Flathead Lake Fish and Methylmercury: Treaty Rights & Human Rights

Authors: Lori Lambert, PhD, DS, RN

Disciplines: Biology, Environmental Studies

Themes: Activism, Health and Wellness

Tribes: Confederated Tribes of Salish Kootenai

This case examines the presence of methymercury (MeHg) in Flathead Lake on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana, home of the Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d’Oreille Peoples. The presence of MeHg is affecting the health of fish, osprey, tribal and community members. It is a particularly devastating problem for pregnant women as the developing fetus is particularly susceptible to the neurotoxic effects of methylmercury. It is time for action to address this environmental problem, but the solution to this issue is complex and raises a host of scientific, educational, and intergovernmental issues.