Billy Frank: Sense of place and treaty fishing rights
"Our five senses combine in another sense that is important to all of us as human beings: a sense of place. It is a powerful sense, it takes time to develop and can be lost when folks move around a lot from place to place and job to job.

I have been blessed with a strong sense of place for my home, the Nisqually River. I know my place, my home. It's where I feel the best.

Place is an important part of treaty tribal fishing rights, too. Our rights are place-based.

That means we 20 treaty Indian tribes in western Washington can only fish in the places we have always fished. These are our "Usual and Accustomed" fishing places, the places where we exercise our treaty-reserved right to fish.

For my tribe, the Nisqually, that is an area in southern Puget Sound. For my friends in Neah Bay, the Makah, it is an area around Cape Flattery at the northwest tip of the Olympic Peninsula. I cannot go to Neah Bay and exercise my treaty-reserved right to fish as a Nisqually tribal member."

Get the Story:
Billy Frank Jr: Sense of place important to tribal fishing rights (The Bellingham Herald 12/7)