the film
Commentaries and editorials

Earth Day: A Plea
to Save Salmon, Orcas

by Owen Begley-Collier
Seattle Times, April 22, 2021

Palouse Tribal Leader Jesse Nightwalker often wore traditional clothing when speaking about dam removal to remind his audience of the promises made to his mother and her family when their were displaced by the construction of Ice Harbor Dam. Re: “Lummi Nation carvers and allies to embark on national tour to D.C., give totem pole to President Biden” [April 12, Environment]:

I am 15 and have been fascinated by orcas my whole life, and I have wanted to study them since first grade. But this dream slips further and further away as our southern resident orcas starve to death.

I urge Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to take action for salmon, orcas, tribes and ecosystems. The Snake River dams are decimating the Snake River salmon runs, and they are covering up treaty-protected fishing grounds.

If you want to uphold treaty rights, breaching the four dams on the Lower Snake River should be at the top of your list. If these dams stay in place, the Snake River salmon will go extinct, which will mean certain extinction of many species, including the iconic southern resident orcas. This, too, will be a violation of treaty rights.

It is essential to begin treating this as the environmental and human-rights crisis that it is. Please support breaching the Snake River dams immediately, and include dam breaching in the Biden administration infrastructure package.

Owen Begley-Collier, Seattle
Earth Day: A Plea to Save Salmon, Orcas
Seattle Times, April 22, 2021

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