by Lorraine Loomis
Did you know that over the past four decades the 20 treaty Indian tribes in western Washington have reduced their salmon harvests by more than 75 percent to protect the resource? That tribes have restored thousands of miles of fish and wildlife habitat? That tribal hatcheries release about 40 million salmon annually to provide harvest for everyone?
If you didn’t know, you’re not alone.
Despite many years of tribal efforts to protect and restore natural resources, research has shown us that many folks in western Washington are unaware of our commitment and contributions to natural resources management.
That research showed that while most in western Washington have a generally favorable opinion of tribes, many have little knowledge of tribal efforts to protect and enhance natural resources.
They include newcomers to the region, young people and even some who have lived here for a long time.
We want to change that.
That’s why we have begun a new communications effort through the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) to let the people of the Pacific Northwest and beyond learn more about the good work of the treaty tribes in western Washington.
It’s called Northwest Treaty Tribes: Protecting Natural Resources for Everyone. We chose this name because it makes clear that we are using our treaty rights to restore, protect and enhance not only our cultures and way of life, but those of everyone who lives here. We’re doing it through every mile of fish habitat we restore, every salmon we release from one of our hatcheries, every effort to improve water quality, and everything else we do in natural resources management.
You will see the Northwest Treaty Tribes effort reflected in all communications from the NWIFC, such as the quarterly magazine, website and social media. The NWIFC will continue to operate as it always has. Organizational and other information about the NWIFC will continue to be available online at nwifc.org.
Social media is a large part of the Northwest Treaty Tribes effort, and we hope you will engage in the conversation online. You can learn more at nwtreatytribes.org, by visiting the Northwest Treaty Tribes Facebook page, and following us on Twitter and Instagram: @nwtreatytribes.
We look forward to hearing from you and sharing with you how the treaty Indian tribes in western Washington are working hard every day to restore, protect and enhance the natural resources of this place we all call home.
For more information, go to http://nwtreatytribes.org