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“It just happens that the local Tea Party has the same values regarding private property rights, the Constitution, and God, as our rural communities who oppose being controlled by national and international agencies and ecoterrorist groups.”
The Klamath crisis editor has railed that participants in the restoration act negotiations were "chosen by Interior" if they "supported giving land to a tribe that previously sold that land." Elsewhere, the group blames tribes and environmental groups for the 2002 fish kill. Similarly it claims that the Endangered Species Act gives the government an "excuse to take our land and water." Apparently, in this case the "our" does not include tribes whose fisheries are supported by the Endangered Species Act listing of sucker fish and Coho salmon.
Klamath Basin Crisis represents the area property rights movement's most direct known link to radical anti-Indianism. A page on the group's webpage titled "Indians" includes a link titled "Ask Elaine," referring to none other than longtime anti-Indian leader Elaine Willman. Willman is the former chair of the anti-Indian Citizens Equal Rights Alliance and a current Hobart, Wisconsin administrator. In an article posted on the KBC website, Willman wildly asserts that "tribalism, collectivism - federal Indian policy and extreme multiculturalism" have "relegated US taxpayers as muzzled, indentured servants." Elsewhere, Willman claims it is a "lie" and "myth" that "(Indians) were here first," and writes,
“The tiresome myth that inherent tribal sovereignty is pre-Constitutional needs a little sunshine. This misplaced theory has unfortunately succeeded a bit too often. It's my belief that anything pre-Constitutional in this country was in fact, nullified by the US Constitution.”
Willman has also spoken at a meeting of the Mille Lacs County Tea Party in Minnesota.
Along the same lines, Klamath Tea Party Patriots online member Earl Wessel joined KBB Vice President/Treasurer Barbara Ambers in signing a petition promoted by the Lebanon, Oregon based "Give Us Our Land Back." The petition calls for:
“The US Congress to return sovereign control, full jurisdiction, and eminent domain of all Federal Lands within Oregon's boundaries to the Chartered Counties of the sovereign State of Oregon, with the exception of military bases and armories, naval yards, Federal Buildings, and properties purchased by the Federal Government with the consent of the Oregon State Legislature; and to declare that the power of the Federal government over those lands, as property, shall cease.”
Give Us Our Land Back makes no exception for lands held in trust for Indian tribes by the federal government. The group's vision would place control of federal lands in Klamath County in the hands of a Tea Party-aligned County Commission.
In conclusion, the Klamath Tea Party Patriots and allied property rights groups are promoting ends that would continue the destruction of tribal resources in the Klamath River Basin.
For a full text of the original article, complete with footnotes, click here »
Chuck Tanner is an Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights Advisory Board Member and Research Director of Borderlands Research and Education. Borderlands is dedicated to using strategic research and education to support indigenous treaty rights and sovereignty.
posted August 7, 2012 7:59 am edt