Klamath News - The Klamath Tribes

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  • Page 1, Klamath News 2010

    The Klamath Tribes, P.O. Box 436, Chiloquin, OR 976241-800-524-9787 or (541) 783-2219 Website: www.klamathtribes.org

    Volume 27, Issue 6 NOV/DECEMBER 2011



    Mogenkaskit Lalo schonchin Captain Jack



    The Klamath TribesP.O. Box 436Chiloquin, OR 97624





    After almost 4 decades of hard work and commit-ment, the Klamath Tribes of Oregon have won an important victory in the Klamath Tribes Water Rights Adjudication.

    Chiloquin, OR- December 1 , 2011, marked a mile-stone in the lengthy Klamath Basin water Rights ad-judication. the judge hearing the part of the adjudi-cation that deals with the claims of the Klamath tribes issues six Proposed Orders quantifying the tribes wa-ter rights. In each case he ruled largely in favor of the tribes claims.

    the Proposed Orders give everyone in the Basin plenty to think about, said Jeff mitchell who leads the Klamath tribes Negotiating team. these rul-ings highlight the role that the Klamath Basin Resto-ration agreement can play in resolving Basin water issues. the tribes will be evaluating the rulings and discussing them with others in the Basin to determine the best path from here on.

    some interests in the Basin advised people that the tribes water rights are minimal, but those interests have been proven wrong. People who followed that advice have obviously been misled in a situation where they are risking a lot. the rulings encompass the williamson, sycan, sprague, and wood Rivers along with many of their tributaries, as well as the Klamath marsh and springs scattered throughout the former Klamath Reservation. Cases involving Upper Klamath lake and the Klama-th River are expected to have decisions handed down in april.


  • Page 2, Klamath News 2010

    The Klamath News is a Tribal Government Publication of the Klamath Tribes, (the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin Band of Snake Indians).* Distribution:Publications are distributed at the end of the month, or as fund-ing allows. * Deadline:Information submitted for publication must be received by the 15th of each month- (for the following months publication). * Submissions:Submissions should be typed and not exceed 500 words. Submissions must include the authors signature, address and phone number. Submissions are used as fillers and publication is strictly dependent upon space availability. We cannot guar-antee publication of any article or submission.

    *Order of Priority for Newsletter:#1- Tribal Government/ESSP Information#2- Tribal Program Information#3- Associated Tribal Information#4-6- Fillers (when space is available, must be submitted by the family): i.e.- Obituaries, Wedding, Birth, and Family Announcements, Graduations, Individual Tribal member info., Birthdays, Etc...Letters to the Editor: Letters are viewed as Associated Tribal Information. However, they must be less than 500 words. Any and All articles may be edited for clarity and length. Letters are subject to review. Letters/articles that may contain libelous, slanderous, or personal attacks will not be printed.*Photographs should be vivid and clear or 300jpg/ppi*All internal photos by: Taylor David -K-News, unless otherwise noted. All photos property of K-News dept.* Returns: For any information to be returned, please include a self addressed stamped envelope.* Klamath News Rights:The Klamath News cannot guarantee publication upon submis-sion. The Klamath News reserves the right to edit all articles for clarity and length, or refuse publication of any material that may contain libelous statements or personal attacks. The Klamath News may not be used as a personal forum for any individual(s). All articles are subject to review/approval by the Klamath Tribes Tribal Council. Published information does not necessar-ily reflect the opinion of the Klamath News, tribal employees, or the Klamath Tribes.* Change of Address:Send address changes (for the Newsletter Only) to the following address. *Please include your old mailing label if possible.

    * Public Information/News Dept. Staff:

    *Mrs. Taylor R. David, Public Information/News Manager Member of Native American Journalist Assoc. (NAJA).

