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An aerial view of the Klamath River as it flows by the Yurok Tribe headquarters on June 9 in Weitchpec, California.

This story was originally published by High Country News and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

In mid-May, Klamath Tribal members and supporters stood at Sugarman’s Corner in downtown Klamath Falls, Oregon, holding signs like “Ecocide is Cultural Genocide,” “Save the Klamath” and “Honor the Treaty” as part of a caravan rally. The goal was to highlight Indigenous voices and priorities for the Klamath River basin, like protecting culturally important c’wam (Lost River suckers) and koptu (shortnose suckers) endemic to shallow Upper Klamath Lake.

Tensions were high in the basin, which spans the Oregon-California border. Just a day before the rally, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation had announced that it wouldn’t release water in the basin to irrigators or national wildlife refuges because of dire drought forecasts.

Joey Gentry, a member of the Klamath Tribes who helped organize the event, nervously braced herself for an armed counterprotest, like the ones that happened in Klamath Falls during Black Lives Matter marches last year. To Gentry’s relief, however, no counterprotesters materialized. “Everyone empa... Read more

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