SQUAXIN ISLAND RESERVATION, Mason County – At a historic gathering of more than 15 Indian nations, tribal leaders in the northwest called for immediate action to save the endangered orcas and the salmon they depend on.
The call for salmon and killer whale recovery was joined by U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Governor Jay Inslee of Washington, who each said removing the dam on the Lower Snake River, a tributary of the Columbia, must remain on the table and a comprehensive solution quickly reached to save the salmon and killer whales from extinction.
Their statements were delivered here at the Salmon Orca Summit, co-hosted by the Nez Perce Tribe and Northwest Indian Affiliate Tribes, representing over 50 Indian nations.
From the interior of Idaho to the coast and everywhere in between, tribes gathered Wednesday and Thursday in a show of unity behind a dam-breaking proposal by GOP Representative Mike Simpson of Idaho . His Columbia Basin initiative would remove the four dams on the Lower Snake River and replace their benefits with billions of dollars of investment in a new future for the Pacific Northwest.
Simpson, present for the two-day summit, said the time is now to make entire tribes unable to enjoy a way of life guaranteed forever in the signing of treaties with the United States in 1855. La The ability to fish for salmon has always been central to the cultures that their ancestors sought to preserve.
Salmon recovery isn’t just about removing four dams, it’s about restoring a way of life, said Devon Boyer, president of the Fort Hall Business Council for the Shoshone-Bannock tribes in southeast Idaho. . It was the Sho-Bans who applied for the listing of the first endangered species act in the Columbia-Snake River system 30 years ago this year.
To conclude the summit, the tribal leaders read the resolutions approving the removal of the dams accepted by the affiliated tribes of the Northwest Indians and the National Congress of American Indians, representing more than 500 tribal nations.
President Fawn Sharp, Vice President of the Quinault Indian Nation, signed the national resolution, which also calls for another summit.