Yurok Tribe criticizes 'patronizing' gathering proposal from state

The California Fish and Game Commission plans to recognize the gathering rights of tribal members but said it will continue to enforce state law at marine preserves.

The commission said members of federally recognized tribes can gather fish, mussels, seaweed and other resources at preserves. But they will be required to obtain state licenses and will have to abide by state regulations rather than tribal laws.

“I cannot accept the part about the fishing license. The Fish and Game has taken an unjust and patronizing step,” Thomas O’Rourke Sr, the chairman of the Yurok Tribe, said in a press release. “No one can separate these resources from our culture.”

Tribes supported a different proposal that would recognize their gathering laws. O'Rourke pointed out that most tribes have more stringent regulations than the state.

We’ve said from the beginning tribal rights are nonnegotiable,” O’Rourke said. “We’ve said that because we are in charge of our destiny.”

The state's Marine Life Protection Act doesn't mention tribes or recognize tribal subsistence.

Get the Story:
Marine preservation proposal would allow Indian tribal harvests (The Sacramento Bee 6/30)
California Fish and Game Commission approve tribal gathering exception for MLPA; gathering rights required to be within state law (The Eureka Times-Standard 6/30)

Related Stories:
Yurok Tribe calling for protest to exercise gathering rights (6/17)

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