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The existence and functions of the Klamath Tribal Loan Board also, the report says, “have been cited as an example of the adequate business and management ability of the Klamaths as a group. When viewed in the light of the facts this example proves otherwise.
"It became the major function of the Klamath Tribal Loan Board to make advances on per capita payments and there was little or nothing in the situation to imbue the tribal members with any sense of financial responsibility.”
During the period the board was in operation there were only two applications for loans to be used to purchase land, the report says.
Discussing the degree of social integration attained by the Klamaths on the reservation, the specialists' report turns to the court records of Klamath County which indicate that a substantial majority of the local adult Klamaths have been arrested and convicted during the past 10 years for offenses other than traffic violations. The number of convictions ranges from 1 to more than 100 per individual.
“The record also shows that the Klamath Indians, whose numbers in Klamath County comprise less than 3 percent of the county population, are accounting for almost 50 percent of the child delinquency cases requiring county welfare services."
The report concludes:
"The Klamath Indians have been described to Congress as one of the most advanced Indian groups in the United States. To substantiate this, there has been offered a description of their material possessions and references to the absence of Indian customs and dress. We suggest that a more reasonable criterion than the extent to which the Klamaths have shed the blanket, is how well the majority of them have acquired skills and attitudes necessary for the assumption of responsibilities in a non-Indian society which they will be required to assume upon termination."
The specialists, as shown in the report, obviously do not believe the majority of the Klamaths can make the transition from the blanket to full status in a nonIndian society under the terms of Public Law 587.
At the same time, a strong and vocal group disagrees.
They assert that it is now or never for the Klamaths. These tribal members say that they and the other Indians have been shackled by the reservation system far too long.
This internal conflict is one of the keys to the Klamath problem.
[From the Eugene (Oreg.) Register-Guard of August 8, 1957]
KLAMATHS BITTERLY DIVIDED_COUNCIL MEETING ENDS IN WALKOUT, LACK OF
QUORUM (EDITOR'S NOTE.—The Klamath Indian Reservation in southern Oregon is one of the first in the Nation to come under a relatively new Government policy to terminate supervision of the Indians. Termination has been in process for 3 years. This and following articles are a report on the progress of this program.)
(By William Dean) The tumult died more quickly than it had started. The shouted argument between the chairman and one member of the executive committee ceased when one of the speakers stepped back from his microphone.
The shouts and taunts from members of two factions in the audience slowed and then the room was quiet. A motion to adjourn failed with only the active members of each faction voting. Nearly a third of the eligible members present took no part.
There was a call for a quorum count.
Members representing one faction complained : “I knew they'd do that.” “Just like them when they can't have their way."
The woman in the blue suit began counting eligible members along the north side of the hall. Many of those sitting in the other half of the room headed for the doors. Within moments 30 or more men and women left. Outside, in a hallway, someone remarked, “We can still be counted if we stay in the building." The group there moved quickly through the door and into the sunlight outside. The woman in the blue suit entered the hallway, then turned back without counting the retreating backs.
"Mr. Chairman,” she said, "I count 83."
The chairman bowed his head a moment. We lack a quorum of 100 for doing business. The council meeting is adjourned,”
Thus the July 13 meeting of the general council of the Klamath Tribe came to an end after a full afternoon of parliamentary maneuvering and accusations. The only accomplishment was to show that the members of the tribe are bitterly divided over an issue which reaches beyond the confines of the council hall at Klamath Agency.
Termination, the day of final settlement, the day of complete emancipation from the stewardship of the Federal Government was to come on August 13, 1958—a year and a month from the date of the special council meeting. But virtually none of the basic issues involving this act of wiping out 93 years of reservation life, of having their money held for them in trust, of having many of their problems solved for them by the Great White Father, had been settled by the time of the July 13 meeting.
The July 13 meeting was not unusual. Virtually every meeting of the tribal council in the last 3 or 4 years has ended in a walkout of 1 of the 2 principal factions within the tribe and thus has been unable to continue because it was not possible to get 100 of the 900 adult members of the tribe to take part.
