– Filed by Allison Morrow, KING-5 TV News, Seattle:
In a historic move, the Nisqually tribe is closing its most popular salmon season. After several years of fish declines, they believe it’s necessary to save the fish from disappearing completely.
“Our Indian people have been fishing. That’s been our way of life, that’s been our culture, our history, our traditions,” said Willie Frank III, a member of the Nisqually tribe.
Frank calls the Nisqually River his tribe’s “medicine.” The water connects generations of his people. It connects him to his father, longtime environmental activist Billy Frank Jr.
But standing there today, he says that connection faces historic challenge.
“It was tough to explain to our elders and our tribal members that we’re not going to be able to fish this year, because of the lack of salmon,” Frank said.
For the first time ever, the Nisqually tribe won’t fish for chum salmon. They’re keeping the river closed, like they have since August.
– Editor’s Note:
Nisqually Tribe Chairman McCloud spoke extensively on this issue last night at Yelm’s Triad Theater in the “Whose Who in the Nisqually Watershed: mountain to sea.”