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Fighting Hunger in the Klamath River Basin

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It worked out well that Lisa Hillman was at the tiny airport in McKinleyville, Humboldt County, when I called her to talk recently. She usually doesn’t have cell service.

That’s because Ms. Hillman, a member of the Karuk Tribe who works as program manager for its Píkyav Field Institute, lives two hours away in the town of Orleans, along the Klamath River.

Also a long drive away from her home: The nearest grocery store.

“They just opened up a supermarket in Hoopa, which is 40 minutes away,” she told me. “But they’re all small and they’re all super expensive.”

The tribes, like the Karuk, who live in the vast, towering forests of the Klamath River Basin — who have for centuries hunted deer and gathered acorns, who knew how to weave baskets to catch once-plentiful salmon — now face food shortages at higher rates than almost anywhere else in the country.

a sick river and heroin abuse have plagued communities in the Klamath River Basin.]

While 11.8 percent of households nationally experience some level of food insecurity, a recent federally funded five-year study found that 92 percent of the households in the Klamath Basin suffer from some kind of food insecurity. Almost 65 percent rely on food assistance, compared with 12 percent nationally.

But the research, which Ms. Hillman worked on along with academics from U.C. Berkeley, also found that those community members lacked access to indigenous foods — and those could better feed those communities today.

Native foods, according to the federal definition, are plants or animals that are hunted, harvested, gathered, grown or prepared using traditional Native American methods. Such foods can be wild or cultivated and they’re specific to locations and distinct cultures.

Ms. Hillman said her grandparents were taught to be ashamed to be Native American. They were sent to a faraway boarding school.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s apology to the state’s Native Americans and about tribal leaders’ responses.]

Climate change and poor forest management have made the lands that are left less fertile for food sources. As my colleague Jose Del Real reported last year, salmon runs have declined.

On top of all that, there aren’t as many employment opportunities in remote areas, so all people can afford, Ms. Hillman said, are unhealthy commodity foods: white flour, processed sugar and milk in communities where most people are lactose intolerant.

“It’s absolutely a dead ringer for diabetes and heart disease and obesity,” Ms. Hillman said.

But Ms. Hillman said she sees promise for Native American agriculture in the most recent Farm Bill.

The New York Times]

Also: Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, said in a statement that the rule would potentially scare off the world’s “best and brightest” scholars, who she said conduct important research and “contribute substantially to the economy.”

— In another battle, California and more than two dozen other states and cities sued the Trump administration over its plan to roll back restrictions on coal-burning power plants. The case could have far-reaching ramifications for how the federal government can fight climate change in the future. [The New York Times]

— Andre Moye Jr., the California Highway Patrol officer who was killed in what officials described as a “long and horrific” gun battle, was remembered for his “service heart.” [The Press-Enterprise]

California is considering making ethnic studies mandatory. But details about the curriculum are sparking debates. [The Los Angeles Times]

Plácido Domingo has been placed under investigation by the Los Angeles Opera, which he helped found and has led, following a report by The Associated Press that he sexually harassed women over years. The San Francisco Opera canceled a concert with him in October. [The New York Times]

— At Beautycon in L.A., Priyanka Chopra probably expected to field questions about her self-care routine and female empowerment. Instead, another beauty influencer asked her about a tweet in which she referenced the tensions between India and Pakistan. [The New York Times]

— After San Diego paid out $1.7 million in a legal settlement related to a Segway injury, the city is imposing new safety and insurance requirements on tour companies. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

Also, here’s more about the emerging realm of e-scooter liability. [The New York Times]

Snoop Dogg made good on a promise to throw an after party for the 30th reunion for Long Beach Poly High class of 1989. Attendees said it was as fun as it sounds. [The Press-Telegram]

Tejal Rao recently feasted at Berkeley’s Cafe Ohlone and came away recommending that we do, too.

she wrote. It’s where a member of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the Bay Area lovingly recovers native cuisine and uses its ingredients as inspiration for new dishes.

Cafe Ohlone is worth a visit, Tejal wrote, “not only to eat, but to listen.”

California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, went to school at U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter, @jillcowan.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.



California Today correspondent, keeping tabs on the most important things happening in her home state every day. @jillcowan

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