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Commentaries and editorials

Tribes Support Dam Removal

by Lionel Boyer
The Idaho Statesman, August 9, 1997

The Shosone-Bannock Tribes are greatly concerned with the failing efforts to recover Snake River salmon. It has long been the position of the tribes that removing or mothballing the four lower Snake River Dams is the most readily feasible and cost-effective means to let the river be a river and assure the immediate self-sustaining recovery of the salmon.

We have, from time immemorial, lived in respect of the natural resources of this, "Our Mother Earth." Today, we have to look and see what manifest destiny and the enchroachment of this land by the immigrants have done to its natural resources.

Only 129 years after the signing of the treaties between the United States and the different bands of Shoshone and Bannock of the territry, we see the results of unwise progress spiraling downward out of control.

A once plentiful resource of the people is now being jeopardized in the false name of progress for profit by a privileged few.

When the first dams went in on the lower Snake River, they immediately breached the life cycle of salmon throught the headwaters. Neither these dams nor their products are needed today, yet salmon, if properly managed, will always be a sustainable subsistence and economic base.

Today, we have a clear path to follow. Yet the ones who have benefited the most from the abuse and destruction of the salmon will always fight to leave things status quo. Without change, we are effectively paying them to destroy the greatest resource of this territory, the salmon.

We respect this fact-finding editorial of The Idaho Statesman newspaper and appreciate your stand for such a valuable resource. We urge the decision-makers to protect the remaining runs of salmon and immediately make the lower Snake River a river again for the sake of the future of these magnificent animals.

In all due respect to the concerns of the many people who are opposed to the breaching of these dams, I would expect that if they were given the opportunity to do it over again, they would recommend another way of doing what has been done.

I would like to thank you for your fine special report and for this opportunity to say a few words on behalf of the salmon and my tribes' position of removing the dams to again provide a migration corridor and as near-natural river conditions as possible to recover the runs as quickly as possible.

Related sites:
"Rebuild This Mother Earth" - Lionel Boyer - Sockeye Release Speech 1993

Lionel Boyer, is the fisheries policy representative for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes at Fort Hall.
Tribes Support Dam Removal
The Idaho Statesman, August 9, 1997

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