Klamath Tribune Broadens Scope of Historic Oregon Newspapers Online

The Oregon Digital Newspaper Program (ODNP) is pleased to announce the addition of the Klamath Tribune to the Historic Oregon Newspapers online keyword-searchable database! Published in Chiloquin, Oregon from 1956-1961 by the Klamath Information and Education Program (a facet of the Oregon State Department of Education), this is the first newspaper solely covering Tribal issues that we have digitized and added to the website, in partnership with the Klamath Tribes and a generous University of Oregon Libraries donor.

Klamath Tribune Masthead

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, February 01, 1960, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2004260350/1960-02-01/ed-1/seq-1/

The Klamath Tribune was published in the wake of the U.S. Congress’ 1954 decision to terminate federal recognition of the Klamath Tribes, which include the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin Band of Paiute Indians. The decision was controversial, given that an official report from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) stated that the Klamath Tribes did not meet the criteria for termination, and there was major opposition from Tribal members. The Klamath Termination Act, otherwise known as Public Law 587, was framed in the context of helping the Tribes, but the effects of termination were overwhelmingly negative. (More information can be found online at The Klamath Tribes’ website.)

Clipping reads: "It is the purpose of this article to explain to the Klamath people the methods we intend to use and the objectives of the informational program as authorized under section 26 of Public Law 587. Public Law 587 provides for the ending of federal supervision over the property and income of the Klamath Indians, both as a tribe and as individuals. This means that under the law as passed, individual members of the tribe will no longer be subject to Federal control over their property and income as of August 13, 1958."

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, November 01, 1956, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2004260350/1956-11-01/ed-1/seq-1/

The Klamath Information and Education Program was created to help Tribal members assimilate into Anglo-American culture. Volume 1, Issue 1 of the Klamath Tribune appeared in November of 1956 as a means of communication with Tribal members in preparation for termination and to inform them of educational opportunities available to them under Section 26 of the termination law, which stated that:

Sec. 26. Prior to the issuance of a proclamation in accordance with the provisions of section 18 of this Act, the Secretary is authorized to undertake, within the limits of available appropriations, a special program of education and training designed to help the members of the tribe earn a livelihood, to conduct their own affairs, and to assume their responsibilities as citizens without special services because of their status as Indians. Such program may include language training, orientation in non-indian community customs and living standards, vocational training and related subjects, transportation to the place of training or instruction, and subsistence during the course of training or instruction. For the purposes of such program the Secretary is authorized to enter into contracts or agreements with any Federal, State, or local government agency, corporation, association, or person. Nothing in this section shall preclude any Federal agency from undertaking any other program for the education and training of Indians with funds appropriated to it. Approved August 13, 1954."

Section 26 from Public Law 587, “An Act to provide for the termination of Federal supervision over the property of the Klamath Tribe of Indians located in the State of Oregon and the individual members thereof, and for other purposes.”

The Klamath Tribune included:

Tribal news, with a focus on education-related news items and individual achievements:

Photo of two young women working with test tubes and other scientific equipment, with caption that reads: "Helen Nelson Now Studying Medical Technology At O.T.I. Under Klamath Education Program."

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, February 01, 1958, Image 1. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2004260350/1958-02-01/ed-1/seq-1/

“Q&A” sections about the Termination law (otherwise known as “Public Law 587”):

