Tonight’s broadcast of PBS NewsHour is scheduled to feature the Swinomish Tribe’s Climate Change Initiative and an interview with NWIFC Chairman Billy Frank Jr:
Rising water temperatures don’t bode well for Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest, who call themselves “Salmon People.”
“Our economy was built around salmon,” said Frank, who is now chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. “We’re trying to bring them back, to make that economy come to life within our tribes.”
Just as Washington tribes fought to defend their fishing rights in the years leading up to the Boldt decision, they are once again fighting to protect the natural resources so integral to their way of life.
The Swinomish reservation occupies 15 square miles of the Fidalgo Island in Puget Sound near the mouth of the Skagit River, a waterway fed by nearly 400 glaciers and one of the last remaining homes to all five species of Pacific salmon.
Fifteen percent of the reservation is at or just slightly above sea level, including environmentally-sensitive shoreline areas, where they’ve harvested shellfish for centuries. University of Washington climate scientists estimate that this area could see up to a meter of sea level rise over the next century.
Watch Northwest Salmon People Face a Future Without Fish on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.