the Committee, so was not acted upon. . . I did not attempt to get a hearing on the Senate passed bill for termination . . . because your representatives were not in agreement. . . However, they met with their attorneys, the Indian Commissioner and his assistants and finally worked out a bill that they all agreed on. . . The committee asked if all were agreed on the bill. The Klamath representatives or their attorneys all said that this was the bill they wanted. The Committee consolidated the pre capita and the termination bill. This bill was passed” 


As reported at the July 29, 1954 General Council meeting the elected Tribal delegates, wrote the following about the Termination Bill:


 “In conclusion, we desire to advise the tribes that we believe on of the most desirable features of the bill, and one which has encouraged us to agree upon the bill as reported by the House Committee, is that which provides for a complete and accurate appraisal of tribal property.” (emphasis added)


An additional justification for having 690,000 acres given to the Tribes is the assertions of mistreatment and the forced transformation to a European society 150 years ago.  This argument is questionable considering many tribal members are over 50% European ancestry, and some tribal members are only 1/16th Native American (Federal Register Nov 21, 1957).



The Klamath Tribes Were not Terminated

The Klamath Tribes were not terminated. Federal Supervision (control) was all that was terminated.  This point is very clearly stated in the Klamath Tribes 11/25/2000 constitution “By adoption of this Constitution we act to clarify the misconceptions that exist regarding the effect of the Klamath Termination Act (25 USC Sec. 564 et. seq.) by stating to all people that the Klamath Tribes never ceased to exist and that the effect to termination was the eligibility of our members to receive services from the federal government.  Therefore, Public Law 99-398, was approved on August 26, 1986 allowing for the Restoration of Federal recognition for the Klamath Tribes


Both the reservation and the Klamath Tribe existed after termination.  Tribal members were given a choice of whether they wanted to stay in the Tribe, or withdraw from the Tribe and get their share of the reservation in cash.


Following Termination of Federal Supervision, 1,659 tribal members voted to withdraw for a cash payout, 80 voted to remain and 394 did not vote, or presented invalid ballots. Those who did not vote or presented invalid ballots were considered remaining members for a total of 474 remaining members.  Source:  The Federal Register and the list of Persons Electing to Remain.


According to the Klamath Tribes’ own calculations, The Tribes were paid $220,647,000 in termination payments between 1961 and 1980 (Economic studies in support of Klamath Tribes self sufficiency and impacts of Termination).  In today’s dollars, these payments ranged between $318,613 and $762,787 per person, when adjusted for inflation, utilizing the American Institute for Economic Research’s inflation calculator.


The remaining members received substantially more money than the withdrawing members.  The remaining members received payment when the US bank trusteeship was dissolved at a later date, and the remaining reservation was liquidated.



Restoration of Federal Supervision

In 1986 Congressman Bob Smith introduced legislation to restore federal supervision of the tribes, which entitles tribal members to receive health, education, and welfare benefits.


According to the Herald and News June 16th 1986 Congressman Smith made it abundantly clear how Congress stood.


Smith Said the bill would not restore the Klamath Tribe’s reservation nor would it suggest that the federal government should ever provide land for a reservation…If it is the Tribal (chairman’s) intention to reconstruct a reservation in the future that must be done through the same land acquisition methods available to any American


Many people are concerned about the Tribes environmental Record

In 1925 the Tribal council states “We have sold 1,000,000,000 feet and 5,000,000,000 feet of timber yet to be sold.”   For reference purposes a billion board feet of boards if laid flat would completely cover 35 square miles of land. 


Many tribal members wanted to cut more timber as exemplified by the October 1946, general Council Meeting; “BE IT RESOLVED, that the General Council does hereby agree and consent to the sale of all the remaining stand of virgin timber and the cut over lands, in 50 to 100M ft M.B. for cash to the highest Bidder, and that the pro rata share of each man, woman and child shall be paid to him or her, in cash.” 



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Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

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