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Klamath Tribes suffered after being terminated


The Klamath Falls Herald and News continues its multi-part series on the termination of the Klamath Tribes of Oregon and its effect on tribal members.

The termination process began on August 13, 1954. The federal government sold the 1.2 million-acre reservation and distributed the money to two sets of tribal members.

The 1,600 tribal members who chose to "withdraw" were given a one-time payout of $43,124.71, which would be more than $276,600 in today's dollars. Many of the "withdrawn" members ran through the money quickly, buying expensive items, while many more were swindled out of it by people who took advantage of the situation, the Federal Trade Commission later said after being called to the reservation by the Native American Rights Fund. Others said "trust officers" who were assigned to minors cheated them out of the money.

The remaining 474 tribal members who chose not to withdraw were beneficiaries of a separate trust administered by a private bank. They continued to receive per capita payments for use of reservation land that hadn't been sold, an amount totaling about $38,000 over several years. But eventually, they voted to repudiate the trust and were each paid $103,000 for the $49 million sale of the remaining reservation, or about $395,700 in today's dollars.

The tribe was officially terminated on April 17, 1961, even though a commission appointed by the Interior Department concluded the tribe wasn't ready.

Get the Story:
A tribe vanishes (The Klamath Falls Herald and News 6/20)
Spending spree (The Klamath Falls Herald and News 6/20)

Relevant Links:
Klamath Tribes - http://www.klamathtribes.org

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