Drain the Reservoirs, Return California’s Stolen Land

The destruction of dams on the Klamath River provides an encouraging precedent for progressives throughout California. As was breathlessly reported in the San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere, indigenous tribes are now able to recover their sacred land and revive their ancestral villages and way of life. It is time for California’s progressive supermajority to do the right thing and return all stolen land to the first peoples. They can start by draining the rest of California’s reservoirs.

Not only is demolishing California’s dams, draining all of its reservoirs, and returning the restored riverfront property to their rightful claimants an appropriate reparatory gesture, but it will also set the rivers themselves free. Unshackled, they will again be welcoming habitats for salmon and other aquatic life, able to send torrents of nurturing fresh water into California’s Central Valley and ultimately into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The first target in this noble effort should be to blow up the O’Shaughnessy Dam and drain the Hetch Hetch Reservoir, which supplies water to the City of San Francisco. Surely the enlightened voters and elected officials in San Francisco will eagerly support this long overdue demolition. Once Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is empty, a beautiful valley, twin to Yosemite, will be exposed in all its granite grandeur once again, and the valley can be reoccupied by the Miwok, Yokuts, Washoe, Mono, and Paiute tribes, where they can recreate their ancient villages and recover their ancient ways. And why stop there?

Draining Lake Shasta will enable the Winnemem Wintu tribe to restore their villages that, for nearly a century, have been inundated, and they can again live peacefully in the upstream canyons of the Sacramento River headwaters. Similarly, blasting down the Oroville Dam will set the Feather River free again at last and empower the Maidu, Paiute, and Washoe tribes to repopulate the liberated riverbanks. Blowing up the Trinity Dam will allow the Yurok and Hoopa nations to return to their sacred river. Similarly, blasting the New Melones Dam to smithereens will set free the Stanislaus River, and the reclaimed land can be returned to the Yokuts people.

Just the removal of these five dams will free over 12 million acre feet of water to journey “unimpaired” from California’s alpine heights to its ocean estuaries. But to be true to the principles they so self-righteously seek to impose on everyone, they must not stop there. All of these dams, these arrogant monuments to European hubris, must be demolished. California has over 1,500 reservoirs on its water grid. Together, they imprison over 41 million acre feet of water each year. Destroy them all! Return the land to its proper owners, California’s first peoples, along with the fish and the waterfowl.

As California proceeds to correct the errors of previous generations of colonial usurpers, it might also reintroduce the magnificent species that were so cruelly diminished in earlier times. Wolves and grizzly bears must be reintroduced to their original habitats, starting with the Santa Cruz Mountains, overlooking one of California’s many urban abominations, the Silicon Valley. They may range freely from the peaks down to the foothills, along the verdant reclaimed creeks, and into the illegitimate suburbs, because it is their land.

In further pursuit of environmental and social justice and to ensure the restored ecosystems of California regain their rightful stewardship, Californians must abandon all of their plush and unsustainable suburbs and allow nature to reclaim these violated lands. As California’s settler colonials vacate their stolen strongholds in the Silicon Valley, from the Apple Torus to the mansions of Atherton, the Ohlone family of tribes shall take their place, to live in harmony with free-ranging wolves and grizzlies.

For the last several decades, California’s entire political leadership has been committed to dismantling the state’s economy in slow motion, but why go slow? With respect to liberating California’s rivers, why limit this magnificent display of virtue to a handful of small dams on the Klamath River? And why limit the displacement of white usurpers to the occupiers that presumptuously engage in farming and ranching on the Klamath watershed? If they must be expelled to make way for tribes and fish up there, why not everywhere? Why not expel all of California’s invading multitudes?

This is the example that California surely ought to be offering to the world. Give it all back to the First Peoples and eliminate all traces of abusive infrastructure. Why merely demolish the Copco Dam up north and drain its tiny lake when Hetch Hetchy beckons in all of its abominable infamy? Break the dams! Release the rivers!

If all of this sounds crazy, that’s because it is crazy. But it is consistent with the ideology being taught in California’s schools, the ideology informing the state legislature and state agencies, and the ideology used to justify litigation and agency harassment of productive farmers and ranchers throughout the state. The logical extension of California’s environmentalist policies is to end civilization as we know it. But California’s progressive elites are not crazy, nor are they idiots. So what is their actual motivation?

The nihilistic solutions these extreme green and extreme equity policies embrace are driven by special interests whose actual goal is to centralize power, wealth, and land ownership, putting it under the control of billionaires, mega corporations, managed wealth funds, NGOs, and compliant puppet governments, which would include these tribal nations but would also include America’s federal and state governments and all of the surrounding institutions. The tribes participating in these policies should take note: you are being played, and whatever sovereignty you still have is going to slip away before this is over.

Also being played, on a much more massive scale, are California’s tens of millions of progressive voters who still believe the narrative instead of recognizing the reality rapidly descending on them. Concerns about climate and equity are a ruse. The reality is that ordinary citizens are being deprived of any hope for financial independence and instead are becoming increasingly dependent on charity and government “entitlements.” Where will it end? Shall we submit to being reduced to the status of livestock, wearing VR goggles, living in pods, eating bugs, obediently living for curated hits of dopamine from an AI-driven Panopticon until an AI-driven death panel determines it’s time to die? Expressing this dark scenario would be nothing but paranoid drivel, except for the inconvenient fact that it’s perilously close to the path we’re on.

It’s easy enough to dismiss the systematic destruction of the Klamath River agricultural economy as something happening to a small population in a remote area. The entire population of California’s upper Klamath River region—Siskiyou and Modoc counties—is barely 50,000 people. But although the Klamath watershed is remote, it is vast, and across America, these underpopulated but sprawling rural landscapes are being picked off, one after another.

The destruction of the Klamath River farming and ranching economy is part of a broader assault, coming from a technology-driven elite that masquerades as virtuous proponents of environmentalism and racial equity. They are confident they shall suppress the protestations of those who recognize how these virtues have devolved into nihilism, and confident they shall sustain the masquerade until they dominate the world.

This article originally appeared in American Greatness.

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