'Schelangen,' But Also A Right

Jan 22, 2014

Jay Julius is a member of the Lummi Tribe and an outspoken defender of his people's fishing rights.
Jay Julius is a member of the Lummi Tribe and an outspoken defender of his people's fishing rights.
Credit EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Back in the 1850s, the United States negotiated a series of five treaties with the coastal tribes living in what is now Washington state. The treaties secured a majority of the land for the state and broke the tribes up into reservations. But of less interest to early white settlers were water rights. Native Americans kept their right to fish along coastal waters. However, over the decades those rights have been disputed.

In the second part of our series “Sacred Catch,” producer Jeff Emtman explores how a single sentence in those early treaties shaped a century and a half of fishing policy in Western Washington.

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Explore the full "Sacred Catch" series with additional audio, pictures and materials.

Funding for this story was provided by the KUOW Program Venture Fund. Contributors include Paul and Laurie Ahern, the KUOW board of directors and listener subscribers.