Tribal staff and youth at swədaʔx̌ali in Washington. Photo: Libby Nelson / Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources

Tulalip Tribes preserve huckleberry grounds on ancestral territory in Washington

The Tulalip Tribes are preserving huckleberry fields in Washington for future generations thanks to an agreement recognizing its treaty rights.

In 2007, the tribe signed a historic agreement with the U.S. Forest Service that establishes co-stewardship of a 1,280-acre parcel in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The area is known as swədaʔx̌ali or “Place of Mountain Huckleberries," according to the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

Since then, tribal staff and tribal youth have been regularly visiting swədaʔx̌ali, holding camps and restoring the fields. KUOW/EarthFix followed a group up there this month to see how traditional management practices like brush-clearing are being utilized on federal lands.

“The tribes see their treaty right as more than just the ability to gather,” Libby Nelson, a tribal policy analyst, told KUOW/EarthFix. The tribe and its citizens “want to be part of the stewardship as they had been for thousands of years,” she was quoted as saying.

The tribe reserved hunting and gathering rights on "unclaimed lands" under the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott. The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest falls within treaty territory.

Read More on the Story:
Tribe's Huckleberry Harvest Brings Fire (or Something Like It) Back to the Forest (KUOW / EarthFix August 21, 2017)
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