News From Native California Volume 31, Issue 3 - Page 53

A study by the Karuk Tribe on the Klamath River con- firms this claim. It estimates the diabetes rate for the tribe is 21 percent, nearly four times the national average, and the rate of heart disease is 39.6 percent, three times the average. The rise in diabetes rates correlated with the loss of salmon. Hostler is not the only one concerned that the new plan could make the situation worse. “The Bureau of Reclamation needs to deeply consider the greater detrimental environmen- tal effects that are already evident from manipulating natural water systems,” explained Klamath Justice Coalition member Annelia Hillman. “We are all aware that maximizing water flows to the Central Valley does not mean sending clean drinking water to residents—it means meeting corporate demands that waste water on fracking and unsustainable big ag industries.” Hillman, a Yurok tribal member who works with at-risk youth, has been one of the fiercest proponents of dam removal on the Klamath. She has seen the impact years without salmon have on the community. This is why she fundraised to attend the January 23 meeting on the Trump proposal in Sacramento. Members of the Pit River, Winnemem Wintu, Yurok, and Hoopa tribes, fishermen, and Delta advocates joined her to rally outside the meeting and to provide testimony. The group’s message was that the Bureau of Reclama- tion should uphold tribal and public trust responsibilities by restoring salmon, instead of prioritizing the delivery of water to powerful farmers. “A couple of nuts are not worth destroying our rivers,” explained Dania Colgrove of the Hoopa Valley Tribe, refer- ring to orchards grown in the San Joaquin Valley with Trinity River water. “We oppose the taking of any more water from the Trinity.” Morningstar Gali from the Pit River Tribe spoke of the social impacts on the Pit River people of losing salmon when the Shasta dam went up. “We need the salmon back,” Gali told the crowd at the rally. The history of California and Oregon water projects has been painful. The projects span from the Trinity River in the Klamath watershed to the San Joaquin River in the southern Central Valley. Dams block over half of the salmon spawning habitat in the Sacramento River, 109 miles of habitat in the Trinity River, and the majority of the Feather, American, and San Joaquin Rivers. “In the early 1940s America built the largest dam in coun- try, located in Shasta County, trapping a water system of 250 miles long known as Pit River,” explained Pit River Tribal Chairman Mickey Gemmill Jr. “This step of progress of man SPR IN G 2 018 ▼ 51