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Amy Cordalis

The General Counsel for the Yurok Tribe of Northern California will share the story of her tribe's efforts to reclaim the river.

Reclaiming the Klamath

March 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Hudson Hall, Rogers Music Center
Free admission

On March 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Willamette University’s Hudson Hall, Amy Cordalis, general counsel for the Yurok Tribe of Northern California, will tell the story of the Klamath River and her tribe’s efforts to reclaim the river from farms for fish. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for “Reclaiming the Klamath,” which is free and open to the public. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

In the Klamath Basin, tribes, farmers, and fisherman are vying for the scarcest resource — water — creating one of the most complex and unsettled disputes in the country. For decades, the basin has been saddled with near-constant litigation and high stakes political battles.

Cordalis will explain how federal management favored farms and ranches at the expense of the river and the basin’s fisheries, and she’ll discuss how a process of “adaptive management” is the future of the basin.

Cordalis’ family is from the village of Requa on the mouth of the Klamath River in Northern California. Her great-uncle’s Supreme Court case, Mattz v. Arnett, confirmed tribal boundaries and fishing rights in 1973. Cordalis continues her family’s legacy by working to restore the Klamath River while advocating for indigenous human, cultural, and religious rights and tribal sovereignty.

Before Cordalis delivers the 17th Dempsey Lecture at Willamette, the university will host a free showing of the documentary “A River Between Us” on March 5 at 7 p.m. in the Paulus Lecture Hall, within the College of Law’s Collins Legal Center.

Cordalis’ visit and presentation are sponsored by the Dempsey Foundation and Willamette University’s Environmental Science Department.