Mazama Forest

Mazama Forest, Oregon
Photo credit: 
Nelson Mathews

After years of negotiations, and with the help of the Trust for Public Land, the Klamath Tribes (comprising the Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin people) signed an option to purchase the Mazama Forest, a 90,000 acre property owned by Cascade Timber Lands.

The forest was part of the 840,000 acre Klamath Indian Reservation until 1954, when a federal policy known as "Termination" set aside long-standing treaties and effectively abolished the then-thriving Klamath Tribes. All tribal resources, including reservation land were "liquidated", leaving a people whose entire culture is based in a spiritual and physical interaction with land with cash compensation and not an acre to their name. Without their timber, farming and ranching livelihoods, and with no real experience of money management to draw upon, the Klamath fell into poverty and near despair, but when the termination policy was repealed in 1968, they rallied and began a long struggle to regain recognition for their tribes, finally achieving full restoration from the Federal Government in 1986.

Since then, the Klamath Tribes have developed a strong, independent community, based around less than 700 acres of land. The acquisition of the 90,000 acre Mazama Forest tract will finally enable the tribes to re-establish their cultural self-reliance, and a tradition of caring for, and being nurtured by their native forest.

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