The Klamath Tribes Announces New Chairman William E. Ray, Jr.

Swearing in held during the May 22 Tribal Council Meeting

The Klamath Tribes Announces New Chairman William E. Ray, Jr.

The Klamath Tribes announced William E. Ray, Jr. as presiding Chair for the Klamath Tribes following the resignation of former Chairman Clayton Dumont, Jr., May 13.

The Klamath Tribes’ Tribal Council officially welcomed William E. Ray, Jr. as Chairman for the Klamath Tribes on May 22 during a swearing-in ceremony before a full auditorium of attendees.

Chairman Ray Jr., in a solemn and emotional address to the audience, underscored his unwavering commitment to the Klamath Tribes. He expressed the weight of his new role, emphasizing the significant responsibilities that lie ahead.

“I know what we have at stake as a nation,” he said. “And I believe that, and you’ve heard me say this before, some of you, that we are a first nation; we were here first. Not all the things that they say, don’t believe them about the history, we know our history. And we need to keep it alive. The way we do that is through our culture and the way that we’re going to keep it alive in the Western world. They have us here for 18,000 years now.

“Well, we’re going to be around a lot longer. But we have to have our land healed. So, we can carry on our culture. Without that, native people can’t live – without that. And we have a serious thing that is going to possibly happen to us when one of our things that we rely on heavily, might be going away. One of our fish. And it at all affects us. We have to rethink smartly and strategically from here on out. So, we don’t lose anything else. We can’t afford it. As Mr. Jackson pointed out, we have to save what we have left. And get back what we need to get back, which is our land. We’ve got to have our land base back and then increase it so it can sustain us. So I’m here to serve the people.”

Chairman Ray Jr. will lead the Klamath Tribes until the February 2025 election, when he is expected to seek re-election. He stressed in his comments that his tenure will be marked by a strategic approach to preserving the Tribes’ culture while addressing the challenges that lie ahead.