As co-managers and leaders in salmon recovery, Tribal Nations see and feel the impact of declining salmon throughout their communities. According to the 2020 State of Our Watersheds report, as the salmon disappear, tribal cultures, communities and economies are threatened like never seen before. Some tribes have even lost the most basic ceremonial and subsistence fisheries that are a foundation of tribal life and culture.
Yet, there is a sense of hope when looking through the lens of long-term progress. Tulalip Tribes Director of Natural Resources Jason Gobin notes, “There have been strides made [compared to 30-40 years ago], with the science to better understand these life cycles and processes for salmon and river habitats. This understanding will help guide us as we continue to make the march up the hill to carry these salmon forward for future generations.”
It will take an ongoing commitment to preserving a vital resource for everyone. “It’s important work which is why we do it the right way with the right approach, for instance trying to deed restrict the properties we purchase to protect them. When they’re set aside for fish and wildlife, for treaty rights, that benefits all of us—even those who aren’t in Tribal Nations,” says Jason Griffith, Environmental Manager for the Stillaguamish Tribe.