the film
Commentaries and editorials

Saving Salmon Should Trump
Sea Lion Protection

by Celilo Village Members
Seattle Times, February 19, 2008

As Celilo Village residents, salmon are the center of our existence. We rely on salmon for our health, culture and religion. They tie us to this spot on the Columbia River, a spot radically different from the time when Celilo Falls roared and fishermen came from throughout the region to harvest the plentiful salmon.

Our elders watched the river go from one that was in balance to one that is gravely ill. Dams, pollution and now sea lions disrupt a once harmonious system.

In our longhouse, salmon are honored in song, dance and ceremony. We give thanks for the sacrifices salmon make for our survival, sacrifices they have made for countless generations.

A salmon's life is defined by struggle; struggle migrating to and from the ocean, struggle to survive in inhospitable waters, struggle avoiding predators that an altered river favors. They struggle against their very extinction.

When they falter, we falter. Without the salmon, we would cease to be who we are. Our traditions, culture and way of life would disappear with them.

Why are we protecting sea lions at the expense of endangered salmon? ["Killing sea lions will not save Columbia River salmon," Times, guest commentary, Feb. 7.] As the defining animal of the Northwest, salmon deserve more.

Related Pages:
Killing Sea Lions Will Not Save Columbia River Salmon by John Balzar, Seattle Times, 2/18/8
Tribes Support Lethal Removal of Predatory Sea Lions by Staff, Indian Country, 2/18/8
Sea Lions vs. Salmon: Restore Balance and Common Sense by Fidelia Andy, Seattle Times, 2/15/8

Karen Whitford, Celilo Village Elder; Ronald Jim, Celilo Village Elder and Tribal Fisher; and Bobby Begay, Celilo Village Member and Tribal Fisher, Celilo Village, The Dalles, Ore.
Saving Salmon Should Trump Sea Lion Protection
Seattle Times, February 19, 2008

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