Featured News, Siskiyou

Asians That Live and Cultivate Cannabis in Shasta Vista Stood Holding Signs in Support

Originally Witten July 15th, 2021

In protest from the officer involved shooting and death of Soobleej Kaub Hawj of Kansas City, Kansas, during the evacuation of the Mount Shasta Vista Subdivision from the Lava Fire on June 29th, Zurg Xiong, a resident of the same subdivision in the Hmong and Asian community, has been on a hunger strike at the entrance of the new Siskiyou County Courthouse building in Yreka since last Sunday.  

Many other Asians that live and cultivate cannabis in Shasta Vista stood around Xiong holding signs in support  and demanding for changes in the water ordinances and transparency of the shooting investigation in which they believe they are not getting. 

“I will continue this hunger strike until talks are made or until I die.”

Surrounded by his supporters from the Mt Shasta Vista Subdivision, Zurg Xiong sits in front of the county courthouse for the past week on a hunger strike in protest of the officer involved shooting of a Hmong man.  

Tryes Cha, is a Hmong and ran for the Yreka City Council in 2020 but did not win the seat.

“I have worked in the Social Security Department on eligibility cases since 2016. I have a family and I am an US citizen. The Hmong want an independent investigation into the shooting. We are in support of law enforcement but we demand prompt information given to the public about the shooting. The Sheriff Department has not spoken to the Hmong or contacted the witnesses in the shooting. We have no trust with the Sheriff. There has been no outreach from them to the Hmong community.”  

Tryes Cha
Two Hmong hold up pictures of themselves fighting the Lava Fire on their property in the Mt Shasta Vista Subdivision during their protest at the Siskiyou County Courthouse. Many Hmong told their stories of how they had to fight the Lava Fire themselves when the firefighters did not want to come onto their properties. 

On Sunday, the Hmong at the courthouse told their individual stories of how they had to fight the Lava Fire themselves when it burned into the Shasta Vista Subdivision because the firefighters

“refused to come into Shasta Vista Subdivision to fight the fire to which many Hmong fought themselves.”

Using a translator,  they claim that 50% of their  marijuana cultivation and their living quarters were destroyed and they lost everything they owned. Along with Xiong, they say they feel unsupported by the county and the firefighters who would not go into their area to fight the fire.  Of the Hmong who spoke, they each claimed that they are United States citizens. Wiping away tears as he spoke, one man told his story of how he sacrificed his life as he fought in the Vietnam war for the US and took asylum here in the states.  Others held pictures of themselves fighting the fire on their property and even showed burns that they sustained during the ordeal. 

A petition has been started on change.org demanding for justice.  Their demands are: 

  • 1. Remove the Water Ban Ordinance passed on May 4, 2021 (Ordinance 21-08)
  • 2. Release of body cams in the shooting on June 29, 2021.
  • 3. Federal Investigation into the Lava Fire
  • 4. Federal Investigation into the shooting of Soobleej Kaub Hawj
  • 5. Resignation of Sheriff LaRue

There are many caucasians that also live in the same area and are afraid to give their names in retaliation from the Hmong.  In one statement about the Lava Fire from a Shasta Vista resident that does not want her name associated with this article said,

“We had many LEO’s (law enforcement officers) out helping, preventing looters, preventing re-entry into dangerous areas and trying to keep the peace.  Forces from Sutter, Butte, Yuba, Tehama, Paradise police, Yreka police and a bunch of other groups of officers from places who I can’t remember them all checking in with the SAR teams (search and rescue) at the LSFD fire station at 6:30 a.m., and with the relief crews checking in at 6 p.m.  I also want to note that animals were left behind and both the firefighters and police helped save them, somewhere left in structures and some were tied up.” 

Another neighbor said that as the fire spread through their area, she heard propane or chemical tanks blowing up from 8 miles away and that is why the firefighters would not go into their area.

“I don’t hate them, but I hate what they are doing to our community and they are poisoning the ground living there without having septic tanks and dumping toxins right into the dirt. I can tell you that I have seen a gun waved in my direction. The UPS guy told me that he had seen a guy with a machine gun. The porta potty guy wont go out there anymore for that same reason. They have armed look-outs at every entrance.”

Mr Treys says that he is a law abiding citizen and if people break the law they should be arrested regardless of who they are. Another Hmong man said that they are like an apple tree. Most are law abiding but the few that aren’t are making the rest of the Hmong look bad. Another resident in Mt. Shasta Vista said,

“This is a residential area. It is not zoned commercial. If the county wanted them to grow commercially they would have a county license, I-9’s for employees,  have the ground and crops inspected by the department of Cannabis through the Ag office, have their product tested and labeled, and pay a tax per ounce. California already has guidelines in place for this. And in Siskiyou County the law is 6 or 12 plants but the Hmong say, ‘no, I can have up to 99 plants.’

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