Historic youth summit finds Klamath Tribal Youth Council established

IMG_7115 (2)River Rondeau, 6, center, was one of the youngest participants in the social pow wow that kicked off the first Klamath Tribal Youth Summit the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 21.

While the rest of the world was debriefing about the eclipse, history was made quietly this week on the Oregon Tech campus.

The Klamath Tribes has pursued a youth initiative since early this year, and the first Youth Leadership Summit was held from Monday afternoon through Thursday noon. Ranging in age from 12 to 20, a total of 42 youth participated in workshops and activities meant to encourage leadership and educational opportunities.

Klamath Tribal Youth Council members

A highlight was the election of 15-year-old Ashia Wilson as the first Klamath Tribes Youth Council chairwoman. The Chiloquin High School sophomore was particularly inspired by Tyler Barlowe’s presentation on the evolution of Klamath and Modoc and songs.

“He spoke truth to us and was real. He influenced me in my candidate’s speech. I couldn’t read my notes, and I knew that speaking from my heart was the way to be authentic,” Wilson said.

Barlowe used his session to remind those in attendance that the songs and dance experienced at the previous day’s social pow wow were merely mimicry. The displays were taken from Plains Indians, who use these artistic expressions as entertainment for others. Modoc songs are shorter and simpler, and sung for a purpose.

The elder was raised by his grandparents, who were the children of Modoc War survivors. He told a standing room only group that the laws of nature do not allow for forgiveness, self-pity or shame. The young women were encouraged to pursue their education and career goals before having babies and committing to a man. “A man will want to be cared for, too, like a baby,” Barlowe said to hearty laughter.

Will Hess, one of the summit organizers, said Barlowe was a definite favorite of the youth. “Sometimes it is good to be shaken. We need elders to make us think, and younger people to bring things out in a new way,” he said.

“Young people are the threads holding us together,” he said. Hess said that one thing he noted in his youth was a lack of follow through by older Tribal members. Knowing that the future is uncertain, he was committed to seeing the youth summit through to completion. “I didn’t want to see it pushed off.”

Hess is among a group of 20-something young professionals who are strong examples for the youth, and members of the Klamath Tribes. Cholena Wright presented a session entitled Navigating Indigenous Identity: Building an Intrapersonal Relationship to Nation. Her declaration that each individual has a unique experience in their identity, and there is no competition in who can be more Native than someone else, resonated with Klamath Tribal Chairmain Don Gentry.

“My experience might have different, when I was younger, if I had known that,” Gentry said.

Doctoral student Joseph Dupris shared Strong Leaders and Strong Languages: Borrowing and Expressing New Ideas. He has read the Klamath language dictionary and is captivated by how words are added to a language, including creating new compound words. Dupris inspired Henry Rondeau in writing an original Klamath-language honor song for Thursday’s retiring of the colors.

Meanwhile Ada Ball provided insight into Contemporary Native Issues and Resistance. In today’s society, where people of color, including Tribal people, are marginalized, the simple act of taking a selfie can become an act of resistance.

The young adults were not the only presenters, however. Kathleen Hill provided three examples of documented leadership within the Klamath Tribes: Seldon E. Kirk, Marie Norris and Charles E. Kimbol, Sr. She noted that Klamath leadership is usually defined through Captain Jack and Chief Chiloquin. “There are many ways to be warriors,” she said. “Sometimes you have to take actions which are uncomfortable because it is what your people said.”

She noted that Native heroes rely on others and serve their people.

Bringing relevancy to the youth summit, Wright stated that 32 percent of Natives are under the age of 18, compared to only 24 percent of the total United States population being under the age of 18.

The summit was sponsored by The Klamath Tribes, Klamath Tribal Health and Family Services, and the Oregon Tech Native American Student Union.


Cancer, you deviant destruction, you better take leave of Martin Forbes


Photo by Kristen Forbes

Martin and Carolyn Forbes with their grandchildren: Grace Mueller holding Greta Daems, and Ryan Mueller.

Twenty years ago I worked on the copy desk at the Herald and News. The newsroom was filled with an assortment of characters most people would assume were born of hyperbole and prevarication. No one could invent that rogue’s gallery, but only Martin Forbes could tell the stories of personalities, who had passed through the doors, in a manner that would lead to giggles and tears.

It’s amazing that deadlines were routinely met, given the interpersonal dysfunction that seemed intrinsic to a small-town newspaper.

