Indian treaty rights have standing

July 5th, 2018 by Ken

For more than 200 years, the Federal Government has been negotiating treaties and land use issues with the Native Americans, whose land and waters they coveted.   And, for 200 years the government has ignored or thrown aside those treaties, when the government and the white settlers wanted the land.

The examples of government indifference to treaty rights could (and has) filled several book. The Sioux are still waiting for the return of the Black Hills and the Trail of Tears remains fresh in the stories the southern tribes still tell.

The same held true here in the Northwest where tribes saw their treaty lands slowly dissolve over decades and centuries of neglect and indifference.

Until the 1970’s, that is, and the Bolt decision which ruled that treaty tribes were granted half of all the salmon running in streams and rivers in the state.  That ruling was later upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

The  high court’s recent ruling that the state and local governments had to remove or repair culverts so the salmon can make their way to the spawning grounds was just the latest in more than half a dozen findings that upheld tribal treaty rights.

I’m not certain that the Sioux will ever get the Black Hills back, or the Creek, Cherokee and other southern tribes will ever get their dues – – but it does demonstrate that things are changing, and that lands and rights spelled out by those marks on paper hold some weight.

Posted in Government, The Real News

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