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Northwest Tribes are United in Push to Remove Dams,
Says Nez Perce Tribe Statement

by Staff
Big Country News, May 26, 2021

Lower Granite Dam in SE Washington state impounds the Lower Snake forty miles up beyond the Idaho border. LAPWAI - Northwest tribes stand united in their support of saving endangered Northwest salmon and in their belief that the true wealth of the Northwest begins with the health of its rivers, fish, and the ecosystem they support.

"This commitment to unity -- forged to assist Columbia and Snake River salmon and steelhead and secure continued resources for culvert and other barrier removals that will help imperiled Puget Sound salmon populations -- extends to the proposed Columbia Basin Initiative that Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) unveiled several months ago that emphasizes the urgency of the salmon crisis and the unique opportunity for leadership from the Northwest and the Biden Administration," says a Wednesday statement from the Nez Perce Tribe.

“Any efforts to divide the indigenous peoples of this region by suggesting that the Puget Sound Tribes don't have the same interests as the Northwest Inland Tribes have been soundly rejected by tribal leaders," said Nez Perce Tribe Chairman, Samuel Penney.

Washington state's U.S. senators and its governor recently joined forces against the Simpson proposal to remove four hydroelectric dams on the Lower Snake River and replace their benefits as part of a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure bill being crafted by the Biden administration.

In mid-April, representatives from the 12 Tribes gathered to discuss and ultimately pledge their support for common ground principles found in Simpson's proposal -- including restoring the lower Snake River by removing the four Lower Snake dams.

"In addition to providing relief for Columbia and Snake River salmon and steelhead and the Tribal nations that rely upon those fish for their culture and survival, Rep. Simpson's proposal to remove the four Lower Snake River dams would also benefit the Southern Resident Orca whales that call Puget Sound home. A major food source for these orcas are the Chinook salmon that live and migrate from the inland rivers of central Idaho out to the ocean. Restoring the Lower Snake River and the salmon that grace those rivers will have tremendous benefits for the Southern Resident orcas. In fact, Governor Jay Inslee's Puget Sound Orca Task Force listed removal of these four dams in the top 10 actions necessary to save these starving killer whales," says the Tribe statement.

Northwest Tribes are United in Push to Remove Dams, Says Nez Perce Tribe Statement
Big Country News, May 26, 2021

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