Environment

PBS: Climate change threatens a way of life for Quileute Tribe





"CHRIS MORGANROTH, Quileute elder: It's been a great quality of life since the time of our beginning here, that all the things that were made available to us by the Creator, all the salmon, the cedar trees, just a wide variety of different life that's here on the coast.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Hundreds of years ago, the tribe adapted to shifts in the weather by migrating within their expansive territory that stretched thousands of miles across the Olympic Peninsula. But now their village is just one square mile.

In 1855, the Quileute signed a treaty giving up most of their land to the federal government in exchange for fishing rights. They were restricted to a small reservation bounded by the Pacific Ocean and the QuileuteRiver on one side and Olympic National Park on the other.

But now even that land is threatened. La Push sits right at sea level. And the tribe's dependence on the ocean leaves them vulnerable, says Morganroth.

CHRIS MORGANROTH: As the climate changes, as the environment changes, we have to change with it in order to survive as we lose that quality of life."

Get the Story:
Quileute 'Twilight' Tribe Deals With Rising Sea Levels That Threaten Way of Life (PBS 11/26)

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Obama signs bill to move Quileute Tribe to safer grounds (2/28)
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Senate approves bill to move Quileute Tribe to safer grounds (2/14)
House approves bill to move Quileute Tribe to safer grounds (2/7)