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Klamath Tribes make per capita payments

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – For the first time in more than 50 years, the Klamath Tribes have distributed per capita payments from tribal revenue, officials said this week.

Mary Gentry, the tribal benefits administrator, said she was a small child when members last received per capita payments in 1954. She recalled going to the Klamath Agency to collect her check, worth about $200.

A short time later, the tribes lost federal recognition. The federal government provided a final payment to tribal members in 1980.

But Friday, the Klamath Tribes distributed per capita checks based on about $3.6 million in revenue to around 3,600 tribal members – providing members with about $1,000 a person.

The payments come from the tribal gaming operations at Kla-Mo-Ya casino. While exempt from state and local taxes, tribal members will be required to pay federal taxes.

Payments for those under age 18 will go into individual trust funds.

Some tribal members began waiting Thursday night at the Klamath Tribes Administration near Chiloquin. They came from Nevada, California and Washington, as well as the Klamath Basin.

Tribal members said the payments are a sign of improvement and progress toward the self-sufficiency they had in the 1950s.

“My children, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren are part of this,” Gentry said. “It’s exciting.”

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