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Karuk - No Reservation

My Opinion, by Barry R. Clausen, August 31, 2007

The Northern California Karuk Tribe has no reservation. They have no Tribal police. They have no fishing rights on the Klamath River; they share those rights with the coastal Yurok Tribe. Yet the Karuk Tribal Council authorizes lawsuits to be filed against the U.S. Government and the State of California both of which give them millions of dollars.

Based on documents and interviews it appears obvious to me that the Tribal Council wants to stop all farmers, ranchers and recreational use of the Klamath and Salmon Rivers. There are over 50 areas of the Salmon and the Klamath that will be either closed or restricted to gold prospecting each year if Assembly Bill 1032 passes this year.

AB 1032 is sponsored by the Karuks along with Assemblywomen Wolk of Davis California. Over two-dozen other uneducated Democratic politicians endorse her efforts, as do the usual environmental groups. Assemblyman LaMalfa and several Republicans are opposed to the bill.

The Karuk, Democratic politicians and environmentalists want to control the use of the river to hobby gold prospectors and have filed numerous lawsuits in order to eliminate non-tribal use of the river.

AB 1032 is a bill that is intended to modify Section 5353 of the Fish and Game Code to allow the Department to arbitrarily list any (or nearly all) waterways within the State to be closed to gold prospecting.

While all this is happening, the Tribal Residents are getting the blame for the negative actions their leaders are creating. Based on interviews and documents I believe the hatred against the tribe leadership is growing and much of it comes from Tribal members. The lands the Karuk use is both federal and state, yet members of the Tribal Council apparently believe they live in an area of California that is designed for their use only.

One of the Emails we received from a wise Tribal member states, “It is about time that folks take this ‘intimidation’ seriously.  People do not realize that this is serious for Tribal folks in the North State, especially if they are Karuk. 

“This Tribe might be a Compact Self Governance Tribe, but they still get their funds from the Government and as tax payers, it is our funds and they are accountable.  They are only sovereign as a ‘whole’ body and not as individuals.  Someone, needs to step up to the plate and play some hard ball, as it is our money they use to intimidate and create issues that are not honest, as culture dictates. 

“They cannot hide behind this disrespect and call it culture, because culture is lived in a proud way.  We did not drink, abuse, hate or be negative, but we worked in harmony with one another and protected the earth, as we are a part of the whole picture.  I am ‘glad’ that Karen's [Pioneer Press August 22, 2007] voice was heard, even if this is a second print of the first edition of your submission. 

“I am a Tribal Member and I have had my share of grief caused by my behavior, but we can change if we really need and want to.  It is not a bright future for our children and youth, nor a good picture for our elders, who are our history.”

To contact Barry Clausen call 530 227 4774 or Email unfrend1@charter.net

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