Northwest Tribes Fight for Treaty Rights in Face of Coal-Transport Plan
Indian Country Today Media Network. August 15, 2012.
A recent Indian Country Today article, highlights concerns of tribal leaders over the impact of coal shipment through the Northwest on tribal treaty rights to salmon harvests, as well as other First Foods. Harvests of salmon have been increasing as a result of tribal co-management of Washington State Fisheries since the 1974 Boldt decision, that affirmed affected tribes treaty rights to half of harvestable salmon. Leaders are concerned that shipment of coal through sensitive coastal riparian and marine habitat will cause significant habitat degradation that will negatively impact salmon and other cultural food harvests. These concerns have been voiced by organizations such as the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC); the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Tribal Lands Program; tribal nations including the Lummi in northwest Washington and the Yakama in eastern Washington, and tribal voices such as Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs elder Bruce Jim. CRITFC communicated these concerns in a letter to the Army Corp of Engineers, an agency tasked with project oversight.