Bob Foreman, Redding Rancheria's first tribal chairman and a pioneer in north state American Indian health clinics, died Wednesday after a long illness. He was 72.
An Achumawi Pit River Indian, Foreman was remembered Thursday by friends and family as a tireless advocate for Indian rights, skilled communicator and loyal patriarch.
He was born June 12, 1936, in Lake County. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, he worked in construction as did his father, said daughter Carla Maslin of Redding. In the late 1960s, he began his campaign to get Indians health care in the north state.
His efforts paid off in 1971, with the opening of the federally financed Shasta-Trinity-Siskiyou Rural Indian Health Center in Anderson.
"Bobby was a real devoted guy to his tribe," said Everett Freeman, tribal chairman of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians near Corning. "He almost single-handedly got Indian health to where it is today."
Larry McClanahan, a Navajo Indian who moved to Cottonwood from Arizona in 1972, said Foreman was one of the first people he met in the north state. He and his family were glad to receive clinic services.
"He took me as I was," McClanahan recalled. "He was a man that was concerned for people."
|Bob Foreman, Chairman of The Redding Rancheria|
Dishonored by a Corrupt Council
Rod Lindsay, a Shasta Lake city councilman who works with the Office of Indian Education for the Anderson Union High School District, also met Foreman through the clinic. Lindsay said Foreman was a mentor for many, sharing his knowledge of culture and history with the young.
Foreman also was instrumental in organizing the Redding Rancheria Indian Health Clinic on Churn Creek Road and served as director, later retiring as self-governance coordinator for the rancheria, Maslin said.
In 1985, when the rancheria regained its tribal status, Foreman was elected as its first chairman and subsequently served on the tribal council.
But in 2004, he and all his family members were disenrolled after a bitter dispute over his mother's maternal lineage. The struggle took a toll on his health, Maslin said.
Foreman suffered from heart and kidney problems, she said.
Leah Harper, a family friend of more than 20 years who does native medicine work in Redding, said she wanted to stand out in front of the Churn Creek clinic with a "thank you" banner in Foreman's honor.
"I believe that Bob had the heart of the native people and he wanted to make a difference for them," she said. "Bob was loving and the children are loving and they work very hard."
In addition to Maslin, Foreman is survived by three daughters and three sons, as well as 15 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Funeral services are pending.
For her part, Maslin is grateful her father last year was able to do something he'd always wanted - to see the Grand Canyon.
"He actually got emotional just looking at it," she said. "He was in awe of its beauty and couldn't believe the world had such a beautiful place."
His family is still fighting for their right to belong to the tribe that Mr. Foreman worked so hard for. The Redding Rancheria council members who abused their power and disgraced themselves, should be ashamed..and shunned.