Academic journal article Oregon Historical Quarterly

Salmon Is Everything: Community-Based Theatre in the Klamath Watershed

Academic journal article Oregon Historical Quarterly

Salmon Is Everything: Community-Based Theatre in the Klamath Watershed

Article excerpt

SALMON IS EVERYTHING: COMMUNITY-BASED THEATRE IN THE KLAMATH WATERSHED

by Theresa May

foreword by Gordon Betties

Oregon State University Press, Corvallis 2014.

Illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index.

208 pages. $19.95 paper.

In 2002, an environmental catastrophe occurred along the Lower Klamath River. An estimated 60,000 salmon died prematurely on their way through the watershed. A primary reason for the death toll involved low water levels caused by dams that diverted volumes of water to farmers upriver. In the antagonistic political uproar that followed, tribal people affected were not consulted about any ideas for future prevention of such carnage.

Salmon is Everything emerges from that context. Along with theatre professor Theresa May, tribal members in the area created a community-based play that dramatizes the consequences of that devastating event. The book also includes essays that explain the play's genesis and illuminate the processes of collaboration.

From the foreword to the last essay, the book gives voice and presence to the meanings of salmon in the lives of Karuk, Yurok, Hupa, Klamath, and Modoc community members. Almost all agreed that such a calamity can be avoided by getting rid of the dams; and all discussed what is now called the fish kill as a horrific loss of traditional practices and connections, viscerally felt. …

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