An Associated Press story about the Treaty Rights at Risk initiative was carried by many news outlets this morning, including the Seattle PI. From the story by Phuong Le:
Now, those tribes say their treaty rights with the U.S. are at risk because the region is losing habitat that salmon need to survive. They say their treaty rights won’t mean much if there’s no salmon to harvest, and they’re warning the federal government that they could resort to court action if more isn’t done.
For many tribes that have lived for centuries along Washington’s rivers and bays, fishing for salmon, digging clams and catching crabs are central to tribal cultural identity, as well as important for subsistence and commercial reasons.
“To be Jamestown is to walk down to the beach to get food for our families to share with our neighbors and to gather our foods in a fashion that we have done for centuries and know that they’re going to be there,” said Elaine Grinnel, 76, a member of the Jamestown S’Kallam Tribe on the Olympic peninsula.
“At no time did anybody have to go without food because it was so available. When you live on the beach and the tides are going in and out, there’s food there. You could always go fishing, you could always go crabbing,” she added.