‘… if we were to lose these few things that we have left I think it would be a blow that we may not be able to recover from. Maybe the tribes would just blow away to the four directions.’
Conflict is universal. But that doesn’t make it hurt any the less. The Klamath Conflict in rural Oregon has often worn a vicious and bloodied guise. Fear between warring rural communities defining the experience of life.
The causes of conflict lie deep. And for the most part, unexamined. We get so caught up in the detail of it all. The drama of right and of wrong. Of us versus them. Of possession and control, winners and losers.
But behind all of that is something far simpler. It’s where truth and consensus lie. And the journey there takes courage.
And in this protracted and often violent conflict there have been cast of characters who have led the difficult work towards understanding.
Jeff Mitchell, a Klamath Tribal Leader, is one such character. Living through the protracted experience of dispossession, he alongside others has seen a way through the pain of generations. Leaders in the Klamath Basin and their communities have had to deal with the fear of each other and a long history of injustice.
There now exists, at least with some, a collective realization that when one truly knows another there is an incalculable possibility to transform the way we live together. It would seem to be the possibility of this unsettled era.
This Film Portrait tells just a strand of a deeper human story of conflict. Further Films in the Series will set out to define the wider image.