Enduring Legacies Native Case Studies

Theme

Natural Resources


New!Darkness to Dawn: Columbia River Native Tribes’ Science and Salmon Restoration Success

Author:Brian Footen

From the start of its 1243 mile journey in the Canadian Rockies all the way to the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia River drains the heart, soul and bounty of the Pacific Northwest. In this water is a history of a river and people that goes back 15,000 years. The bountiful water has supplied the world with food and energy. The development of the river for hydro-power and irrigation has played a critical role in modern history. This development, however, has come at great cost to the original inhabitants of the area and the primary resource that they thrived on: the salmon. The Nez Perce, NiMiiPuu, lived in the Columbia River basin for thousands of years. This existence was altered by the arrival of European settlers, and in 1855, the Nez Perce signed a treaty that defined an area over which they had jurisdiction and rights to the resources, including salmon, vital to their culture and survival. Since then salmon populations have declined. Dams and the resulting habitat degradation have had negative impacts on salmon survival. Some populations have been listed as endangered, and policies regarding how these fish are treated have complicated the recovery process. Recent efforts by the Nez Perce tribe, however, have shown that in spite of a mechanized river and political resistance, the river still has enough bounty to bring back a salmon run that was nearly extinct.

New!Your Tribal Land is Not Secure: Traditional Knowledge and Science Face Wildfire in the Valley of the Wild Roses

Author:Linda Moon Stumpff, PhD

Through the discussion of two tribal college students, this case begins an exploration of vulnerability and resilience after repeated and devastating fires as a result of drought and climate change at Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico. The Pueblo holds a rich store of traditional knowledge about the fire-prone ecosystems. This knowledge contributes to restoration efforts after a series of high-severity fires in the Jemez Mountains. Forested lands and wilderness shrines are lost, Santa Clara Creek and watershed suffer from erosion, and much of the Pueblo’s protected lands burned along with Pueblo archeological and cultural sites on public lands. Long ago, the Pueblo created a three zone management system that preserved the upper wild lands as a sacred source of water, protected the middle creek as an ancestral home, and created a homeland supported by sustainable agriculture in the Rio Grande Valley. Deep interviews and discussions with key tribal and western scientists provided sources for a case that explores how western science and Pueblo wisdom converge in interactions to restore around the Pueblo lands model.

Alberta’s Oil Sands and the Rights of First Nations Peoples to Environmental Health

Author:Lori Lambert, PhD, DS

This case examines health and environmental issues of Alberta’s Cree First Nations and the rights of the Province of Alberta and lease-holders to develop the oil sands to extract petroleum. Although there are many environmental issues associated with the process of extracting the bitumen from the oil tar sands such as climate change, destruction of the boreal forest, and contamination of wetlands and muskegs, this case focuses on the tailings ponds and the environmental health issues that they are causing.

skwadi’lic, Board Feet, and the Cedar Tree

Author:Kurt W. Russo, PhD

This case examines the way in which cultural frames of reference influence our perspective on what constitutes real and true knowledge of nature. The case provides a description of the aboriginal landscape of the Lummi Indians of Washington State that gave rise to and sustained their unique social imaginary and lifeway. The case then examines how the Lummi Indians have worked to protect the remaining old-forests that are integral to their cultural traditions. The case brings to light two main points: 1) how values and perceptions influence the interpretation of this information by land management agencies and 2) how values and perceptions are shaped—or marginalized—by culturally determined frames of references.

Impacts of Global Climate Change on Tribes in Washington Part II

Author:Rob Cole

This case study is an introduction to the potential impacts of global climate change on some of the tribal lands in Washington State. It explores specifically the impacts of sea level rise on tribal lands in coastal regions, or in the Puget Sound region. The case is based upon the scientific evidence for global climate change, and the measured sea level rise in Seattle over the past century. The case examines the effects of winter storm surges coupled with high tides, as well as the increased rate of severe winter storms and associated flooding in river and estuary regions. This case is designed as a ‘clicker case’ to be used in conjunction with interrupted lecture or interrupted workshop formats of presentation.

Dam Removal on the Elwha River

Author:Peter Dorman

The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, whose ancestral home is on the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula, has made a remarkable recovery from dissolution and poverty, reclaiming tribal status and acquiring land and fishing rights. Critical to this process will be the restoration of salmon runs on the Elwha River, which had been terminated by the building of two dams early in the twentieth century. Among the steps leading to dam removal was a cost-benefit analysis (CBA). This study, which was filed in 1995, forms the centerpiece of this case. Due in part to the CBA’s conclusion that the economic benefits of dam removal would exceed the economic costs, resistance to this precedent-setting decision was overcome. The case centers on an examination of the CBA and the ways it both does and does not incorporate matters of concern to the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.