[env-trinity] Karuk Tribe's Sacred Sites At Risk

Daniel Bacher danielbacher at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 29 11:03:40 PST 2005


Karuk Tribe of California
P R E S S R E L E A S E

For Immediate Release: March 29, 2005

For more information:

Leaf Hillman , World Renewal Priest, Karuk Tribe: 530-493-5305 x2040

Sandi Tripp, Director of Natural Resources, Karuk Tribe  530-627-3446 x13

Craig Tucker, Klamath Campaign Coordinator, Karuk Tribe
916-207-8294

New Report cites Tribal Sacred Site as one of California’s “Most Threatened 
Wild Places”
Klamath and Salmon Rivers Threatened by Logging, Dams, and Diversions

Happy Camp, CA – A new report, released today by the California Wilderness 
Coalition, describes California’s 10 most threatened wild places. Based on 
surveys completed by conservation groups, scientists and other wild-land 
experts, “Our Natural Heritage at Risk” includes forests, rivers, deserts 
and other landscapes throughout the state.

The report highlights what the Karuk Tribe has known for years, some of 
their most important cultural and natural areas are slowly but surely being 
destroyed.

The CWC report includes the Klamath and Salmon rivers. Both rivers serve as 
important habitat for salmon, including coho salmon, listed as threatened 
under the federal Endangered Species Act. The Klamath, one of the west’s 
largest rivers, reaches from northwestern California to southeastern Oregon.

At one time the Klamath was the third greatest salmon producing river in 
America, hosting over 1.2 million spawning salmon each year. Today dams and 
diversions have taken a dramatic toll on the salmon. Today the salmon runs 
are less than one tenth of what they once were.

The Salmon River is one of the Klamath’s most important tributaries. It 
serves as one of the last cold water refuges for spring run salmon. Once the 
most prolific run of salmon in the Klamath Basin, only hundreds return 
today. Poor logging practices and mining operations have contributed to the 
decline.

For the Karuk, the second largest Tribe in California, the destruction of 
the Klamath and Salmon rivers go beyond the loss of a pristine wilderness, 
it represents the loss of a subsistence fishery and the desecration of 
sacred sites.

The Karuk believe that the confluence of the Salmon and Klamath rivers is 
the center of the universe and call the area ‘Katimin’. It is the site of 
the annual World Renewal Ceremony where the world is remade for the coming 
year.

“We gather at Katimin to remake the world as our ancestors have since time 
immemorial,” according to Leaf Hillman, vice-chairman of the Tribe and World 
Renewal Priest. “We gather to pray for all people and things that make up 
this world, for their health and their success. The impact that dams, 
diversions, and logging has had on this place and on the people that depend 
on it for both their physical and spiritual well being is nothing short of 
desecration. For Christians, it would be like bulldozing the birthplace of 
Christ.”

The Karuk Tribe along with other tribes in the basin and a host of 
environmental and fishermen’s groups are currently working to protect and 
restore both rivers. This includes an effort to remove Klamath River dams 
through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s relicensing process 
currently underway.

For view previous press releases on the Klamath dam removal campaign and a 
recent report on the impact that the decline in the salmon fishery has had 
on the health of Tribal members, log on to the press room at 
www.friendsoftheriver.org.

To download California Wilderness Coalition’s Our Natural Heritage At Risk, 
log on to:
http://www.calwild.org/resources/pubs/10most05.php
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