[env-trinity] The Scotsman: Our Links to Native Americans'
Struggles/Tribes' Press Release
danielbacher at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 19 17:42:05 PDT 2005
Here's a great article from the Scotsman, followed by a press release from
the Klamath River tribes about their current trip to Scotland to pressure
Scottish Power to take down the Klamath dams.
>From today's The Scotsman
Our links to Native Americans' struggles
Reporting from California
WHEN the rosebud bushes on the banks of the Klamath River blossom bright
pink, and the dogwood trees native to the Pacific Northwest turn a pale
yellow, the Native Americans of California's Klamath basin know the first
harvest of their sacred river is not far away.
But the spring run of salmon so revered by the four tribes here - the Karuk,
Yurok, Hupa and Klamath - has not struggled upstream for years now, with
much of the chinook species forced out of its 350 miles of traditional
breeding ground by a system of six dams operated by a Scottish electricity
giant. The adverse effects of this on the 7,000-year-old settlements are
clear to see.
Chuckie Carpenter and his Hupa tribe are fortunate to still have access to
salmon in the California tributaries.
It is this situation that Chuckie Carpenter, a religious chief of the Hupa
tribe, believes ties the tribes to Scotland. Carpenter refers to the Scots -
another ancient people that has traditionally struggled to live free from
outside interference in its affairs - and its clans as "cousins".
Carpenter met many Scots on a visit to Edinburgh last year, when he and the
elders of the four tribes lobbied ScottishPower's annual meeting of
shareholders (AGM) on the dam issue, and retains fond memories of a people
he considers "noble and honest" and one which he for one found very
He recounts tales of friendly banter with locals, of smiles and intrigue at
the ornate tribal costumes. When one unenlightened - but maybe over-watered
- Scot accused him of killing John Wayne, Carpenter responded with his
trademark booming laugh and a bear-hug befitting his sturdy frame.
This week the tribes return to Scotland, and though ScottishPower (SP) last
month sold its US subsidiary, PacifiCorp, which operated the dams, to an
investment company owned by Warren Buffet, the tribes believe that SP
chairman Ian Russell can still fulfil his pledge to listen to their concerns
before his company relinquished control.
Leaf Hillman, the high priest of the Karuk tribe's annual "world renewal"
ceremonies, and one of two leaders to address the AGM last year, also
believes that the tribes have a common bond with Scots.
Visitors are welcome at the Hupa tribe in the village of Hoopa.
Sitting in the cabin of his pick-up truck near the village of Orleans, in
northern California, he says: "The time we were in Scotland we felt a sense
of compassion in the Scottish people, the way we were treated in the
shareholder meeting, in restaurants, in pubs. We felt that the Scottish
people related in their struggles and the similarities with our predicament
"All of us feel pretty special in the way we were treated," Hillman notes,
"even though we didn't expect the sentiment to carry over into the AGM, when
we stood and spoke the feeling that although the ScottishPower shareholders
had a vested interest in the success of the dam project, the overwhelming
sense of support for the issues we brought was very emotional and for us
Fifteen delegates from the four tribes plan to attend SP's meeting in
Edinburgh on Friday.
A spokesman for SP, which is based in Glasgow, says the delegates should
take up the issue with PacifiCorp and federal energy regulators in
Washington who have the authority to make a decision on the dams.
Jon Coney, PacifiCorp spokesman, tells scotsman.com: "The Klamath
relicensing process has been a long-term established process, and not a
whole lot has changed [with the sale of PacifiCorp]. The terms and
conditions of the hydro [dam] project are set by the federal government. We
are currently undergoing a process of negotiations with the tribes in hope
of a settlement. It is not an easy undertaking."
PacifiCorp's position was strengthened late last week when a US judge threw
out a $1 billion (£570 million) lawsuit filed by the Native Americans
against SP. In dismissing the case, an Oregon judge called the matter
Leif Hillman of the Karuk tribe shows off some arrows.
However, the tribes have all along said they will not be cowed if they feel
their interests have been taken lightly.
Hillman says: "People in these struggles have to understand that tribes are
never afraid to fight - and this fight has the potential to destroy us,
that's how much is at stake. Folks need to understand that we are worthy
opponents, we are not going away."
Further similarities exist between the clans of Scotland and the structure
of tribal life both past and present: a predominantly paternal bloodline
ensures succession of religious elders, alongside a governing council of
democratically elected representatives.
In days gone by, the tribes had no reason to fight over abundant resources,
confirms tribal spokesman Craig Tucker, and though not sharing a common
language, members of separate tribes would often work together to ensure
collective survival. Ensuring safe inter-breeding was just one way the
tribes cooperated, another was by ensuring passage of royal bloodlines from
one generation to the next.
In more modern times, the Karuk and Yurok tribes were granted sovereignty
over their land in the mid-1980s, giving them a bigger say in negotiations
with the federal government on issues such as land, commerce, health and
education. They stand at once independent of the greater economic power, but
Tucker says the tribes have now worked together to produce an economic
analysis of the effect of the dams, following another survey reported in the
Washington Post which showed the massive health implications of a western
diet imposed on the tribes in place of their traditional diet.
As a result of a lack of salmon and a reliance on western foods, diabetes
rates in the Karuk tribe, the peer-reviewed study says, now stand at twice
the national average; heart disease rates are three times higher than across
the US. Over 50,000 salmon died on the lower stretches of the Klamath in
2002 in a mass "fish kill" down river.