The points at issue on July 13 are not now particularly important. Nor was the shouting session between Seldon Kirk, tribal chairman, and Boyd Jackson, executive committee member, more than a symptom of the strife which has divided the Klamath people since Congress passed the Termination Act, Public Law 587, in August 1954.
The technique of walking out and bringing council meetings to a halt is not exclusively the property of the group led by Boyd Jackson. The faction led by Wade Crawford has halted council meetings by the same procedure more than once.
The basic contention between the two factions grows out of what might be called an elementary difference in the makeup of the people who are known to outsiders as Klamath Indians. The Klamaths, under Public Law 587, are treated as a group in which the individuals have been making equal progress in the transition from an Indian society to a white society. Most of the Indians say that this is not accurate. They say that some of the tribal members (for example, the two dozen or so who live in the Eugene-Springfield area) have made a complete transition. But, there are many remaining on the reservation who-even though they may drive flashy, modern cars are still living either in the Indian society or in the far worse state of irresponsible lassitude fostered by the reservation system.
Hi Robbins, the Sprague River man who is one of less than a dozen ranchers on the reservation who have been judged fully capable of operating successfully without the legal and financial benefits of tribal members says unqualifiedly :
“No. They can't take care of themselves. The paternalism of the Government has kept them in the condition of children; they have been protected from the need to work or to be responsible for their debts."
RESERVATION A SANCTUARY
Until recently, Robbins said, the reservation was a sanctuary for Indians who got into trouble in Klamath Falls or other towns. A few years ago Congress passed Public Law 280 which makes the Klamaths on reservation subject to both the criminal and civil jurisdiction of the State. But the effect of living for years in a sanctuary from local law officers, Robbins and other Indians say, is still apparent in the actions of some members of the tribe.
On the other side is the view of Wade and Ida Crawford and the group which they lead. These are described by the elderly Seldon Kirk as the "white Indians”-mainly the one-third of the tribe which has moved to other areas. Their interest in the reservation now is much the same as yours would be in a family estate in South Dakota or Kansas-primarily a monetary interest and perhaps an inability to understand why the old folks back home are so disturbed at the prospect of breaking up the property.
These are the people who fully understand Crawford when he says:
“This is a matter of getting our individual equities. We'll settle this, if need be, in the same way you would if someone tried to keep you from using your own property * * * by going to court."
They are the ones who would agree with the statement made by Orme Lewis, Assistant Secretary of the Interior, in a letter to Congress in January 1954.
PRIVATE PROPERTY Acknowledging that accelerated cutting of the reservation timber in order to carry out the termination plan would eventually injure the economy of the Klamath Basin, Lewis says:
"Nevertheless, this asset is private property belonging to the Klamath Indians even though it is held in trust by the United States for the tribe.” He adds that Public Law 587 was designed to conform to the concept of tribal and individual holdings as private property.
They are the ones who have had the experience to see and appreciate the opportunity each will have when he gets his $50,000 or greater equity from the reservation.
As individuals, experienced in life away from the reservation, they find it difficult to grasp the concept held by Boyd Jackson and others who want termination, but only as a slow process extending over many years; the concept held by many of Jackson's followers that the reservation is common property and still a tribal holding.
Or, as an attractive young Crawford supporter—a Klamath woman from off the reservation—said during the quorum count at the July 13 meeting :
“The trouble is, so many of those Indians don't know what's going on.”
[From the Eugene (Oreg.) Register-Guard of August 9, 1957]
ANSWERS ARE VITALLY IMPORTANT: WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE KLAMATHS AFTER
(By William Dean) (EDITOR'S NOTE.—This is the last in a series of articles on the progress of the termination program on the Klamath Indian Reservation.)
What will happen to the Klamath Indians on termination day?
What will happen on the day or days on which their individual equities in the million-acre, $100 million reservation are given to the Klamath people?
