the film
Commentaries and editorials

Snake River Dam Campaign Hosts
Flotilla in Support of Salmon, Environmental Responsibility

by Sam Taylor
Daily Evergreen, October 5, 2023

Mutiple PNW tribes gathered Saturday in Lewiston

Julian Matthews speaks at the All Our Relations: Snake River Dam Campaign in front of a sign for the film 'Breach Now' Sept. 30, 2023 at Hells Gate State Park in Lewiston, Idaho. (Cole Quinn photo) Dozens of people gathered along the banks of a reservoir of the Snake River Saturday at Hells Gate State Park in Lewiston, Idaho, to call upon the U.S. government to remove the lower Snake River dam in order to aid the salmon population.

The dam prevents salmon from completing their migration to the Pacific Ocean.

"We support dam breaching because as the only real way to restore the salmon runs, they tried other things you know, like fish ladders don't work. hatchery programs don't work," said Julian Matthews, who organized the All Our Relations: Snake River Dam Campaign event in Lewiston.

On Sept. 27, President Joe Biden signed a memorandum ordering federal and state agencies in Washington, Oregon and Idaho to evaluate programs that affect salmon populations and ensure they align with the 1855 treaty. Several Pacific Northwest tribes, including the Nez Perce signed the 1855 treaty with the U.S. government which sought to protect indigenous people's access to their "usual and accustomed" fishing and hunting places, according to the Spokesman-Review.

While Biden's memorandum has drawn praise from numerous concerned parties, including the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, it is not a perfect solution and does not address the Snake River Dam Campaign's desire to breach the Snake River dams.

"We don't want money. We want salmon in that river for the future generations because it's a critical part of our culture," Matthews said.

After listening to a series of speakers, including Judith LeBlanc, executive director of the Native Organizer Alliance, the group walked down to the banks of the Snake River and floated down the river in canoes, kayaks and paddle boards with a banner that read "Stand with tribes, Breach Snake dams,"

Following the flotilla, supporters enjoyed a meal prepared by a Nimiipuu family. Nicole Bashaw worked with her grandmother Judy Oatman and other members of her family to prepare a meal of Salmon, fried bread and buffalo and elk stew.

"I appreciate them, what everybody's doing here to show recognition for the Nez Perce people and the salmon and the rivers. So that's what we're here to do is just feed everybody and share the food that everybody's here to help us take care of," Bashaw said.

Bashaw said the salmon, buffalo and elk used in the meal were caught or hunted by her family.

Matthews said the campaign has produced a film about the Snake River Dam removal cause that will be shown on WSU Pullman's campus in November.

"We want to protect [the Snake River] for future generations for the kids that are 10 years old now that they can go out and take salmon from the rivers like we're able to," Matthews said.

Sam Taylor
Snake River Dam Campaign Hosts Flotilla in Support of Salmon, Environmental Responsibility
Daily Evergreen, October 5, 2023

See what you can learn

learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs
discussion forum
salmon animation