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Law
9th Circuit allows tribe to assert fishing rights


The Confederated Colville Tribes can assert fishing rights against the wishes of the Yakama Nation, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday.

In a unanimous decision, the court overturned an injunction that barred the Colville Tribes from asserting fishing rights on behalf of the Wenatchi Tribe. The Wenatchi are part of the Colville confederation.

The 9th Circuit didn't rule on the merits of the case but ordered a trial on the matter. The Yakama Nation had argued that the Colville Tribes were barred by a legal doctrine that prohibits repeated litigation of the same claims.

A judge will now consider whether an 1894 agreement that promised the Wenatchi a fishery remains in effect. The fishery is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, which had welcomed fishing by the Wenatchi and the Yakama.

"Until the current dispute, the members of the Wenatchi and Yakama Tribes have fished there peacefully. The hatchery has permitted the Wenatchi Tribe to hold its tribal ceremonies on the grounds," the 9th Circuit noted.

Get the Decision:
Yakama Nation v. Confederated Colville Tribes (December 4, 2006)

Relevant Links:
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation - http://www.colvilletribes.com
Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery - http://www.fws.gov/leavenworth