Martin started as a reporter, moved to the city editor slot, and ended his stent there as news editor. He moved on to be managing editor of the Lake Oswego Review, but I’d left the H&N in 2000. I dreaded the thought of being there without Martin.

Many of us are rallying for him now, as he stares down the scourge of esophageal cancer. It seems as obnoxious as any bit player in the history of the newsroom drama — only it’s hit a good man who has made is mark on many lives with his loving nature, cooking finesse, and storytelling.

Since laughter is the best medicine, I encourage him to remember the characters writ large in the pantheon of those not ready for primetime journalism:

  • The copy editor of “the Hebrew persuasion”, who was asked point blank by a co-worker why his people had killed Jesus Christ.
  • A dog named Beau who committed suicide following an unsavory interaction with a reporter.
  • Said reporter’s randy nature and a famous car-based interlude with a stuttering paramour who had to ask for the law enforcement officer’s flashlight to be diverted.
  • The publisher who used the royal “we”, which became confusing in talking about “our” wife.
  • Random calls from a former colleague, who was part of the Herald & News’ Camelot era, asking: “Will you be my Valentine?”
  • Only mentioning his current stay in Folsom when talking about said former colleague, implying being incarcerated but actually employed in a public relations position.
  • The former colleague’s wife making off with the custom pottery centerpieces from Martin’s eldest daughter’s wedding reception.
  • A certain manager who used editorial shears for a pedicure.
  • The historical re-enactor copy editor, who threatened to shoot a 50-caliber gun through an education reporter’s home.
  • Pocket turkeys as a Thanksgiving bonus.
  • A photo department employee who spent hours preparing the submitted photos from the local strip club for weekly advertisements.
  • The photographer who broke into the strip club, but left his truck behind so the police could trace him and learn of his thefts in Wyoming.
  • A photo technician who dreamed of starting a pornographic magazine with the photographer/burglar.
  • Boris the Cat, who was able to successfully defecate in the publisher’s coffee mug.
  • Martin’s reprimand for featuring a sand sculpture of Zeus on page one, causing the entire community to be exposed to a large sand phallus.

Martin, you are loved and beloved. Keep your chin up, and your sense of humor. You’ve seen many of us through dark days; let us help buoy you now.

Physical exertion and hijinx reigns supreme at Challenge


Photo by Marcus Peterson
Heidi Kester’s Moana won the Pelican Brief and Van Go Go awards at the 2017 Klamath Kinetic Challenge.

It’s all wild rides and silliness until someone’s chain breaks, and then the kinetic competitors pitch in to help their playmates get road worthy again.

The thirteenth Klamath Kinetic Challenge brought nine teams to the local course. Each was special in its team’s eyes, but only a fraction earned top status by completing the entire Challenge course following all of the rules.

Climbing the hill to Riverside School found the competitors facing the steepest ascent in all of kinetics, which makes the other road, sand, mud and water crossings look like child’s play.

Tule Kween ArtistE, known in her everyday life as Emily Lacy of Corvallis, commanded that everyone hydrate well. Her word of wisdom for the kinetic kingdom was marshmallow.

At the final awards banquet, Marcus Peterson’s Sweet Toot was provided a scholarship to compete at the Corvallis Da Vinci Days the weekend of July 15. Other awards include:

Pel Awards for completing the course, following all of the rules: Brave Sir Father and His Merry Minstrel, Banana Flash, Sweet Toot, Fired Up, Bouncing for Glory, and Sidehack.

Pelican Brief Award for shortest time in contest before a breakdown: Moana.

Road Runner Award for completing the Challenge in the shortest time: Brave Sir Father and His Merry Minstrel.

Dancing Grebe Award for largest splash on water entry: Fired Up.

Owl Award for best local entry: Sweet Toot.

Dead Last but Finished Award: Sidehack.

Mad Mudder for best mudpit crossing: General Maintenance.

Gizmomania Award for engineering excellence: Banana Flash.

Van Go Go Award for artistic excellence: Moana.

Eagle Award for all-around excellence: Banana Flash.

She’s a mild-mannered superhero


Dakota Victoria Angeli has touched more lives in her 18 years, than most people do in a century.

Eleven years ago she brought people together to heal her ailing body and to realize the fleeting quality of life on this Earth. She could have chosen to be withdrawn and frail, but she glimpsed the worst and has relished every experience and adventure.

