This week Clare Jensen from the Puyallup Tribal News wrote a nice overview of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, and the role it plays for treaty tribes in western Washington.
For close to 30 years, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) has worked to provide a unified voice for more than a dozen regional tribes.
A handful of visionary tribal leaders felt the need to create a venue that would provide strength in numbers. Immediately following the Boldt Decision in 1974, many tribal members knew they would be better served if they formed themselves into an organization that would allow them to speak with one voice on issues.
Thus, the NWIFC was born.
Today, the NWIFC represents 20 federally recognized tribes that have adjudicated their fishing and hunting rights. It includes Puyallup, Nisqually, Quinault, Tulalip and Squaxin Island tribes, to name a few.
“It has evolved and grown, and in some respects shrunk in recent years as the tribes have developed their own capacity to manage their own fisheries,” said Mike Grayum, executive director of the NWIFC. He has been with the commission since 1976 and served as executive director for five years.