[env-trinity] Klamath Justice Coalition Halts Logging on Karuk Sacred Sites

Dan Bacher danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
Wed Dec 16 12:43:30 PST 2009


This morning the Klamath Justice Coalition used a human blockade of  
15 people to defend Karuk sacred sites from logging activities. The  
action took place near Orleans, CA within the Six Rivers National  
Forest and halted work on the Orleans Community Fuels Reduction Plan.  
“The OCFR is actually the Orleans Culture and Forest Reduction plan,”  
said Leaf Hillman, a Karuk Ceremonial Leader in Orleans. Below are  
the press releases from the Klamath Justice Coalition and the Karuk  
Tribe.

Dan

PRESS RELEASE - Klamath Justice Coalition

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2009

For more information: Leaf Hillman, Karuk Indian 530-627-3710


ORLEANS RESIDENTS MOVE TO HALT FOREST SERVICE PLANS TO DESTROY SACRED  
SITES
Forest Supervisor Tyrone Kelly Breaks Promises and Federal Law

Orleans, CA – This morning the Klamath Justice Coalition used a human  
blockade to defend Karuk sacred sites from logging activities. The  
action took place near Orleans, CA within the Six Rivers National  
Forest and halted work on the Orleans Community Fuels Reduction Plan.

Forest Service contractors were greeted by activists before day break  
at Orleans Mountain Lookout Road which leads to one of the units in  
dispute. Crews turned back without involving law enforcement.

“This morning’s small but important victory marks the beginning of  
our campaign to defend Karuk sacred sites and protect the health of  
our forests,” said Orleans local Chook- Chook Hillman.

This logging operation was intended to be part of a larger fuels  
reduction program developed by the US Forest Service with community  
buy-in. However, in the end the Forest Service betrayed the local  
community once again.

According to the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the  
project, the stated Purpose and Need for the Orleans Community Fuel  
Reduction and Forest Health Project (OCFR) is to manage forest stands  
to reduce fuels accumulations and improve forest health around the  
community of Orleans, while enhancing cultural values associated with  
the Panamnik World Renewal Ceremonial District.

“The OCFR is actually the Orleans Culture and Forest Reduction plan,”  
said Hillman.

Originally, Forest Supervisor Tryone Kelly engaged with community  
members on a collaborative process to develop a fuels reduction plan  
that would protect sacred areas, reduce the risk of catastrophic  
wildfire, and protect sensitive stands of hardwoods. However, in  
practice it looks like another timber harvest that disregards the  
concerns of the community.

“We are shocked that the Forest Service thinks that it can get away  
with lying to our community. We want fuels reduction, but we will not  
accept the destruction of Karuk sacred sites or a timber sale  
disguised as a fuels reduction plan,” added Annelia Hillman.

This is not the first time that Kelly has shown a particular  
insensitivity to Tribal cultural issues. Last year he oversaw the  
bull dozing of a Tribal member’s that was on land disputed to be  
Indian Trust Land. The act not only destroyed a home, but destroyed a  
nearby archeological site and a contemporary dance ground.

Again during last years’ wildfires, Kelly directed the construction  
of firebreaks and use of heavy equipment that destroyed sections of  
“medicine man trails” and high country alters used during annual  
World Renewal Ceremonies. Representatives from the Karuk Tribe urged  
Kelley to build the breaks in areas that were less sensitive but the  
concerns with ignored. “Its like Kelly is hell bent to destroy our  
sacred areas one step at a time.” Said Hillman.

The Klamath Justice Coalition is not new to direct action as a tactic  
to force change. The group has staged direct actions in Scotland,  
Omaha, NE, Portland, OR, and Sacramento, CA, and Salt Lake City, Utah  
focused on the removal of Klamath Dams.


Who we are:

The Klamath Justice Coalition is an ad hoc group of Klamath Basin  
Residents from all walks of life. We are Indians, non-natives,  
mothers, fathers, workers, hippies, youth, and elders. Our goal is to  
ensure that the cultures and ecosystems of Klamath Communities are  
protected and enhanced.


# # #

Karuk Tribe

P R E S S R E L E A S E

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2009

For more information:

Craig Tucker, Spokesman, Karuk Tribe, cell 916-207-8294


US FOREST SERVICE LOGGING PROJECT THREATENS SACRED SITES
Forest Supervisor Tyrone Kelley Ignores Local Community, Tribal  
Leaders, and his own Proposed Plan

Orleans, CA – Six Rivers National Forest Supervisor Tyrone Kelley has  
directed his crews to begin logging with heavy equipment in areas  
sacred to the Karuk Tribe in violation of his own proposed fuels  
reduction plan.

“We participated in good faith in the Forest Service’s collaborative  
process. Although we were assured that our sacred areas would be  
protected and our values respected and enhanced, it’s clear now that  
these were hollow promises. Furthermore, the actions directed by  
Kelly are in violation of federal law,” said Bill Tripp, Eco-cultural  
Resources Specialist for the Karuk Tribe.

Over the past three years, the Orleans Ranger District in the Six  
Rivers National Forest has held a series of stakeholder meetings  
allegedly designed to work with the Orleans community to develop a  
fuels reduction plan that both Native and non-native community  
members could accept. After dozens of meetings and an appeal of  
Kelley’s original plan, tribal members, as well as non-native local  
residents, thought that a consensus had been reached. However, when  
logging began, community members realized immediately that Kelley had  
reneged on his promises and violated the law by implementing a plan  
inconsistent with his own Environmental Impact Statement.

At issue is the insufficient analysis related to use of heavy logging  
equipment in areas deemed sacred by the Karuk Tribe, divergence from  
measures designed to protect, promote, enhance and restore stands of  
ecological sensitive hardwoods, failure to protect large diameter  
trees[c1] , and a failure to make good on a commitment for multi- 
party monitoring during the fuels reduction operations.

According to the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the  
project, the stated Purpose and Need for the Orleans Community Fuel  
Reduction and Forest Health Project (OCFR) is to manage forest stands  
to reduce fuels accumulations and improve forest health around the  
community of Orleans, while enhancing cultural values associated with  
the Panamnik World Renewal Ceremonial District. Current logging  
operations are inconsistent with the FEIS and therefore violates the  
National Environmental Policy act. The Forest Service also proceeded  
without required consultations with the State Historic Preservation  
Officer (SHPO).

“The actual work on the ground will do the opposite of the stated  
goals. OCFR in all actuality has begun to compromise the integrity of  
spiritual values associated with the Panamnik World Renewal  
District,” said Tripp.

The areas being debated represent 914 acres to be mechanically  
harvested. The USFS awarded the contract to Timber Products for  
nearly $1 million dollars.

The Tribe is demanding that the Forest Service halt all logging  
operations until these issues can be resolved and sacred sites  
protected.

Leaf Hillman is a Karuk Ceremonial Leader in Orleans who contends  
that this represents the latest in a series of bad decisions by  
Kelley that have served to denigrate Karuk Cultural areas. According  
to Hillman, “Tyrone Kelley has no respect for this community or  
native cultures. The Tribe and local community members worked hard to  
develop a fuels reduction plan that meets the needs of both the  
community and the Forest Service. Kelley’s actions are not only an  
act of bad faith, they are an act of cultural genocide. We will not  
sit idly by while he destroys the ecological integrity of these  
forests and the Karuk Tribe’s sacred areas, we will defend our  
homeland.”


# # #

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