As she graduates from high school and heads off to Oregon State University, I am not alone in remembering the heart valve that nearly took her life. The summer of 2006 caused many of us to know we are braver and stronger than we really know.

Her parents, Mike and Diana, were at loose ends. What would the future hold? Would they close the family outdoor store for Mike to find other employment? What would Diana do next?

Her brother, Alek, witnessed the fear and the resolve. It’s made him the outstanding man he’s become. He’s pursuing the healing arts, with the knowledge of what it means to see the totality of the human experience. Everyone is someone else’s loved one.

I’d like to believe I’d love the Angelis without Dakota’s illness. Mike and I are cut from the same piece of cloth, and Diana patiently tended to both of our needs when we worked together. How she survived raising two true children, and Mike and me, I’ll never really understand.

She’s a strong woman, and a role model who will always inspire Dakota. The same is true of Lou Ann Angeli, a woman who took her grandson on outings in Portland as his sister was confined to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Dakota and Alek have outstanding futures ahead. Both will excel where they place their attention and effort. Nothing has been handed to them in this life, which has made them thoughtful and appreciative for things others disregard.

To rear outstanding offspring in an age of disposable products, including relationships and values, is a success beyond measure. Come fall, the Angeli home will be a little less populated, but Mike and Diana have earned a new era of focus on each other.

Faced with surgery and needle pokes, Dakota had to grow up quickly. Watching her mature into the woman she is today has provided the opportunity for many of us to stand a bit taller.

Come what may, all we are ever promised is this very moment. It is up to us to make the most of it. Here’s wishing Dakota many more sublime moments to come. You’ve earned them.

Well, I guess we are all mortal


The original Valeree Lane in a pose that can only mean: And, what of it? I believe the ring around her neck is actually the string from her straw hat.

The unthinkable has happened and the Unsinkable Molly Brown, otherwise known as Debbie Reynolds, stepped into Eternity.

I’d like to think that it is unlike me to be drawn into a tragedy that is none of my business. However, the Brown movie means a lot in my family. It, and Reynolds, were favorites of my mother’s. My Aunt Carolyn remembers that Mom took her to see the film at a downtown Los Angeles theater. I believe it was Graumann’s Chinese Theater, and Aunt Carolyn has related that the sound system had them believing the flood scene was happening right below their feet. The character made such an impression that my aunt named a chocolate Lab Molly Brown.

I didn’t mentioned that my mother’s maiden name is Brown. There was probably a sense of kinship in the overall appreciation. Reynolds, a Texan just like Mom, was portraying a character who was most likely a distant cousin.

Mom had a strong belief that life would be just like her beloved musicals. If you keep a song in your heart and persevere, you’ll be rewarded in the end. In her lifetime, I thought that was naive. Now, I know I’m rather naive in thinking that people will do the right thing for the appropriate reasons. Only in the screenplay in my head.

Most of us run around acting like we are immortal, assured of another moment, day or year. That’s the most naive behavior of all. No one gets out of this experience alive.

I feel bad for the immediate family and other loved ones who are mourning  Ms. Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher. Loss is an ongoing process. To weather two deaths in the course of 36 hours is heart rending.

My spiritual belief is that we will be reunited with our loved ones in Eternity. For now, the loss of a family icon reminds me that we don’t know how long we’ll be separated before the reunion. For Fisher and Reynolds it was a day. Mom and I are starting our fifth year.

Every day is moving us closer together. Meanwhile, I need to remember that being naive is not a fatal flaw. A lack of faith and hope will kill you before you stop breathing.

Maybe we can take a lesson from the musicals, and greet each day with promise and a song. Just like in Singin’ in the Rain’s Good Morning sequence.


Santa dropped in for a special party

Kelly Award.jpg

Ross and Marcy Kelly receive the Jim Kelly Distinguished Service Award from Linkville Kiwanis Immediate Past President Melissa Clinton.

Straight off of two spectacular weeks of the Snowflake Festival, Santa made a special trip back to Klamath Falls Wednesday for a local children’s Christmas party.

The Linkville Kiwanis party for children with disabilities has been a club favorite since at least the mid-1970s. No one can remember when it began, but one partner has stood the test of time. The Kelly family, who have owned the Klamath Falls McDonald’s franchise since 1999, have made an indelible mark on the celebration.

The Kellys’ late patriarch Jim, looked forward to the party each year, and Linkville Kiwanis recently recognized his family with the first-ever Jim Kelly Distinguished Service Award.

