Protect and Restore Salmon, Southern Resident Orcas, and Treaty Rights

Res #: Committee: Submitted by: Title:         Pass → Yes No Amended/Tabled To NCAI
19-07 Natural Resources/Lands Taylor Aalvik Protect and Restore Salmon, Southern Resident Orcas, and Treaty Rights X

 2019 Winter Convention 

Portland Oregon 

RESOLUTION #19 – 07 




We, the members of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants rights secured under Indian Treaties and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and constitution of the United States and several states, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution: 

WHEREAS, the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians (ATNI) are representatives of and advocates for national, regional, and specific tribal concerns; and 

WHEREAS, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians is a regional organization comprised of American Indians in the States of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Northern California, and Alaska; and 

WHEREAS, the health, safety, welfare, education, economic and employment opportunity, and preservation of cultural and natural resources are primary goals and objectives of Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians; and 

WHEREAS, as indigenous peoples, we honor in all ways our relation to Creation and in that spirit acknowledge a sacred obligation to ensure all our relations are treated in a dignified manner that reflects our tribal cultural values passed down since time immemorial; and 

WHEREAS, our ATNI youth leaders recognize that our salmon, traditional foods and resources need bold action in order to sustain our families and future generations for as long as the rivers flow; and 

WHEREAS, the Federal Government has the trust responsibility to protect our salmon, lamprey, steelhead and southern resident orcas, for future generations; and 

WHEREAS, the Columbia River basin’s salmon and steelhead runs were once among the largest in the world, with around 10-16 million fish returning to the basin annually, but have declined significantly, as have the populations of other critical species, including lamprey and sturgeon; and 

WHEREAS, climate change is placing an increasing strain on the ecosystem of the Columbia River basin; and 

WHEREAS, chinook salmon comprise at least 80% of the diet of endangered southern resident orcas – over 50% of it from the Columbia River basin (which includes the Snake River watershed) – and dwindling chinook runs are the leading cause for the decline of those orcas to a critically low breeding population of fewer than 30 individuals; and 

WHEREAS, the removal of dams in the Columbia River basin may prove to be the most effective way to protect and restore for future generations the natural resources on which our communities depend; and 

WHEREAS, ATNI is concerned that current federal laws concerning the Columbia River basin have not been developed to fully protect and restore cultural, natural, and treaty-reserved resources; now 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that ATNI hereby calls upon its member tribes and upon federal and state legislators to identify and advocate strategies for strengthening federal and state laws and regulations governing natural and cultural resource protection throughout the Columbia River basin; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that these strategies and proposed revisions to federal environmental laws and regulations should consider the impacts of climate change on tribal and treaty-protected natural and cultural resources, and should require a meaningful evaluation of dam removal in the Columbia River basin. 


The foregoing resolution was adopted at the 2019 Winter Convention of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, held at the DoubleTree by Hilton – Portland, Oregon, on January 28-31, 2019, with a quorum present. 

______________________________ ______________________________ 

Leonard Forsman, President Norma Jean Louie, Secretary 

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