"You know, it's a really great feeling to have the freedom to go back on the river to fish, because that's our livelihood, the salmon."
American Indians have lived and fished along coastal and inland Northwest waters for thousands of years. In the 1850s, Indian Nations of the Pacific Northwest signed treaties with the United States government, ceding millions of acres of land. In exchange, the tribes retained reservation lands and the rights to fish and hunt in their "usual and accustomed places", including places outside reservation boundaries.
Today, Native Nations of the Pacific Northwest are leaders in the protection and preservation of salmon. Examine these case studies and consider the actions Native Nations take to restore salmon and, in turn, strengthen their cultures.
Quileute Natural Resources is a division of the Quileute Nation government. Its mission is to apply careful resource management so that treaty guarantees—the right to fish and hunt in usual and accustomed areas—can be sustained for future generations.
Quileute Natural Resources runs programs that include fisheries management, hatchery operations, salmon restoration, and environmental repair.
Many tribes throughout the regions of Washington State work to restore salmon populations and the habitat that sustains salmon. The Boldt Decision of 1974 created a comanagement relationship between tribal and state governments. Although priorities and methods may differ with changes in political administrations, there remains one constant: the return of salmon could not have occurred without the tireless efforts of the Native Nations of the Pacific Northwest.
"We comanage with the state of Washington. And we also comanage with the federal government. Every time we have a governor come and go, or a senator come and go, they come back and they talk to us, and every one of them said, 'We couldn't have taken care of the resource as good as we did without the tribes.' The tribes have brought a different element of what needs to be done in terms of management. And it's not just about the almighty dollar, it's about perpetuation of the species and about doing the right thing."
"Habitat projects are vital to restoring the salmon fishery . We have successfully partnered on projects in the past, but we need many more into the future."