Environment | Opinion

Billy Frank: Treaties offer protection for traditional tribal foods

"These short, cold, rainy and sometimes snowy days of winter always make me think about our treaties. It was during this time of year more than 150 years ago that the U.S. government negotiated most of its treaties with tribes in Western Washington.

The federal government wanted our homeland. They viewed us as sovereign nations with independent authority to govern our people, lands and resources. We were treated the same as any free nation in the world because that's what we were then and still are today.

Through the treaties we reserved the things that were most important to us as a people. Among them was the right to fish, hunt and gather shellfish and other traditional foods to feed ourselves and preserve our cultures.

That's why I am excited about the new hunting department at the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. It's aimed at strengthening the tribe's traditional connection to wildlife by improving hunter access to deer, elk and other game for tribal members to eat. The tribe also is promoting hunting by educating young people."

Get the Story:
Billy Frank Jr: Traditional foods are treaty foods (The Auburn Reporter 3/5)

Join the Conversation