Indian Tribes Oppose
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Northwest Indian tribes on Thursday approved a joint resolution to oppose federal plans to reduce the level of water spilled at Columbia River hydroelectric dams this summer.
The 54 members of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians also criticized the Bonneville Power Administration for engaging in a "vague, unwritten yet aggressive campaign" to eliminate the safest means of fish passage around the turbines that generate electricity.
Tribal biologists estimate that summer spill curtailment would kill as many as 50,000 adult salmon each year, said Jay Minthorn, vice chairman of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.
"Water is the number one resource for our people," Minthorn said. "It's critical to our ceremonies."
A Bonneville spokesman said the agency had not seen the resolution on Thursday but tribal concerns would be addressed.
Alfred Nomee, Coeur d'Alene tribal member and natural resources committee chairman for the Affiliated Tribes, said the resolution will be sent to the National Congress of American Indians later this month. "The tribes have stated a position that treats the Columbia River as a single living unit and one that must be managed and protected as such," Nomee said.
"Tribes have a living culture. It's water, fish and forests, every day. They're not artifacts, they're here and now," he said.
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