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Dying for Water: Indians, Politics and Dead Fish in the Klamath River Basin

From: Rhoby Cook
Length: 58:30

A Native radio documentary on the impact and aftermath of the 2002 Klamath River fish kill. Read the full description.

Dyingforwatersign_small In the fall of 2002, disease raged through the warm and shallow water of the once-mighty Klamath River. Within days, 68,000 adult Chinook Salmon perished as they tried to return home to spawn. The story of this event flows through past and present, through the hearts, the voices and the songs of Tribal people who consider the fish their relatives, to the highest levels of government and corporate power. Aired on several community radio stations in Northern California during March, 2005. Aired nationally on the AIROS Network May 16 through 23, 2005. WILL RE-BROADCAST on AIROS, July 26th through August 1st at the following times: First Feed Date and Time: 7/26/05: 1000 Repeat Feed Dates and Times: 7/26/05: 1600, 2200 7/27/05: 0400 7/30/05: 1700 7/31/05: 0600, 1700 8/01/05: 0600

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Piece Description

In the fall of 2002, disease raged through the warm and shallow water of the once-mighty Klamath River. Within days, 68,000 adult Chinook Salmon perished as they tried to return home to spawn. The story of this event flows through past and present, through the hearts, the voices and the songs of Tribal people who consider the fish their relatives, to the highest levels of government and corporate power. Aired on several community radio stations in Northern California during March, 2005. Aired nationally on the AIROS Network May 16 through 23, 2005. WILL RE-BROADCAST on AIROS, July 26th through August 1st at the following times: First Feed Date and Time: 7/26/05: 1000 Repeat Feed Dates and Times: 7/26/05: 1600, 2200 7/27/05: 0400 7/30/05: 1700 7/31/05: 0600, 1700 8/01/05: 0600

3 Comments Atom Feed

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Review of Dying for Water: Indians, Politics and Dead Fish in the Kla

A refreshing approach to a story that needs telling.
The host/narrator slips from outside to inside
with ease: sometimes telling us, sometimes
commenting on what someone else said, occasionally
giving his take. The break in that fourth wall
works well. Good mix of voices, music used
sparsely for sweetening (though the choices of music
sometimes perplexed me). The doc starts out
just a bit preachy, but at least lets me know
that this is not an "outside about" but an "inside
about": that I shouldn't expect multiple facets.
Makes me want to hear more from the producer/s.
Good tech, too.

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Review of Dying for Water: Indians, Politics and Dead Fish in the Klamath River Basin

This is a great piece of work. The piece isn't just another environmental documentary. "Dying For Water" weaves cultural stories, myth, history, science and even Scotland into this sound rich tapestry. The interviews are authentic and intriguing. Great voices and there is humor as well. Not your usual fare when talking about endangered species. I love the traditional singing though I had trouble with the sound level of the singer/guitarist. She probably would have been better miked further away. It was a bit off putting. The host grew on me. At first I found him intrusive after hearing these great textured voices and wonderful archival reports from Native America Calling. But after a while I got used to his casual and friendly delivery. I just wanted him to link the other voices and topics more and follow the mood of the documentary more. Still great stuff and highly recommended. Stations in the Northwest and California should really take a listen to this piece. Salmon is one of our very pertinent concerns and this exploration by Hoopa Tribal Radio is a contender.

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Review of Dying for Water: Indians, Politics and Dead Fish in the Klamath River Basin

I wasn't prepared to like this piece. Since it was co-produced by Hoopa Tribal Radio, I assumed it would be one-sided and preachy in its telling of the story of an environmental disaster: The killing of 68,000 Chinook Salmon in the Klamath River Basin. While this documentary does indeed present only a single point-of-view, it's not at all preachy. But enough about my preconceptions. The focus should really be on this documentary. So, here goes: The production values are very high. There's a great mix of music, voices and natural sound. It's thoughtful and effective. The narrator is down-to-earth, easy to listen to and very non-NPR (and that's a great thing!). And most important, the content does a great job of telling the listener why the Chinook Salmon are so important to the tribal people in the area. Elders, anthropologists and tribal leaders explain the importance of the historical and cultural importance of salmon, but an average guy, about 19 minutes into this doc, says it best: "The salmon. That's our life ... We live in an area with 90 percent unemployment. Fish is what we eat in the winter time." And then there's this at about 23 minutes: "Fish can't live without water." OK. That's obvious enough. But wait. The government disagrees. At a public meeting, a federal official from the Bureau of Reclamation told a crowd, "We have no scientific proof that fish really do need water." Huh? It's an amazing, funny moment. It draws you in. And you want to learn more about the topic. Many programmers may be reluctant to air this piece in places far from Northern California, but this story --- the fight over water and the importance of natural resources to tribal people --- is universal.

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