In the Northwest, Indian Tribes have always been outstanding stewards of natural resources and the habitat that sustains them. Their heritage has linked them with the land, the rivers and the ocean as an integral part of life’s unending cycle. The treaty tribes have been acknowledged as co-managers with the states, and the United States, as their consistent and persistent efforts on restoring and protecting their sacred indigenous fish, wildlife and vegetation consistently spearhead stewardship throughout the region. They approach such responsibilities with enthusiasm, applying their age-old Traditional Knowledge with the latest forms of contemporary science available to them, and push relentlessly toward healthier waters, stronger runs of salmon, sturdier herds of elk and a more vibrant ecosystem overall. Through a properly managed allocation process, these gifts of Nature bring not just needed nutrients to the people, but also sustain a culture and lifestyle that must be kept alive for generations to come.
There are many challenges that face the great Ocean and all of the elements of the Earth with which she connects, as population expands and pollution steals breath from her life-giving ability. But the tribes have come to understand that through cooperation, with other governments and people from all walks of life, there is hope. In Washington state, the Centennial Accord, the Intergovernmental Policy Council, and participation in the U.S.-Canada Treaty and the Pacific Fishery Management Council are examples of such cooperation and collaboration. But many challenges remain, and every effort must be made to work together, as a team, to achieve the best possible result.
You are strongly encouraged to build relationships, or to support such relationships, to reach out toward tomorrow and leave a legacy that our descendants deserve.
Here are some links to Pacific Northwest coastal tribes in Washington state and to the coastal California Chumash Indian Tribe’s “The Rainbow Bridge” creation video from the Channels Islands National Park website. We will be adding more West Coast tribal stories and videos in the future.
Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC): www.nwifc.org
Hoh Tribe: http://hohtribe-nsn.org
Quileute Nation: http://www.quileutenation.org
Quinault Indian Nation: http://www.quinaultindiannation.com/index1.htm
Makah Tribe: http://www.makah.com
Chumash Indian Tribe: http://www.nps.gov/chis/photosmultimedia/the-rainbow-bridge.htm