Step Forward for Puget Sound

OLYMPIA, WA (January 26, 2006) — Today we know it as Puget Sound. For thousands of years, my ancestors have known it as the Wulge, or the Salish Sea. Whatever you call it, this magnificent estuary that connects us with the great ocean beyond is critical to your survival. It doesn’t matter whether you fish or not. It doesn’t matter what your income or education levels are. It doesn’t matter what your ethnic origin is, what your religion is, or even your political party. Whoever you are, whatever you do, your health and well-being—as well as that of your children—are directly connected with the health of the Puget Sound, its connecting rivers, groundwater and ocean.

Frankly, that health is not so good. That’s not news to us tribal members. The locust-like swarms of Europeans and others who have migrated here over the past few centuries have been bent on over-exploiting virtually every resource the Northwest has to offer, and degrading land, water and sky in the process. Even the mighty Orca has now been listed on the Endangered Species List, due largely to the decline in the health of the water it lives in. All of these are indicators that your health and well-being are in trouble.