Tribes Hold Rally to
PORTLAND, Ore. -- A group of Native Americans staged a protest Friday on behalf of the Northwest's killer whales.
The Southern Resident orca population is steadily declining, with several deaths this summer.
They rallied at Holladay Park in Northeast Portland, calling attention to the plight of the whales.
Sea Shepherd Portland and three Snake River tribes say numbers are dwindling here in the Pacific Northwest.
"They're threatened right now. There are only 74 left and we really can't afford to lose any of them," said Carrie Chapman Schuster, Lower Snake Indians' matriarch.
The tribal groups say one reason is that dams along the Snake River keep salmon, a key source of food for orcas, from reaching the ocean.
Chapman Schuster led them in prayer and song. Then the group marched to the offices of the Army Corp of Engineers and Bonneville Dam Administration. They operate the dams.
The group laid a wreath in memory of a recently deceased calf of a killer whale from Washington.
The tribes say the federal government agreed to remove four dams along the Lower Snake River after 50 years, but the time limit has long passed.
The Army Corps of Engineers argues their removal would have little impact on the survival of the whales.
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