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- 1 2018-08-08T17:31:19-07:00 Dana Reijerkerk 3c44fb85ab096c2290175e81dd4f16f0002a41e0 Reaching out to the American Public Dana Reijerkerk 9 Our Seneca people and our supporters worked to bring attention to what was going to happen to our aboriginal homelands. structured_gallery 2018-08-24T19:05:50-07:00 Dana Reijerkerk 3c44fb85ab096c2290175e81dd4f16f0002a41e0
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Second Look at Kinzua: The Morality of Building Kinzua Dam
"The forced dispersal of a whole community is an irrevocable act, and ought to be considered only when no feasible alternative exists. " -"Second Look at Kinzua", The Washington Post, 1960
There are two sides to every story. The take area for the Allegheny Reservoir was land that fell below the 1365 elevation line. Our Seneca people living on the Cornplanter Grant and the Seneca Nation's Allegany Territory and several non-Native communities, such as the village of Corydon were forced to relocate.
- "Second Look at Kinzua", January 24, 1960
No one questions the desirability of a project intended to end the disastrous floods on the upper Allegheny River. But it is open to serious question whether the only way in which the Corps of Engineers can achieve this end is by dishonoring a treaty with the Seneca Indians signed in 1794 by George Washington-the oldest treaty, incidentally, to which the United States is a party and which is still in force.
Impounding of the funds appropriated by the Congress after long and exhaustive Congressional review, and after resolution by our judicial process of the legal right of the Federal Government to acquire the property necessary to the construction of the reservoir, would not be proper.-President John F. Kennedy, August 9, 1961
-Brooks Atkinson, February 25, 1964
Our home no longer belongs to us. It is the sole property of the Army Corps of Engineers. We are merely living in it because we have no other place to go. There is no money for us to put into a new home. We have just eight months left. Eight months to say good-bye to home, valley and a heritage I've known for eighteen years. How much harder it must be for those having to say good-by to generations of living, growing and dying inherited by a plot of ground called home.
-Clarence Wesley, January 28, 1960
Again according to reliable professional information, Kinzua Dam will not give Pittsburgh and other communities down the Allegany River protection from flood control. Our information is that Kinzua Dam is wanted in order to wash industrial plant waste down the river; competent engineers assert that what is needed is a good job of cleaning up the stream. Congressman Gavin has admitted that what the proponents of the Dam want is really more water in the river.
-Senator Joseph S. Clark, January 30, 1960
Five alternative proposals have been found to be engineeringly sound but more costly than the authorized project. The sixth proposal, the Committee commented, "does not provide a solution to the water resource development problems of the Allegheny River Basin that compares favorably with the authorized plan." In addition, it would raise new problems, such as flooding of the Conewango watershed, a valuable agricultural area, and the complication of international jurisdiction.
-William G. Weart, August 13, 1961
Completion of the 179-foot high dam, the largest in Pennsylvania, is schedules for 1965. The man-made lake will extend north to Salamanca, N.Y., and will inundate 9,000 acres or two-thirds of the usable land on the New York reservation of the Seneca nation of Indians. The project will displace more than 1,000 white persons and some 550 Indians.
-Theodore B. Hetzel, November 3, 1959
Does a sovereign nation have the right of eminent domain in a situation in which it has made a treaty that it will not exercise that right? Of course it is legal for the sovereign Government of the United States to break every treaty it ever agreed to, but it would not be ethical, and it would not improve our international relations.
In the 1950s and 1960s our elders protested Kinzua Dam through publications, legal action, and symbolic protests. On August 12, 1961 a small group of Quakers, the self-proclaimed Treaty of 1794 Committee and some of our Seneca people gathered in Kinzua, Pennsylvania for a silent vigil in protest of the dam.
In the 1950s and 1960s our elders protested Kinzua Dam through publications, legal action, and symbolic protests.
On August 12, 1961 a small group of Quakers, the self-proclaimed Treaty of 1794 Committee and some of our Seneca people gathered in Kinzua, Pennsylvania for a silent vigil in protest of the dam.
By this time it was becoming increasingly clearer that the dam was going to continue to be constructed. A few days earlier, on August 9th, 1961, Seneca Nation President Basil Williams had received U.S. President John F. Kennedy's reply to his appeal for the President to step in and stop the dam's construction.