An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Native Groups Want in on Convervation of River Treaty

When the Columbia River treaty was signed back in 1964, Native American tribes were not consulted. Now, several tribal officials are asking that that they be included in negotiations to renew the treaty.

The Columbia River Treaty of 1964 sets down how power generation and flood control will be handled between the US and Canada. But Native American tribes were left out of those negotiations.

Colville Tribal council member John Sirous says the main issue is the plight of endangered salmon was not considered when the treaty was signed. He says they hope to change that by issuing a declaration that calls on the US State Department to include tribes in the implementation of a new treaty, as well as managing the river to deal with a changing climate.

Sirous: “How this new Columbia river treaty can be managed to include a new ecosystem based function, and its beneficial to all people not just tribes, and animals and salmon, all those things.”

Sirous says there is new emerging technology that can be used to help migrating salmon that have been prevented from gaining access to the upper Columbia river, especially after Grand Coulee Dam was completed in the early 1940’s.

The U.S. and Canada have an option to renegotiate the 50 year old treaty this fall.

Copyright 2014 Spokane Public Radio.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.