No one really knows. But taking the Klamath termination for what it really is—a full-scale test with live people of the Government's policy of getting itself out of the Indian business—the answers are vitally important. The effects of the termination program are being watched carefully by Indians and non-Indians across the country, because their reservations and their communities may be the next to undergo the disruptive social and cultural change that appears slated for the Klamath Basin.
One of the things that is certain is that termination will come. It may come in 1960 as now planned by Congress—or it may be stretched over many years.
WHAT ABOUT THE MONEY?
If termination comes by legislative act within the next 2 or 3 years what will happen to the 2,000 members of the Klamath Tribe and to the money that many of them expect to receive?
"Most of the money will go to the dogs," Seldon Kirk, chairman of the tribal council, says.
"Some people say the Indians will be no good until they have spent their money and have to go to work,” says William Ganong, Jr., a Klamath Falls attorney and member of the Klamath Chai of Commerce's Indian committee. “But there are responsible Indians out there now who will know how to handle that money. The unanswerable question for the ones that don't is how to make the transition without too great a shock.
"There'll be a lot of new cars bought,” says an automobile dealer. Looking pointedly at the writer's decrepit vehicle, he adds, “You oughta come back about a week after they get their first payment. We'll have some terrific used cars."
“It'll be like throwing a steak to the dogs," says Elnathan Davis, secretary of the tribal council, who is disturbed over the potential for exploiting the Indians who are expected to come into an "inheritance" of around $50,000 per person. "Too few of us are prepared to handle these things."
Bert Albert, mayor of Chiloquin, which is a mostly non-Indian town inside the reservation, says:
“As far as termination goes they could do it tomorrow. It won't be any different if they wait 10 years or if they had done it 10 years ago."
FINGER OF BLAME
Then Albert, who has lived in Chiloquin for 30 years, points a finger of blame at what may well be both the reason why many Klamaths are not prepared to stand on their own—and the reason why they should be put out on their own at the earliest possible time: “The trouble here is with the per capitas. That's the worst damn thing there
The Indians don't have any incentive. They know they're gonna eat anyway. They've been brought up that way. The best thing would be to sell the timber to the Government and let the Indians have the money to spend. After they've spent it they'll have to learn to work—or go hungry."
This opinion of the per capitas—the distribution of money to individual Klamaths from the sale of their timber—is held almost universally among the Indians themselves.
Boyd Jackson, vigorous opponent of termination as it is outlined in Public Law 587, says: “We were better prepared for termination 40 years ago (before the per capitas started) than we are today."
Wade and Ida Crawford, equally vigorous opponents of delay, contend : The Indian has been shackled and debilitated by the white man's paternalism and the easy money from timber sales. To continue this system, either in a reservation or a trust setup, won't bring back the independence and vigor of the Klamaths.
EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS YEARLY AVERAGE
For 40 years or more the Klamaths have been getting an annual living income from their timber. It's averaged out at about $800 a year for each man, woman, and child. It is tax free.
Among those who have stayed on or near the reservation it has been the exceptional individual who has sought outside income from jobs or stockraising or farming. Since World War II when a peak market for beef encouraged many to take a flier at cattle raising the cattle population of the reservation has dwindled from around 10,000 head to less than 3,500. During the same period, there has been an increase in stumpage prices which almost parallels the reduction in cattle grazing.
One estimate places the number of adult Klamaths who are actually selfsupporting at no more than one-third. This same estimate, which is generally accepted by those dealing with termination, says that at least 45 percent depend solely on their per capita payments from timber revenue and another 22 percent have some supplemental income.
One Indian recently said :
“Every time I get to wondering what's wrong with us, I come back to the per capitas--the dole as we call it. If I had any guts I'd bank mine and go to work. But what would I do? I've never held a job more than 2 or 3 days in my whole life.”
No child or youth, this man is a father in his late thirties.
With an eye toward preventing more of a tragedy than already exists on the Klamath Reservation today, there are a number of official and private groups casting about for answers to the Klamath's dilemma.
