Suquamish Tribe Chairman Leonard Forsman and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, following a morning of discussions about tribal issues and climate change.

Suquamish Tribe Chairman Leonard Forsman and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, following a morning of discussions about tribal issues and climate change.

6th Congressional District Representative Derek Kilmer hosted a tribal leaders summit at the Suquamish Tribe’s House of Awakened Culture on April 24. Tribal leaders participated in panel discussions about self governance, tribal sovereignty, economics and natural resources. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell was the keynote speaker, who then joined Suquamish Chairman Leonard Forsman on a tour of the Port Madison Indian Reservation. Photos of the day’s event can be found here.

From the Tacoma News Tribune:

Representatives of nine Washington Indian tribes told Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Thursday that consequences of climate change are threatening their economies and cultures and that they need federal help to deal with intensifying climate-related problems.

The tribes, with low-lying reservations on Washington’s ocean coast and along Puget Sound, said rising sea levels caused by global warming, ocean acidification and more severe weather patterns are endangering the natural resources on which their cultures are based.

Fawn Sharp, president of the Quinault Indian Nation, said the magnitude of the problem has led to a kind of paralysis.

“It’s so big, we’re left wondering, ‘Where do we even begin?’” Sharp said.

 

More coverage can be found at Kitsap Sun (subscription required), Peninsula Daily News and KUOW.

In the South Sound recently, tribal leaders and congressional representatives met for a roundtable discussion on tribal treaty rights. From the Puyallup Tribal News:

On April 11, representatives from tribes across Western Washington sat down with House Representatives Denny Heck, Derek Kilmer and Peter DeFazio at the Tribe’s Community Youth Center for a treaty rights roundtable discussion hosted by the Puyallup Tribe.

“The most common word we’re going to hear today is ‘partnership,'” Derek Kilmer said during the opening remarks.

The discussion took place to inform the guests about the struggles the tribes have gone through at the federal and state level, as well as to give the perspective of several different tribes on solutions for restoring the health of Puget Sound and its salmon population going forward.

“We need an action plan. I’m here to learn from you today,” Ranking Member of the House Natural Resource Committee Peter DeFazio said.