Tribal representatives from across Southeast Alaska, British Columbia and Washington state are sounding the alarm over threats posed to wild salmon across state and national borders.
“We will not surrender our responsibilities as stewards of the land and resources entrusted to us by our creator,” John Ward of the Taku River Tlingit in Atlin, British Columbia said in a statement.
Pacific tribes stretching from Yakutat, Alaska to Bellingham, Washington attended the three-day summit hosted by the Lummi Nation near Ferndale, Washington.
At the conclusion of the three-day summit, the tribal governments jointly pledged they are:
- Declaring a state of emergency regarding polluted waters and declining wild salmon stocks
- Committing to understanding one another’s concerns; and
- Establishing a committee whereby individuals from Tribes and First Nations can come together and act on these shared concerns.
“We felt that the plight of the salmon is that emergency state at this time,” Tis Peterman, executive director the Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission, a consortium of 15 tribes in Southeast Alaska.
“It’s just death by a thousand cuts,” she told CoastAlaska Thursday. “There’s so many things affecting our salmon, and this has been a focus of SEITC’s work for five years now.”