Environment | National

PBS: Quileute Tribe confronts threats from environmental change

"With its craggy rocks rising from the sea, frequent whale sightings and white sand beaches, the Washington state community of La Push, located just west of Olympic National Park, is at first glance, idyllic.

But the beauty of the place is matched by the danger. Located at sea level, La Push lies directly in a flood and tsunami zone. It is home to the Quileute Indian Nation, a tiny tribe that gained popularity for their portrayal in the hit book and movie series "Twilight," and their square-mile reservation leaves little land to buffer storms and high waters.

For centuries, the Quileute tribe has relied on the area's ocean and rivers. Native fishermen and hunters once escaped dangerous weather along territory that stretched across the Olympic Peninsula. But that's no longer an option. In 1855, the tribe signed a treaty ceding thousands of square miles of land in exchange for fishing and hunting rights. Now, restricted to their small coastal plot, they are facing increasing risks.

University of Washington researchers say that rising temperatures have resulted in reduced snowpack and diminishing glaciers, but also more winter rainfall. Heavy rains have already destroyed vital hunting grounds and homes on the reservation."

Get the Story:
'Twilight's' Quileute Tribe Fights to Regain Land (PBS 7/16)

Related Stories:
Column: Quileute Tribe welcomes even more visitors after Twilight (7/9)

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