March 19, 2002

For Further Information Contact: Mark Pfeifle 202-208-6416

 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: SECRETARY NORTON ANNOUNCES MEETINGS WITH KLAMATH TRIBES

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senior Interior Department officials will meet in the near future with the Klamath Tribes to work on long-term solutions to an entire range of water, land and wildlife issues facing the people of the Klamath Basin, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton announced today.

"President Bush has made finding solutions to the complex economic and environmental challenges in the Klamath Basin a high priority,” Norton said. We will do this by working in partnership with farmers, ranchers, fisherman, tribes and others in the Basin.”

“We already have begun to work hard to help farmers whose livelihoods depend on the Klamath Project. This work will continue as we seek to enhance water quality and quantity to give certainty and predictability to irrigated agriculture,” she said. “Klamath tribes have property rights that must be respected and interests that must be honored as we develop solutions.

Though the federal government acquired much of the Klamath Tribes’ former reservation lands in the 1960s, the Klamath Tribes retained the right to hunt, fish, trap and gather in the area of their former reservation, as. well as the right to water necessary to sustain those rights.

Norton said the meetings with the Klamath Tribes will include discussions of protecting the Tribes' needs while providing stability to water planning for the agricultural community. The Interior Department also will discuss the possible return of public lands that were formerly within the Klamath Tribes' reservation. This issue is in part the subject of the Klamath Tribes' proposed economic self-sufficiency plan, which also contemplates restoration of biological integrity and improvement of water quality for the benefit of the entire basin.

“We will discuss ideas to settle land and water conflicts so that everyone can live together in the Basin, served by a func6oning watershed and 8 healthy environment,” Norton said. “It is indisputable that a restored ecosystem in the Klamath Basin will have positive impacts not only for fish and wildlife but also for the people of Basin. This is particularly true for irrigated agriculture, which must use the waters of the Basin to make a living . Restoration of the upper basin watershed is one of the places where we need to focus our attention.”

President Bush appointed Secretary Norton, Commerce Secretary Don Evans, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, and Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality James Connaughton to the Klamath River Basin Federal Working Group on March 1.

The Working Group, which is chaired by Secretary Norton, already has held two meetings and announced measures, including investing $1.6 million to accelerate the delivery of conservation, technical and financial assistance for irrigation water management and accelerating the construction of proposed fish screens on A Canal, the major water diversion point out of Upper Klamath Lake.

"The people of the Klamath Basin celebrate the extraordinary bounty that nature has provided and want to work hard to renew its treasure,” Norton said. “Together we have an opportunity to work toward a vision for the basin that includes clear waters, abundant fisheries, increased waterfowl, a vibrant agricultural community , and an end to the legal fighting among the various interests, which continues to poison the relationships among its people. The discusaions we will have with the Klamath Tribes will help us achieve that vision.”

Interior Department: www.doi.gov

This benefit recording was made possible through the combined contributions of all the participating record labels and artists represented on this recording. Each contributed a portion of royalties they would normally receive. This, along with a contribution from Red Feather Music/Four Winds Trading Company, allows a donation to NARF of $1.00 per CD and $.75 per audio cassette.

"By blending traditional instruments and rhythms with contemporary music, the artists have created a unique but definitely Native sound. We believe this music is reflective of what indigenous peoples have done in the quest for our survival," according to Don Ragona, NARF Director of Planned Giving.

"Emerging Power," whose cover art was donated by world-renowned Comanche artist Rance Hood, features some of the best known and top award-winning Native American recording artists including: Joanne Shenandoah (1998/1999 Native American Music Awards - NAMA Best Female Artist), R. Carlos Nakai (1998 NAMA Best Male Artist and three-time Grammy nominee), Jerry Alfred (1999 NAMA Best Canadian Contemporary Recording), Bill Miller (five-time NAMA winner), Brule, Andrew Vasquez, and Burning Sky.

The Native American Rights Fund is a national non-profit organization that provides legal representation to American Indian tribes, individuals and organizations nationwide in the areas of the preservation of tribal existence; the protection of tribal natural resources; the promotion of human rights; the accountability of governments to Native Americans; and the development of Indian law and educating the public about Indian law, rights and issues.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Paul Brotzman or Catherine Brotzman at Four Winds Trading Company, 1-800-456-5444, http://fourwinds-trading.com/