Author: eoconnell

This isn’t the first time we’ve divested to protect treaty rights

The Defund DAPL movement continues a long history of tribes joining together to defund corporations threatening their treaty rights. In the decade following the 1974 Boldt decision, the treaty tribes in western Washington quickly realized their treaty rights would be meaningless without fish. The biggest threat to salmon was the destruction of salmon habitat, so the tribes filed suit against the state of Washington. In the early ’80s a district court judge sided with them, ruling that habitat protection was essential to the tribes’ treaty rights. That decision sent shock waves through Washington’s business community, spurring the organization of...

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State of our Watersheds: Unpermitted wells imperil Nisqually River

Despite rough economic times and slow growth, the number of new unpermitted wells in the Nisqually watershed grew at a steady rate. That is a finding in the recently released State of Our Watersheds Report by the treaty tribes in western Washington. From the report: Between the upper and lower extents (of the watershed) is a focus area of 230 square miles with mostly flat to gently sloping land, three urban areas (Eatonville, Roy and Yelm) and 87% of the watershed’s water wells. This middle focus area of the watershed has seen the majority of water well growth in...

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State of Our Watersheds: Less forest cover is bad news for coastal salmon

Declining forest cover in coastal river basins leads to fewer salmon returning, hurting both sport and tribal fishermen. That is a finding in the recently released State of Our Watersheds Report by the treaty tribes in western Washington. From the report: Between 2006 and 2011, watersheds within Olympic National Park and U.S. Forest Service lands had little (<1%) or no change in forest cover conditions while within the state and private lands, the overall trend is negative. Watersheds with the highest losses were West Fork Dickey (with a 12.1% change) and Lower Bogachiel River (9.9%). Even though these coastal watersheds generally have...

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Nisqually Tribe (among others) closes fishery to protect salmon

Closing fisheries isn’t totally uncommon for treaty tribes when faced with declining runs (here, here and here). In fact, in some places tribal fisheries have declined up to 80 or 90 percent because of declining salmon habitat. But the Nisqually Indian Tribe’s decision this year to totally forgo their chum season this year is historic: From King 5: “It was tough to explain to our elders and our tribal members that we’re not going to be able to fish this year, because of the lack of salmon,” Frank said. For the first time ever, the Nisqually tribe won’t fish...

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Treaty Tribes: Protect Cherry Point

Tribal leaders told a state senate committee that Cherry Point should not be stripped of its protections. The tribes testified in opposition to SB 5171, which would shrink the size of an aquatic reserve protecting Cherry Point. Cherry Point was the site of the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal that would have been the largest coal port in North America. The Lummi Nation and a number of environmental groups spent years trying to shut the project down. Last year the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sided with the tribe to deny a permit to construct the port. Last month the...

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  • Northwest Treaty Tribes is a service of Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

  • Northwest Treaty Tribes Magazine for Winter 2016 Available Now

  • Billy Frank Jr Memorial Edition of the NWIFC Magazine Available Here

  • Treaty Rights at Risk

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