December 22, 2004 11:00 pm

Elk meat shared by all

To the Editor:

Recently Irvin Curtis Watters Sr. and his son were found guilty of hunting out of season in July 2003 when the two men harvested elk from Boise Cascade land on Smith Mountain.

According to the Nez Perce Treaty of 1855 the Nez Perce are not bound by seasons.

The meat taken was to feed those who attended the 13th annual Friendship Feast in Wallowa, and it was the 13th time these hunters had provided the meat .

It was not the first time Irvin Sr. had been cited for hunting the same area either. He told me that in the 1960s a Fish and Game officer arrived at his camp on Smith Mountain and confiscated an elk he had hanging in a tree.

The case was heard by Wallowa's municipal judge, Mrs. Couch. As the story goes, not only was he found innocent, Judge Couch instructed the officers to take his elk back and hang it where they found it.

I have not studied law, and don't pretend to understand all the issues at hand. I have read the 1855 treaty though, and I don't understand how the Nez Perce Nation can be judged in our court system. Only sovereign nations can have treaties with the U.S.A.

And a jury of their peers — in Wallowa County? — come on.

I have helped prepare that meal, and I ate it, as did many others. If they are guilty so are we, by consumption. I think around 600 people were at that feast.

My purpose here really is to give heart-felt apologies to the Watters family for the empty courtroom during their trial, and heart-felt gratitude for their continuing efforts to foster good relations between the indigenous people and contemporary residents of this beautiful Nez Perce homeland.

Mary Knutson



Appreciate police efforts

To the Editor:

On Thanksgiving eve I was stopped by the state police for having a burned out headlamp on my truck that I was not aware of. The officers were courteous and


I always remember an incident many years ago in Missouri involving a co-worker who had two girls ages 8 and 11, and was married to a state police officer. He pulled over a vehicle for speeding, and when he approached the driver he was shot and left dead on the highway.

When we complain "Where are the police when we need them?" remember they can't be everywhere and they are not psychic.

They never know if they may have to face someone civil or angry — or a life threatening situation.

We need to appreciate their efforts and diligence to keep us safe.

Marilyn Rice

La Grande


Monument to sacrifices

To the Editor:

In Flanders Fields the poppies grow between the crosses row on row. And in the the sky the larks, still bravely singing, fly, scarce heard amid the guns below.

And in Vietnam and Korea and along our far flung battle line, from the Fulda Gap to Europe and back, our young men and women lay down their lives so that our farms and forests and our cities would be forever a monument to their sacrifices.

To ensure that their sacrifices were not wasted nor spent in vain, those of us who remained passed laws to secure that our farm and forest lands and our livable spaces would not be wasted and lost to greed and fleeting profit.

Thus we had our Oregon land-use laws, based on the reasonable theory and fact that the small or temporary loss of profit was a reasonable price to expect those of us who did not lie in Flanders Fields or in lonely graves along our far flung battle lines to pay.

Were we wrong? Is it fair to balance a few dollars profit against the loss of the lives of our best and bravest? Should we not think of that loss and balance it against the damage to our land and forest assets and the loss of livability if we give in to temptation, and forget that it is fair for those of us remaining to compare our loss of profits with the loss of those whom we can repay in no other way?

Charles R. Cater

La Grande


Pray for soldiers

To the Editor:

My brother and many other locals are members of the 116th that is on the ground in Kuwait preparing to convoy north for their duty in Kirkuk.

They will be leaving Kuwait sometime between Dec. 10 and 20, and their journey will take about five days. These brave men and women are giving up their holidays to serve our country and restore freedom to a country in turmoil.

They need our prayers.

Their trip will take them right through the "triangle of death," as many reporters are calling the area in and around Baghdad.

They are expected to convoy through great violence and unrest. Please take time out of your busy schedule to lift up these soldiers in prayer during their dangerous journey.

Nancy White

La Grande


A feast of joy

To the Editor:

The Christmas concert Dec. 4 and 5 at Eastern Oregon University played again to packed audiences. It heralded in the Advent season with such talent, beauty and staging that as the "Hallelujah" chorus ended we were transported through our senses to the place where we are stirred to reveal our best selves.

The local and Eastern choral groups, the Grande Ronde Symphony, the fiddlers, the Jazz Ensemble, the exotic drummers and the outstanding soloists are all a part of our community and we appreciate our neighbors, our faculty and our students taking many hours to prepare this feast of joy.

We again acknowledge the cultural jewel of Eastern Oregon University that showcased this event and The Observer for sponsoring this holiday affair.

Doc and Mickey Savage

La Grande


Unfair to deputy

To the Editor:

Once was not enough?

Butch Hulse is not the only law enforcer who has been in that kind of trouble. I know of a couple more that never made the paper.

He is doing everything he can to make amends, why don't you leave him alone and let him get on with his life? Did you know that he has little children this might affect? Even hardened criminals only get printed up once in the records.

What's up with you people?

Charlotte Bauer

La Grande