Friday August 26, 2022

Yakima Herald-Republic

Imagine the Spokane River so full of salmon you can’t see the bottom, Warren Seyler told more than 200 assembled fishery professionals Wednesday morning.

The big ocean-going fish returning to their native streams in the hundreds of thousands, providing sustenance for people, animals and plants. As he spoke, historic photos and accounts from tribal elders flashed across the Spokane Convention Center screen.

“Today the Spokane Tribe continues to try and find ways to get them back,” said Seyler, a Spokane tribal member and an expert on tribal history. He was addressing attendees at the 52nd annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.

Hours after his address, that fantasy inched toward reality when 146 adult chinook salmon were released into the Spokane River at Sandifur Bridge. Hundreds watched. John Matt Jr. had the honor of releasing the first of the chinook. Matt, who lives on the Spokane reservation said it felt “really good. I cried.”

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