Jim Kelly was a service-oriented example of civic-mindedness, who earned the Distinguished Flying Cross during his service in Vietnam. Those who knew Jim would agree that he never sought the limelight but was always there to cheer on others. He was extremely generous with his time, energy and assets. He always enjoyed pitching in on a project and was often the first to arrive and the last to leave.

In previous years, the Kellys provide the meals for the families in attendance. This year, a new approach was taken, with McDonald’s providing drinks and cookies for the occasion and a special gift of a Happy Meal gift certificate for each child. The children will be able to visit one of the local restaurants, and prolong the joy of the celebration.

Epicenter and Kiwanis worked together to provide pizza for those in attendance. As always, Santa mysteriously knew what each child desired as a present. The 28 children are students at Conger and Stearns elementary schools.

Kiwanis clubs, located in 80 nations, help their communities in countless ways. Each community’s needs are different—so each Kiwanis club is different. By working together, members achieve what one person cannot accomplish alone. When you give a child the chance to learn, experience, dream, grow, succeed and thrive, great things happen.

Service is at the heart of every Kiwanis club, no matter where in the world it’s located. Members stage nearly 150,000 service projects and raise nearly $100 million every year for communities, families and projects.

There are two Kiwanis clubs in the Klamath area: Linkville Kiwanis and Klamath Falls Kiwanis.

Panelists share personal culture in We Are Klamath event


We Are Klamath speakers, in the front row left to right, Bonita Fillmore, Raquel Poteet and Laty Xiyavong are surrounded by those who attended the event to hear about their cultural history.

We Are Klamath speakers, in the front row left to right, Bonita Fillmore, Raquel Poteet and Laty Xiyavong are surrounded by those who attended the event to hear about their cultural history.

We Are Klamath speakers, in the front row left to right, Bonita Fillmore, Raquel Poteet and Laty Xiyavong are surrounded by those who attended the event to hear about their cultural history.

It was a dark and stormy night when 42 people braved the elements to learn more about their friends and neighbors.

The We Are Klamath speaking panel featured Czech descendent of Malin’s Victorine family Bonita Fillmore, Raquel Poteet, an immigrant from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Laty Xiyavong, a Laotian immigrant of Thai heritage. Invited speakers from the Klamath Tribes and the Hispanic community were unable to attend.

While the speakers came from distinctly different backgrounds, each expressed a common theme in the willingness of those already in Klamath to help them find a home here. Fillmore shared that the Czech settlers arrived in September 1909 and immediately set out to clear sagebrush. W.C. Dalton provided his personal equipment on loan, as long as the borrower left a note written on the Dalton barn door.

Xiyavong’s parents received help in establishing the family restaurant Thai Orchid from local people who provided information and support in obtaining a building lease and opening a bank account. He believes the 17 years the family has lived in Klamath is the longest span the Xiyavongs have lived anywhere.

For Poteet, she needed to gain personal confidence in her new home. An educator in Brazil, her first job here was cleaning houses. Taking psychology courses at Klamath Community College prompted her to seek a job closer to her calling. She spent time as a preschool teacher, but now works with families through the Women Infants and Children program at Klamath County Public Health.

She says she has not experienced discrimination here, and feels at home with the Hispanic people and culture. The foods are very similar, and the people are inviting. Poteet and her husband have discussed leaving Klamath, but she is insistent that they keep a house in Klamath, as this is home.

The continuity of connection is something Xiyavong sees through the family restaurant. Many of Oregon Institute of Technology’s international students find their way through the establishment’s doors. The food and familiarity feels like a visit home.

Food is not the only connection to the past. Fillmore related that less than 20 years after the Czech settlers established Malin, the community hosted a large Sokol, or gymnastics, competition, drawing participants from across the United States. She also mentioned that Malin is named after an Eastern European town where horseradish is grown, as settlers found horseradish while clearing fields. Also, the Czech settlers brought the cultivation of potatoes to the Klamath Basin.

In a divisive period of American society, it is not always easy to see the commonality of humanity. For 90 minutes on October 24, it was easy to see that we all crave connection, communication and a place to call home.

We Are Klamath was sponsored by the Klamath Regional Health Equity Coalition, a program of Klamath County Public Health. The coalition seeks to help all individuals attain the highest levels of respect, health and wellness.

Audio podcasts of the speaker’s presentations can be found at krhec.org.