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Removing Dams From Klamath River: A Step To Justice For Native Americans

The Klamath River runs over 250 miles (400 kilometers) from southern Oregon to the Pacific Ocean in Northern California. It flows through the steep, rugged Klamath Mountains, past slopes of redwood, fir, tanoak and madrone, and along pebbled beaches where willows shade the river’s edge. Closer to its mouth at Requa, the trees rising above the river are often blanketed in fog. The Klamath is central to the worldviews, history and identity of several Native nations. From headwaters in Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin-Paiute lands, it flows through Shasta, Karuk, Hupa and Yurok homelands. The Yurok Tribe has legally recognized the personhood of the river.

To Save The Salmon, We Have To Slow Climate Change

No one in the Pacific Northwest is exempt from the impacts of climate change. Rising global temperatures are intensifying floods, droughts and warming waters. Last summer’s heat dome led to temperatures in western Washington as high as 110 degrees. We didn’t just break records — we obliterated all-time records over an incredibly hot four-day period. The ocean, the rivers and the streams ran hotter than ever. Thousands of salmon died, and the people and animals that depend on them suffered. As salmon disappear, so do dozens of other species dependent on the nutrition they provide. It is as my mentor Billy Frank Jr. once said, “As the salmon disappear, so do our tribal cultures and treaty rights. We are at a crossroads, and we are running out of time.”

In The Latest Rights Of Nature Case, A Tribe Is Suing On Behalf Of Salmon

Salmon—the fish—are suing the City of Seattle in Sauk-Suiattle tribal court, seeking recognition of their legal rights to exist, flourish and regenerate. The Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe filed the complaint earlier this month on behalf of the fish following the city’s construction and operation of off-reservation hydroelectric dams on the Skagit River. The tribe, also asserting claims based on rights the tribe holds, alleges that the city constructed the dams, beginning in the first half of the 20th century, without the tribe’s consultation or consent. The case is the latest in a series of rights of nature lawsuits emerging in U.S. communities and throughout the world. Rights of Nature laws have also been passed in some places.

Saving The Salmon

Canada - B.C.’s free-entry mining system allows any individual or company to stake a claim — and subsequently explore for minerals on that claim — anywhere in the province that is not already set aside as a protected area. This includes private land and Indigenous territory. Under provincial laws, which date back to the mid-1800s, no consent or consultation is required.  “It’s so archaic. It’s so colonial,” Marsden says. In the mid-2010s, mineral exploration and mining companies started staking claims on Gitanyow territory. A tenure allows a company to conduct exploratory work, and if it finds enough evidence of minerals, it can then propose a mine. But even exploratory work has impacts on the landscape, Marsden says.

First Nation Chief Tells Mayors To Butt Out

A Vancouver Island First Nation chief schooled four North Island mayors on how Aboriginal Rights work in response to them asking to be let in on Discovery Island fish farm consultations with the federal government. Last month in a letter addressed to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bernadette Jordan, mayors of Campbell River, Port Hardy, Port McNeill and Gold River asked to be a part of the ongoing consultation process between the minister’s office and seven First Nations with regards to the transitional plight of 18 fish farms in the Discovery Islands.

Ceremony To Stop A Pipeline

A group of Secwepemc people held a canoe and kayak ceremony Saturday morning in Kamloops in opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project drilling under the Thompson River.   The journey began at Adams Lake and the group kayaked and canoed their way to the Mission Flats area for a potluck dinner and games. “Families from our Secwepemc Nation came together for the No TMX Canoe and Kayak Journey today to be in ceremony and offer prayers and protection for our clean water and our wild salmon," says Anushka Nagji, a Secwepemc activist. 
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