The Klamath Tribes- Treaty of 1864
We are the Klamath Tribes- the Klamath, the Modoc and the Yahooskin-Paiute people, known as mukluks and numu (the people). We have lived in the Klamath Basin of Oregon, from time beyond memory. Our legends and oral history tell about when the world and the animals were created, when the animals and Gmok'am'c – the Creator – sat together and discussed the creation of man. If stability defines success, our presence here has been, and always will be, essential to the well-being of our homeland and those who abide here.
In the old times we believed everything we needed to live was provided for us by our Creator in this rich land east of the Cascades. We still believe this. We saw success as a reward for virtuous striving and likewise as an assignment of spiritual favor, thus, “Work hard so that people will respect you", was the counsel of our elders. For thousands upon countless thousands of years we survived by our industriousness. When the months of long winter nights were upon us, we survived on our prudent reserves from the abundant seasons. Toward the end of March, when supplies dwindled, large fish runs (c'waam) surged up the Williamson, Sprague, and Lost River. Still today (after the first snow in March) we celebrate the Return of c'waam Ceremony; it is a spiritual ceremony handed down through the generations.
The six bands of the Klamath were bound together by ties of loyalty and family. They lived along the Klamath Marsh, on the banks of Klamath Lake, near the mouth of the Lower Williamson River, Pelican Bay, beside the Link River, and in the uplands of the Sprague River Valley. The Modocs' lands included the Link River, Lower Lost River, Clear Lake, the Lava Beds, and the territory that extended south as far as the mountains beyond Goose Lake and Mount Shasta. The Yahooskin- Paiute Bands occupied the area east of Yamsay Mountain, south of Lakeview, and north of Fort Rock. Everything we needed was contained within these lands.
In 1864 we signed a treaty with the federal government to secure hunting, fishing, gathering, and water rights on the new reservation. We ceded nearly 22 million acres and retained approximately 1.5 million acres for ourselves (we thought) forever. Our Treaty was ratified and proclaimed in 1870 by the U.S. Senate and President Grant of the United States of America.
In 1986, after thirty-two years of persistent lobbying, dedication, and perseverance, the Klamath Tribes regained Federal restoration and termination was revoked through passage of P.L. 99-398, The Klamath Indian Tribe Restoration Act, signed by President Reagan. However, we were the only tribe to be “restored" without a land base. Nevertheless, with restoration we regained our treaty rights in the 1954 treaty boundary area of southern Oregon.
Today, we are one of nine sovereign tribal nations in the state of Oregon. The mission of the Klamath Tribes is to protect, preserve and enhance the spiritual, cultural, and physical values and resources of the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooskin-Paiute peoples by maintaining the customs and heritage of our ancestors. We are taught, “naanok ?ans naat sat'waYa naat ciiwapk diceew'a": We help each other; We will live well."
P.O. Box 436, 501 Chiloquin Blvd., Chiloquin, OR 97624
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