Clipping reads: "Public Law 587 Information Given; Questions Raised by Tribal Members. Following are some of the questions concerning public law 587, which have been asked most often by members of the Klamath Tribe with the answers to those questions. General: 1. Question: If a member of the tribe elects to withdraw under the termination law or decides to sell his allotted lands, must he leave the reservation? Answer: No, as a citizen of the United States he is free to live anywhere he chooses. However, if he sells his land to another person, he can no longer live on those lands without the new owner's permission. 2. Question: Under Public Law 587, at what point will cash payment be made to those who wish to withdraw from the tribe? Answer: Under section 5 a (3), it is provided that whenever funds from sale of tribal property have accumulated in the amount of $200,000 or more, such funds shall be distributed equally to the members electing to withdraw. Thereafter distribution shall be made any time such funds total $200,000 or more until all the property set aside for sale has been sold and the funds distributed. Guardianships: 1. Question: What is section 15 of Public Law 587 and what is its purpose? Answer: Section 15 relates to guardianships for tribal members who need guardians. Section 15 was included to make sure that the money and property of minors and persons adjudged to be mentally incompetent by a state court are protected. Section 15 also deals with persons who for other reasons need help in handling their money and other property. 2. Question: Were guardianship law established for the Klamath Indians only? Answer: No, section 15 conforms to existing laws in Oregon requiring that guardianships be established to protect the property of minors and others in need of protection. The property of any child in Orgon, Indian or non Indian, can not be handled by another person without the establishment of a guardianship. 3. Question: What are the steps in setting up a guardianship in Oregon?"

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, November 01, 1956, Image 3. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2004260350/1956-11-01/ed-1/seq-3/

Recommendations for agriculture, ranching, and home-keeping practices:

Clipping shows an illustration of an alfalfa plant, and says, "Alfalfa has a deep tap-root system. Because of this characteristic it does not do well on soil that has a hardpan near the surface. Often subsoiling or chiseling is only of temporary benefit, but it will help the roots to penetrate into the subsoil. Good drainage, both surface and sub-surface, are necessary for a thrifty alfalfa stand. During winter when the plants are dormant they may withstand several days of flooding, but during the growing season one day of flood may harm them greatly."

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, November 01, 1956, Image 4. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2004260350/1956-11-01/ed-1/seq-4/

Information on water rights, and other political, economic, and environmental issues:

"Water Use Increases Crop Production, Protects Water Rights. Will you have any water rights after termination? You can greatly strengthen your right to the use of irrigation water by developing it before termination. The time to start that irrigation system is right now so it can be used this year."

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, April 01, 1957, Image 4. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2004260350/1957-04-01/ed-1/seq-4/

Although Tribal perspectives were included, the paper was primarily dedicated to persuading Tribal members to actively learn and participate in the dominant Anglo-American culture and way of doing things:

Advertisement says "Have You Registered to Vote? Deadline for registration in Oregon is October 7, 1960...For the City of Chiloquin election register at the Chiloquin City Hall. Register, then vote. Power in a democracy springs from the People." Illustration shows a line of different people waiting to go to the voting booth, with a stereotypical-looking Native American, labeled "Ed Chilquin", at the end of the line.

Klamath tribune. (Chiloquin, Or.) 1956-1961, September 01, 1960, Image 4. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/2004260350/1960-09-01/ed-1/seq-4/

The last issue of the Tribune was published in July of 1961. By 1986, the Klamath Tribes were successful in restoring their federally recognized tribal status through the Klamath Restoration Act. The addition of the Klamath Tribune to the Historic Oregon Newspapers database is a crucial step towards representing the full range of Oregon’s history and cultural heritage in our online newspaper collection. Go check it out, explore, and see for yourself! You never know what you might find in the newspaper pages of the past.

Sources:

Robbins, William G. “Subtopic : People, Politics, and the Environment Since 1945: Termination.” The Oregon History Project. Oregon Historical Society. Web. Accessed April 30, 2014. <http://www.ohs.org/education/oregonhistory/narratives/subtopic.cfm?subtopic_ID=171&gt;

The Klamath Tribes. “History.” The Klamath Tribes. Web. Accessed April 30, 2014. <http://www.klamathtribes.org/history.html&gt;

The Klamath Tribes. “Termination.” The Klamath Tribes. Web. Accessed April 30, 2014. <http://www.klamathtribes.org/background/termination.html&gt;

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1 Comment

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One response to “Klamath Tribune Broadens Scope of Historic Oregon Newspapers Online

  1. Pingback: Smoke Signals and Chemawa American Now Available at Historic Oregon Newspapers Online! | Oregon Digital Newspaper Program

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