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Lummi Nation responds to U.S. Supreme Court hearing of Ninth Circuit culverts case

Nation says “we all lose” if salmon don't survive


WASHINGTON, D.C. - April 19, 2018 ( Newswire) Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for the culverts case following the 2016 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that culverts block salmon from more than 1,000 miles of streams in western Washington, violating treaties with Washington tribal nations.

The following statement from Jeremiah Julius, chairman of the Lummi Nation, who was in attendance at today's hearing, can be quoted in full or in part.

For more than 20 years, thousands of people across the state of Washington have come together to restore the wellbeing of salmon because they understand the link between healthy salmon and the health of our environment and community. The courts have already upheld treaty law, affirming the tribal nations' assertion that the treaty protects, not just our right to fish, but our ability to fish from a healthy supply. Salmon need free flowing rivers to survive and return to their spawning ground. If the salmon don't survive, we all lose.

It is unfortunate that the state chose to litigate this issue in the Supreme Court rather than work with us to restore our fish. As co-managers of the salmon, we encourage the state of Washington to work with tribal nations on an effective plan to repair bad culverts that block salmon passage.

We are hopeful the court decision will honor and uphold treaty law. Regardless, Lummi Nation and other tribes will continue to be on the forefront of this battle because salmon are essential and connected to everything we fight to protect. Unhealthy salmon runs are a symbol of bad policy and lack of courage to change the behavior of the past. When the salmon thrive, we all thrive.


Tony Hillaire
Chief of Staff
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