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tribes and water #11

when looking up tribal issues concerning water i found an article where the tribal representatives from the Squaxin Tribe, decide to ” sit out” and not take part in an advisory hearing to decide what policies should be in place when considering water rights, fishing rights, consumption of both the fish and water quality.

-As part of setting new limits on water pollution based in part on how much fish people eat, state government is convening meetings of interested parties. But the state’s Indian tribes are refusing to participate.

Discouraged by lack of progress, and asserting their rights as sovereign nations, tribes are trying to bypass the state’s process.

“We want action, not further discussion,” Andy Whitener of the Squaxin Island Tribe wrote to Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant in a letter turning down an invitation to join a group providing advice.

it seems normal that the tribe would no longer want to sit in and discuss issues with state and government officials who have the ability to change the way the policies are run, giving tribes the full sovereignty they deserve and are promised in treaties. there has been a long time frame in our history where the view of Indian tribes was not seen as an interest in the perspective of the state and federal governments. it seems like there is a lose-lose situation. if the tribes sit in and have their ideas heard they may not even be considered so they lose there, or they do have an influence on policies the big energy companies will find a way to expand their power using money to take away resources from the tribes. the big money making industries have the most authority even though they are not entitled those rights, the tribal nations are entitled more rights through sovereignty but lack the support from state and government officials. the tribes lose there as well. this tribe in particular is located on a small island, so to them water is the most valuable resource it controls their entire culture and way of life.

-Tribes say current state water-quality rules that call for making sure people are safe eating 6.5 grams of fish a day are woefully inadequate. The people who run industrial plants and municipal water-treatment facilities don’t disagree – but they do worry the rules that result might be so onerous they will have to spend huge amounts of money on upgrades that still don’t meet the standards.

-“The way the tribes are feeling is, they just invested years of effort for nothing. So what’s going to change to start again now? Nothing. So they’re trying to reset it,” said Wilshusen, who said tribes are still looking for ways to work with industry, but separately. “Why would we sit back around again and talk about it with the same people? It’s unlikely there’s going to be any change in point of view.”!OpenElement&FieldElemFormat=jpg