SEATTLE (November 20, 2006) — The 2006 Seventh Generation Legacy Awards, sponsored by the Salmon Homecoming Alliance, were presented during the Salmon Homecoming Forum, held at the University of Washington on Thursday, Nov. 16. “This award provides an opportunity to acknowledge the great importance of team spirit between tribal and non-tribal communities, particularly in the pursuit of environmental protection and natural resource management,” said Salmon Homecoming Alliance President Gerald James. The name of the award reflects the tribal tradition of basing decisions made today on the impacts they will have on descendants seven generations from now.
The 2006 recipients are:
The Seventh Generation Legacy Leadership Award. Leadership awards were presented to the three co-chairs of the Puget Sound Partnership, the effort fostered by Governor Chris Gregoire to restore Puget Sound by the year 2020. The co-chairs are Billy Frank, Jr., Chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission; William Ruckelshaus, two time director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and Jay Manning, Director of the State Department of Ecology. The award was presented by Bill Wilkerson, 2005 Seventh Generation Legacy Award winner and Executive Director of the Washington Forest Protection Association.
The Cornerstone Award was presented to the Muckleshoot Tribe. “The Muckleshoot Tribe has always been the host of Salmon Homecoming, and has demonstrated stalwart support for Salmon Homecoming programs,” said James, who presented the award personally. “Without them, there would be no Salmon Homecoming. The Tribe has stood strong in defense of the environment here for many years.” In addition to being awarded for outstanding efforts to retain and restore quality of life in the Northwest, the Cornerstone Award acknowledges direct support for Salmon Homecoming programs.
The Stewardship Award was presented to the Nisqually Indian Tribe, located on the Nisqually River in South Puget Sound. The award, presented by 2005 recipient and former North Bend Mayor Mark Sollitto, acknowledged the longtime efforts of the tribe in protecting and restoring the habitat of the river. It particularly acknowledged the tribe’s recent return of a 140-acre plot of land in Thurston County to natural estuarine and wetland habitat. The tribe bought the land at the Nisqually River estuary from Kenny and Donna Braget, removed the tidegates and now salmon swim where cattle once roamed. The tribe is also to convert 700 more acres into wetlands beginning next year.
In describing the purpose of the Salmon Homecoming Alliance, James said, “We are here to celebrate the salmon, the greatest of all Northwest icons, and our common link to good health, strong spirit and sustainable prosperity.”
At the annual Salmon Homecoming Forum preceding the awards ceremony, the three Leadership Award recipients responded to questions regarding the plan being proposed by the Puget Sound Partnership to clean up Puget Sound. In his remarks, Co-chair Billy Frank, Jr. said, “The Partnership gives new hope to the critical task of cleaning up the Sound.”
Co-chair Jay Manning concurred, saying, “Communities all along the Puget Sound need to get actively involved in its restoration.”
Co-chair William Ruckelshaus said, “I think we have the opportunity to show the rest of the world how to take an ecosystem that’s in decline … restore and maintain it.”
Current national EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson pledged the Bush administration’s support for the growing campaign to restore Puget Sound and, for the first time, committed the federal government to specific restoration targets. “President Bush and I believe a healthy Puget Sound means a healthy environment in the Northwest.” Johnson told dozens of tribal and other government officials, environmental and business leaders in attendance at the forum, “It’s so important for us to protect, to restore but also to defend Puget Sound.” New EPA Region 10 Administrator Elin Miller joined Johnson at the podium and concurred with his remarks.
For more information, contact: Salmon Homecoming President G.I. James (206) 724-6586, Steve Robinson, NW Indian Fisheries Commission (360) 528-4347, or Laura Austin, The Seattle Aquarium (206) 386-4329