Day the American Dream Faded.......
The late Maxine Kizer and her neighbors have been minding their own business tending their farms
and ranches for generations. Now the federal government and the local Indian Tribes have
decided the Tribes need all the water because they intended to "reserve" the
water for hunting and fishing rights, when the now nonexistent Indian reservation
was created 140 years ago. Never mind the fact that both the Indian Tribe and the
federal government actually aggressively promoted the development of irrigated agriculture
in this 140-year interim. Armed will millions of our tax dollars, they
have now set out to destroy Maxine's legacy and her neighbor’s
lives. It is not just Maxine's legacy and the American Dream at stake; if they are successful here, Indian Tribes
across the country will be able to demand all the water, even threatening municipal
supplies for our cities.
Please donate today
and help save the family farm, opposing federal in-stream claims and the devastating,
proposed so called "settlement".
The devastating so called settlement is out.
Now the federal government, several Tribes, and various other
parties have decided to try to make a settlement affecting Maxine's
legacy and her neighbor’s rights, in the FERC Klamath Settlement
Discussions. But this group flatly refuses to grant any group
representing these interests a seat at the table. The reason
for this is obvious; this so called settlement is devastating for
agriculture, and water rights. Save the Family Farm is aggressively opposing this settlement,
that has been conducted in secret meetings. Save the Family Farm is
leading the opposition against this settlement. The settlement is now public
for January 2008 draft version; click here
Maxine Kizer lived on a century old ranch in the Fort Klamath
area. Her great grandfather moved to Oregon in the 1850's as a miller. Her great grandmother rode the wagon
train west in 1847. They met, fell in love, and
had 11 children on the first homestead established in 1873 in Fort Klamath. Maxine was second generation born on
taught school in Fort Klamath for many years, educating the local rural youth and helping
to keep the family ranch dreams alive.
has been irrigating the family ranch since before
1892. She reflects on the valley as being the most beautiful place, rivaling
Wyoming. Unfortunately, with no water, she
knows the area will "look awful, all brown and yellow with lots of grasshoppers."
Maxine said this
valley was the most ideal place to grow cattle, as the
grass is natural (not planted) and does not require fertilizer. Her dream
was to see her
children raise "all organic" cattle in the Fort Klamath area, marketing
organic, lean, healthy beef across the country. Her son and
grandchildren will be living on the ranch long after Maxine is
Unfortunately, Maxine was not able
to see this fight to the end, she passed away in June 2009, at
the age of 87 of natural causes. Her legacy continues with her
children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. However,
without water Maxine's worst fears will become reality, and
future generations will struggle to keep the family ranch dreams
alive. See Obituary-Maxine
The federal government and the local Indian Tribe claim they
intended to reserve federal hunting and fishing rights for flows that are
being defined as "all the water". Maxine and her neighbors have spent hundreds of thousands
of dollars fighting this travesty. She is very proud, but she humbly admits she cannot
carry on with this fight without your help.
Maxine and other landowners bought or
homesteaded their farms and ranches expecting to irrigate the ground. Maxine has water
rights for family land and the family has continuously irrigated her pasture for the past
120 years. But today, the federal government is saying "the fish need the water"
or "the water must stay in stream and flow to the ocean," leaving no water for
Without water, these family ranches will not survive.
Where will their children and grandchildren call home? A dry dusty pasture? An abandoned
house? An empty hay barn?
Keep in mind, this is not just the
beginning, but the beginning of the end. If the federal government successfully takes
Maxine's and her neighbors' water, the government will move to other areas and take their water too. There will be no end until all of
the family farms and ranches in the West have lost their right to irrigate.