Hoopa Tribe Chairman Kills Only Area Paper Because of Marijuana Stories, Alleged Money Problems, and Interview with A Fugitive

The only newspaper based in Eastern Humboldt, The Two Rivers Tribune, which recently published a widely read interview with Humboldt’s most well known fugitive , Jason Hunsuker, has been ordered shut down immediately. The Hoopa Valley Tribe subsidizes the paper and Tribal Chairman, Leonard Masten Jr., citing the Hunsucker article as well as money issues and “articles promoting drugs” ordered the doors closed immediately.  According to the Tribune,

“It’s hard to watch our Newspaper doors being shut on us after we’ve worked tirelessly over the past two decades to make it what it is today,” Managing Editor Lorencita Lavine said after learning the news….

Both Lavine and [Interim Managing Editor, Allie] Hostler cannot recall a time when the Newspaper has ever promoted drugs. In fact, the Newspaper has always been an active supporter of healthy communities and anti-drug campaigns.

“I believe the Chairman is referring to our marijuana themed issue of the Paper published on June 28,” Hostler said. “If you read the stories, nothing in them promotes the use of marijuana, in fact, they promote the opposite. [See an excellent article on the growing marijuana on the Hoopa Reservation debate here.]

“We stand firm that we are doing our jobs in a manner that the Tribe and its membership can be proud of. Who else is going to serve as a watchdog to the powers that be if we don’t?,” Hostler said. “It’s a struggle to squeeze relevant and important information from government officials as it is. Without a Newspaper you can expect what’s left of democracy in our river communities to die. We are being threatened with our jobs for doing our jobs.”



  • Unbelievable. I’ve read three articles in the Two Rivers Tribune recently that were simply outstanding. Reading all of our publications on a daily and weekly basis, I was impressed with their continuing quality, coverage, fair reporting, and interest.

    See for yourself. The website is still up, but perhaps not for long. Readers can still access it with Kym’s link above for the brief time being.

    I especially liked Allie Hostler’s article, Cultural Controversy in Orleans, among others.

  • I read The Two Rivers Tribune weekly, I even keep a link to the on-line edition on the left hand side of my blog. I am very interested in the things that the people of the Klamath valley do and the different approach that they take to everyday problems. I’m extremely interested in their ideas of forest, land and river management. I like their “Take care of the Earth” attitude. I read with great intrigue about their thoughts on spiritual dancing and the effects that the dances might have. Although I might not agree with many things that the Klamath people do. I find their customs to be very thought provoking.

    I’ve been very impressed with the writing, the staff, and the management of the Two Rivers Tribune from the start. They have reported on the remarkable achievements, the level of skills, the talent, and the education of the Klamath people. Few news services could have gleaned some of the interviews that they have gotten.

    The Two Rivers tribune is a mirror that reflects the Klamath Valley. If they don’t like what they see, I would suggest that they not change the mirror, but themselves.

    Ernie Branscomb, Garberville, CA.
    Copy sent to Two Rivers Tribune

  • Well said, Ernie. Thank you. I sent an e-mail.

    From today’s Times-Standard article by Donna Tam and Kaci Poor,
    Hoopa Tribe Shuts Down Two Rivers Tribune Over Controversial Articles; Tribal Newspaper Staff Rallying Supporters For Council Meeting :

    “”It’s just really disturbing that one man who didn’t like our articles can basically take two decades worth of hard work on our part, and just close it,’ (Interim Managing Editor Allie) Hostler said.

    “Vice Chairman Byron Nelson Jr. said he ‘was a little surprised” about Masten’s decision to shut down the paper. .. ‘It’s not exactly like a paper on the outside,’ Nelson said. ‘It’s a tribal paper, and there are a lot of politics involved.’

    ” Hostler said the newspaper’s Internet access was disconnected shortly before the end of the business day, but she was able to get it reinstated. She plans to publish the paper on Tuesday and is trying to rally local supporters to attend a council meeting at 9 a.m. at the tribal office in Hoopa on Tuesday. ‘I don’t mean any disrespect to the Times-Standard or the North Coast Journal — unfortunately they’re not able to put the time and energy and effort into the community and the nitty-gritty stories out here. ‘We’re it,’ Hostler said. ‘At this point, I feel like we’ve proven ourselves. We’ve come a long way.’”

    Yes, they have come a long way. The Two Rivers tribune has become a real contender for journalistic awards by their outstanding coverage, I believe.

  • I’m new to the Two Rivers Tribune. I’ve been reporting at TRT for 3 weeks now. I appreciate everyone attention to this issue. It means a lot! Thanks to all the supporters out there, and to all of you who aren’t quite on board with us yet, we look forward to working hard to win you over. I’m inviting everyone to join the ‘I Support the Two Rivers Tribune’ facebook page.

    Thanks & take care,
    Scottie Meyers

  • Years ago, Byron Nelson ran the Tribal Newspaper and it was really good. Plenty of controversy and criticism of policies and personalities. I’m surprised that Byron, who wrote the wonderful Hoopa history “Our Home Forever” is not actively defending the newspaper. Perhaps he is and we are not aware of the politics.
    It seems a ploy on the part of Masten to suppress criticism and the public forum that the paper provides.

  • Thanks, Scottie. The TRT Facebook page Scottie Meyers mentioned joining for support is at:
    Support-the-Two-Rivers-Tribune Facebook Page .

    The San Francisco Chronicle also carried the article of the TRT impending closure as did the Arcata Eye.

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