    For More Information Contact:

    The Klamath TribesKlamath News/Public Information Dept.P.O. Box 436Chiloquin, OR 97624Phone: (541) 783-2219 ext. 147 taylor.david@klamathtribes.com or Visit the Tribal Website at:


    These rulings emphasize the need for Basin water interests to work together to find ways to share the water, share the pain of drought, and share the bounty of our waterways, said Tribal Vice-Chairman Don Gentry. The Tribes are committed to restoring fisheries and water bodies in the Basin, and we believe that agricultural and other water dependent com-munities can be restored at the same time. that is what the KBRa can do, he said. the ruling is welcomed by the tribes who have fought for their treaty rights for many de-cades, and are prepared to fight many more. The Tribes commitment to the Adjudication reflects their commitment to restoring the health of Basin fisheries and water bodies. Our commitment to these bounties provided by the Creator will never end, said mitchell.

    As is true with the Klamath and other tribes that still maintain traditional ties to the natural world, their subsistence, culture and way of life are inextricably tied to their ability to ex-ercise their treaty-protected hunting, fishing, gathering, and trapping rights. Suitable habitat is required in order to provide for and maintain sufficient fish, wildlife, and plant species necessary for the exercise of those treaty rights. to provide for treaty resources, the Klamath tribes of Oregon hold reserved Indian water rights, with a time immemorial priority date, to maintain sufficient water in the Klamath River Basin streams, lakes, marshes, seeps and springs to support their treaty rights.

    after more than 35 years of litigation the Klamath tribes water rights on the former Klamath Reservation have finally been quantified in the Klamath Basin Adjudication (KBA), for six of the tribes eight claimed water sources the williamson River, the sycan River, the sprague River, the wood, the Klamath marsh, and some 140 seeps and springs throughout the former Reservation.

    The journey began in 1975 with the filing of the Adair litigation, a federal court case which declared the existence of the Tribes water rights but deferred quantification of those rights to the KBA. On December 1, 2011, the Oregon Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) issued Proposed Orders (POs) in the six cases quantifying the Tribal water right claims in the amounts claimed by the tribes and the United states, Bureau of Indian affairs, as trustee for the tribes.

    The POs were a resounding victory for the Tribes, as they adopted, across-the-board, the flow amounts or water levels in each case sought by the tribes, and turned back challenges by farmers and ranchers who contested the Tribes claims. The POs also confirmed, once again, that the tribal water rights are the most senior in the Basin. Rulings quantifying the tribes rights in the remaining two water sources, the Klamath River and Upper Klamath lake, are expected in april 2012.

    the POs were issued by senior administrative law Judge Joe l. allen. Judge allen ruled that the amounts of water claimed by the tribes and the BIa are the amounts necessary to es-

    so as our Ancestors continue to watch over us... What does this mean?

  • Page 3, Klamath News 2010tablish and maintain a healthy and productive habitat for treaty species that will enable the Tribes to exercise their treaty protected hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering rights.

    Significantly, Judge Allen ruled that the Tribal water right claims may extend to off-res-ervation water sources where necessary to support the tribes treaty harvest rights on the former reservation. Judge allen reasoned that the tribes off-reservation claims are necessary to protect spawning and other critical habitat necessary for the exercise of [the tribes] treaty rights.

    Under Oregons general stream adjudication process, the POs are not final rulings, but rather they are Judge allens proposals to the Oregon water Resources Departments ad-judicator. In about a year from now the adjudicator will issue a Findings of Fact and Or-der of Determination (FO) that will define not only the water rights of the Tribes, but the rights of all water claimants in the KBa.

    Upon its issuance the water rights decreed in the FO become enforceable. Next, the Kla-math tribes will face a sequence of challenges in Klamath County Circuit Court and pos-sibly subsequent appeals courts.

    Nevertheless, Judge Allens rulings in the POs mark a very significant victory for the Claimants, one that puts the Tribes and the BIA in the best position possible for the next stages of the Adjudication.


    I am overjoyed at the good news on the instream flow cases!

    Congratulations to the Klamath tribes & their wonderful litiga-tion team! I am sure that the Great spirit was at our side during those proceed-ings.

    Please pass my congratulations to the rest of the tribal council!!

    here's to Justice,walter echo-hawk

    editor's Note: the formidable mr. walter echo-hawk, a respected and prestigious attorney recent-ly retired from NARF (Native American Rights Fund), began opening statements in Salem, Or-