Edward Robert "Bob" Foreman
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Edward Robert "Bob" Foreman, Sr., 72 of Redding passed away on November 19, 2008. He was born in Nice, California on June 12, 1936 to the late Edward and Lorena Foreman. He was a Pit River Indian whose family originated from the Fall River Valley. Bob was the eldest of three brothers and one sister. He attended grade school in Palermo, CA and high school in Oroville. Bob and his family often stayed with his Grandmother Virginia Timmons and Great-grandparents Robert and Louise Ortis on the Redding Rancheria where he attended Anderson High School. \
In October 1954, Bob joined the Navy and served four years. He was stationed at Coronado Island in San Diego, CA. In December 1954, Bob married his childhood sweetheart, Maxine Burns of Palermo. While in the Navy Bob would win two Golden Gloves Boxing championships and his two daughters, Debra and Brenda were born. In December 1958, Bob would discharge from the Navy to the Redding Rancheria, but soon after returned to Palermo where his third daughter, Carla was born.
It was in 1958, Congress enacted the California Rancheria Act in an attempt to assimilate Indians. It was that failed policy that would set the wheels in motion for Bob and his family's Indian activism, starting with Bob's Grandmother Virginia Timmons, whom he greatly admired and affectionately called "Nano".
In 1959, Bob and his family returned back to the Redding Rancheria to live with "Nano". The following year Bob's son Bobby Jr. was born. In 1961, while his grandmother was in Sacramento trying to secure an adequate water supply for the Rancheria, Bob would sign the receipt of deed from the Bureau of Indian Affairs for his grandmother's Rancheria property. His "Nano" was no longer considered an Indian by the Federal government. She would advocate for those rights for the remainder of her life.
Bob, his father and brothers all worked construction, working on some of the biggest North State projects of that time. With his family growing with the addition of daughter Erin, Bob bought a house north of Anderson where his sons, Adam and Forrest "Guy" were born. Bob was a loving father and openly expressed his love to his children and family. His family and friends witnessed the sensitivity he felt for people living under unjust social and financial conditions.
In 1969, he advocated for better health care for Indians and secured grants to open up the first Indian health clinic in Shasta County. The Shasta Trinity Siskiyou Rural Indian Health Project in Anderson opened its doors in 1971. Soon after, he opened clinics in Weaverville and Fort Jones. He was also one of the originating founders of the California Rural Indian Health Board (CRIHB), which is still in existence today.
As his children grew, Bob loved to watch his kids play sports. The Foreman families spent many summer days enjoying barbeques at the Anderson River Park. Bob's wife and mother of his children, Maxine passed away in 1984.
In 1983, after failing to provide water and sanitation services promised to Rancheria Indians, the federal government settled a lawsuit that reinstated their rights as Indians. The Redding Rancheria re-established itself as a tribe in 1985 and Bob was elected its first Tribal Chairman. He continued to serve as a Tribal Councilman for the next 20 years. Bob was instrumental in getting the tribe's Win River Casino off the ground, located partly on his mother's Indian Trust land, which she inherited from her mother, Virginia.
Bob later married his second wife, Mary Lou, an old schoolmate from Palermo.
In 1991, Bob was instrumental in starting the Redding Rancheria Indian Health Clinic and worked as the Health Director and later worked as the tribe's Self Governance Coordinator until he retired in 2002. Mary Lou passed away in 2001.
In 2002, Bob and his family would come under attack when allegations were conjured up about his mother's lineage. The tribal officials would require his family provide DNA from his deceased mother and his "Nano" if they were to retain their tribal status as Indians. With Indians having no civil rights protections, all 76 Foreman family members were disenrolled from the tribe even after providing tribal officials DNA test results greater than 99% that proved the two women were mother and daughter.
Bob and his family advocated for civil and human rights for American Indians, with Bob speaking at a number of rallies and demonstrations on this issue. Bob and his family help start the American Indian Rights and Resources Organization (AIRRO), which he was a proud member. He will always be in the eyes of family and friends a true American hero. He met a lot of wonderful people in his life's journey and loved spending time with them. His sense of humor and stories will never be forgotten. May his spirit and legacy live on.
He is survived by his brother, Leon Foreman, Sr. and his sister Lorena Ackerman both of Redding. Brothers Leland "Dick" and Raymond Foreman predeceased him.
He was a loving father to his seven children: Debbie Sarot (husband Randy); Carla Maslin (husband Mark); Erin Reasoner (husband Ralph) all of Anderson and Brenda Spidle (husband Bruce) of Redding. Three sons: Bobby Jr.(wife Angie) of Redding; Adam of Shingletown and Forrest 'Guy" of Valley View. He was a proud grandfather to his 15 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews .
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to:
American Indian Rights and Resources Organization (AIRRO)
41801 Corte Valentine
Temecula, CA 92592
(951)694-6264 or email mail@airro.org
A "Celebration of Life" will be held at 11a.m., Friday, December 5th at the Neighborhood Church in Cottonwood. His ashes will be inurned at the Veteran's Cemetery in Igo. Food and refreshments will follow at Neighborhood Church.
The family would like to thank all the people at Mercy Medical Center, Redding Dialysis Center, and Redding Rancheria Indian Health Clinic for the loving care of our father.
Published in Redding Record Searchlight on Nov. 28, 2008.
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