Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bob Foreman, Redding Rancheria's First Chairman, Laid to Rest.

Bob Foreman Sr., tribal leader and rights activist, laid to rest yesterday

Yesterday hundreds of people gathered in Cottonwood , California to remember and honor Edward Robert “Bob” Foreman, Sr. who passed away on November 19, 2008.

Family and friends, federal government officials, and scores of others remembered Bob Foreman and told stories of his kindness, integrity, unselfish nature, and the struggles he took on and overcame to better the life of others.

Bob Foreman was one of the founders of the California Rural Indian Health Board (CRIHB) which provides health care services to Indians throughout Northern California . Through his efforts, several Indian health clinics and facilities were opened to serve the Indian community.

Bob Foreman was also instrumental in the re-recognition and re-organization of his tribe, the Redding Rancheria and was elected its first Tribal Chairman. Bob faithfully served on the tribe’s governing council for 20 years, and he played a major role in opening the tribe’s Win River Casino.

In 2004, after decades of service to the Indian community and his tribe, Redding Rancheria tribal officials disenrolled Bob Foreman and his family. The disenrollment, which was carried out in violation of tribal and federal laws, spurred on Bob to “roll up his sleeves” once again and advocate for the rights of individual Indians.

Bob Foreman and his family organized several demonstrations around California to bring attention to the abuses of power and civil rights violations being committed by tribal officials. His efforts led him to help organize Indian people from California and throughout the United States to fight rights abuses. They eventually formed an organization known as the American Indian Rights and Resources Organization (“AIRRO”) with Bob as one of its original members and founders. Bob Foreman worked diligently to end the abuses and rights violations put upon Indian people until his passing.

As befitting a man who gave so much and gave so much of himself; a man who understood that being a true leader was not measured by how much money you had or how many possessions you accumulated but by what you gave back to your people and the community; and a man always willing to help others, Bob Foreman was given a hero’s send off.

An honor guard escorted Bob Foreman and those who came to celebrate his life the 15 plus miles from Cottonwood to the Veteran’s Cemetery in Igo. The procession drove through Anderson and the Redding Rancheria, Bob’s home, as local law enforcement closed off traffic. Bob Foreman was laid to rest with full military honors.

While Bob Foreman may no longer be with us, based on those who gathered to celebrate his life and the stories they shared, it is safe to say that his spirit and his legacy will live on.

It is up to those of US, who survive Bob, to follow his lead and example. Work hard to overcome the abuses of Indian people by corrupt tribal officials.
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