Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Assert Your Native Gathering Rights!

Saturday, June 18 · 5:30am - 8:30am

Your gathering place or Patrick's Point 5:30am, Clam Beach 7:30am, Wilson Crk near Klamath 8:30am

This Saturday, the Klamath and Coastal Justice Coalitions are calling on all members of local tribes to gather coastal resources at their traditional gathering places. Members of the Justice Coalitions will be harvesting coastal resources at Patrick’s Point State Park at 5:30 am, Clam Beach at 7:30 am and Wilson Creek Beach near Klamath at 8:30 am.

“It is our sovereign and sacred right to harvest coastal resources according to ...our customs. We will no longer allow the state or the feds to criminalize our culture.” said Hoopa Tribal Citizen Dania Rose Colegrove, an organizer for the Klamath Justice Coalition.

Local Tribes use hundreds of coastal resources for ceremonial regalia, medicine and for subsistence. Under the proposed Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), tribal citizens face fines and potential incarceration for harvesting for traditional purposes in a culturally appropriate way. Regulations against indigenous people in state parks, federal marine reserves and the proposed MLPA areas are an unacceptable and outdated threat to native sovereignty and culture.

The Klamath and Coastal Justice Coalitions are native alliances formed with the aim of protecting tribal rights. The KJC played a large role in pushing forward the removal of four dams on the Klamath River and is currently working to ensure California’s Marine Life Protection Act honors tribal sovereignty.


  1. It's always a great day to b Indigenous!

  2. Please stand strong because this will be a long fight against many rich, powerful people and organizations.

    Sue Sack
    Shelter Cove

  3. For Immediate Release
    Contact Matt Mais
    Yurok Tribe
    (707) 482-1350 ext. 306

    Tribes express coastal gathering rights in ancestral territory

    Sat. June 18 2011

    Tribal members will meet at several locations on Saturday to practice traditional harvest

    Armed with only tribal identification cards, Native Americans from Tolowa Country to the Wiyot Nation will be assembling on culturally critical beaches Saturday to harvest marine resources.
    “We don’t perceive traditional tribal gathering of ocean resources to be some kind of delinquent activity, but the state and feds do,” said Yurok Tribal Heritage Preservation Officer, Bob McConnell. “We harvest from the ocean for our ceremonies and physical health. It is time to decriminalize our culture.”
    “The Tribe’s rights are nonnegotiable,” added Yurok Chairman Thomas O’Rourke Sr. “As long as we are here, we will continue to gather in culturally appropriate way that is beneficial to all species.”
    State parks and national marine reserves and parks do disproportionate and unjustifiable harm to California’s indigenous people who need access to marine resources in order to perpetuate complex spiritual practices and life ways.
    “Our methods of take enhance these resources rather than harm them. We offer as evidence the abundance of coastal resources prior to European contact,” McConnell said. “Prayer is an integral part of the process as no life can be taken without acknowledgement of that life. We thank the creator and the plant/animal for that life each and every time we gather a resource.”
    Decades have passed and public perceptions about Native Americans have changed since most of the rules that govern California’s coast were signed into law.
    “These government bodies have made criminals out of people for embracing their culture. We want the people of California to know that and join us in the process of reversing it,” McConnell concluded.

    Tribal members are encouraged to gather at their favorite spot. There will be tribal members at Patrick’s Point State Park at 5:30 a.m., Clam Beach at 7:30 a.m. and Wilson Creek Beach near Klamath at 8:30 a.m..