In most cases, these groups are subject to the same appraisal that was made of the Klamath education program which was set up by Public Law 587. This appraisal was first voiced in an editorial in Christian Century, one of the foremost of the national religious magazines.
That magazine said that either the adult education program on the Klamath is unnecesary because the Indians are already prepared for termination-or the termination program itself is premature.
[From the Eugene (Oreg.) Register-Guard of August 15, 1957)
TERMINATION, AN INDIVIDUAL PROBLEM
A different approach to the termination of Federal supervision over the Klamath Indian Reservation is needed. Termination was started 3 years ago with the idea that all 2,000 of the men, women, and children who have a degree of blood relationship with the Klamath Tribe are fully prepared to accept a position of personal responsibility in a non-Indian society.
That is not so.
Some of the Klamaths are ready. But certainly the majority, because of their limited experience in the outside world, are no more prepared than a high-school freshman who is given $50,000 and told to go to England where he must make out on his own, far from everything to which he is accustomed.
These are the people who, like the high-school freshmen, are unprepared for the arbitrary termination contemplated in Public Law 587. That law sets August 1960 as the termination date for the Klamaths. It assumes that they are all at the same stage of social and economic development. It makes termination an irrevocable fact as of that date.
True, the law gives the Klamaths a choice of withdrawing from the tribe or remaining under a corporate entity or trust program. As a practical matter, however, this is thin frosting on the cake and no real choice.
The only actual choice available is the one that must be made by the non-Indians of this country who have set themselves up as supervisors, guardians, and trustees of the Indian. And that choice is whether the Klamaths and the many thousands of other Indians under Federal supervision are to be dumped wholesale into a strange new life, or whether we will take the time and have the patience to work them into our world as each individual becomes prepared.
Such a choice must be made now. In fairness to the Indians and to the rest of us it can only be a decision to revamp the termination act completely.
Such a revision should cover many points of which these seem the most vital:
1. The resource_some 414 million board-feet of ponderosa pine timber and a limitless flow of water-must be converted into cash. As it is now planned by Public Law 587 this would lead to destruction. So far, the only alternative which would give the Indians a fair value on their property is Federal purchase at the appraised price. The lands then would be turned over to the Forest Service for administration. Such legislation already has been proposed by Senator Richard L. Neuberger.
2. The right of one-third of the tribe to its share of the tribal estate should be honored. There are the Klamath descendants who already have terminated themselves by moving from the reservation. Individually, these persons are as well prepared to care for themselves as any of your other neighbors.
3. A test must be established to determine the competency of the remaining members of the tribe. This must be a positive, definable_albeit arbitrary test. It could be based on a number of factors, but foremost among them should be the individual Indian's proved ability to support himself outside his income from the tribal estate. Such a test will be no more complicated nor subject to lawsuits than the procedure outlined in Public Law 587.
4. Finally, provision must be made to encourage the one-half to two-thirds of the tribe who cannot (or at least should not) pass the competency test to make themselves ready for the day when they will be allowed to withdraw. This is the most difficult problem. It would take a generation, or maybe two. But some progress along this line has been started in the program sponsored by the State department of education. Numerically, the effect has been slight but for some individuals the progress has been tremendous. And termination is an individual, Indian by Indian, problem.
Mr. CHANDLER. Aside from the forestry aspects of this termination there is another and possibly even more serious problem. This is social problem which is sure to arise if each enrolled member of the tribe receives, in a lump sum, the more than $50,000 he can expect as his share of the sale of the tribal assets.
Some members of the Klamath group have been insisting, in Washington and elsewhere, that the Klamaths are not "blanket Indians." True, there is little evidence on a casual visit to the reservation that this is the case.
But the truth is that few of the members of the tribe are qualified and able to manage wisely such large sums of money.
Under Public Law 587 the members of the tribe would receive this sum. A man, wife, and 3 children would receive in excess of $250,000.