"In terms of balances," Hillman says, "you can see the human cost to the
area. Ultimately it creates the environment you can begin to frame as a
human-rights issue, in terms of health and well-being and way of life."
Carpenter, whose Hupa tribe is fortunate to have access to one of the six
Klamath tributaries that is not dammed, claims with a smile that the
traditional salmon diet is the reason why "we Indians have such big heads.
Our main diet is fish, food for the head. We were never a big people, our
diet was the early Atkins - salmon, eel, deer meat and acorn soup."
More seriously, he continues: "It isn't just the salmon. This is our world,
our ancestors protected their world, it's now our obligation to protect ours
for our children, and the children who are but a twinkle in their eyes."
Hoopa Valley Tribe Karuk Tribe Klamath Tribes Yurok Tribe
Friends of the River Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermens Associations
Klamath River Inter-Tribal Fish and Water Commission
P R E S S A D V I S O R Y: information on planned media events
For Immediate Release: July 18, 2005
For more information:
Contacts in U.S.:
Leaf Hillman , vice- chairman, Karuk
Tribe: 530-493-5305 x2040
Mike Belchik, spokesman, Yurok
To arrange interviews from Scotland delegation, contact campaign coordinator
Craig Tucker at ctucker at karuk.us or call Stan Blackley at
US TRIBES IN SCOTLAND AS PART OF DAM REMOVAL EFFORT
Week of media events culminates in demonstration at utility giants AGM
A fifteen-strong delegation, representing four Native American Indian Tribes
from California and Oregon return to Scotland this week (beginning Monday 18
July 2005) as part of their campaign to remove Klamath Dams. The dams are
owned by Oregon based utility PacifiCorp who, in turn, is owned by the
multinational energy giant Scottish Power (NYSE-SPI).
The tribes are demanding the restoration of the River Klamath, which has
been severely damaged by the complex of dams which block over 350 miles of
salmon spawning grounds and have played a major role in the decline of
salmon in what was once Americas third greatest Salmon river.
The tribes have traditionally relied on the return of the salmon each year
for food and as a basis for the regional economy. In additionthe salmon
an important part in the Tribes cultures, including being the basis for
traditional ceremonies, many of which have not been performed for decades
because of the lack of fish in the upper Klamath basin.
The tribes are returning to Scotland after a high profile visit last summer,
during which they embarrassed Scottish Power into action by confronting its
shareholders, working in partnership with Scottish NGO?s and politicians,
and through gaining widespread media coverage, eventually receiving a
personal commitment to find the right solution from Ian Russell, Chief
Executive of Scottish Power.
Since last summer, the tribes have been involved in negotiations with
Scottish Power, however, the company announced the surprise sale of
PacifiCorp in May this year (as well as a staggering $2 billion annual
profit) and the tribes are now accusing Scottish Power of stringing them
along andselling them down the river by engaging them in negotiations
while all the time planning to sell the US subsidiary and its dams.
An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), held as part of Scottish Powers AGM
in Glasgow this Friday, will discuss the sale of PacifiCorp. Because the
sale will take 12- 18 months to complete, the tribes argue that Scottish
Power CEO Ian Russell still has enough time to make good on his personal
commitment to them.
The tribes will hold a number of media events between 19 and 23 July:
Date / Time: Tuesday 19th July at 6.00pm
Event: Screening of 45-minute documentary film: Salmon on the backs of
Buffalo followed by a Q&A session
Venue: The Cameo Cinema, Home Street, Tollcross, Edinburgh, EH3 9LZ. For
tickets, call: 0131 228 4141
Date / Time: Wednesday 20th July at 10.00am
Event: Photo-call: demonstration, dancing and gift presentation outside
Powers Glasgow HQ
Venue: The main door, Scottish Power Headquarters, 1 Atlantic Quay, Glasgow,
Date / Time: Wednesday 20th July at 4.00pm
Event: Presentation: The cultural and social impacts of dams on the Klamath
RiverVenue: The Old Library, Institute of Geography, University of
Drummond Street, Edinburgh
Date / Time: Thursday 21st July at 12.00noon
Event: Photo-call: salmon bake: come and taste the tribes
smoked and dried salmon!
Venue: Tchai-Ovna Tea House, 42 Otago Lane, Glasgow, G11 9PB
Contact: 0141 357 4524 / www.tchaiovna.com <http://www.tchaiovna.com/>
Date / Time: Friday 22nd July at 11.00am
Event: Photo-call: demonstration outside Scottish Powers AGM /EGM
Venue: The main entrance, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 2 Sauchiehall Street,
Glasgow G2 3NY
Contact: 0141 353 8000 / www.grch.com <http://www.grch.com/>
While they are in Scotland, the tribes will be joined and supported by
Scottish Green Party Members of Parliament and staff from Friends of the
Supportive media statements from both groups will be available during the
Members of the tribal delegation, fisheries biologists and health
researchers are available
for interview in the run up to the media events. Please contact the
following media contacts:
- Stan Blackley, Director, Portable PR (the tribes? contact in Scotland):
(t) 08700 742449 (m) 07770 742449 (e) stan at portablepr.com
- Craig Tucker, Klamath River Campaign Coordinator, Karuk Tribe:
c/o room 409, Premier Travel Inn, Edinburgh (t) 0870 990 6610 (e)
ctucker at karuk.us
Previous press releases and background information can be found at
More information about the env-trinity