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Timeline / Citizenship, Services, and Sovereignty / 1959: Washington State challenges tribal treaty fishing rights

1959: Washington State challenges tribal treaty fishing rights

Washington State authorities forcefully evict Puyallup, Nisqually, and other tribal subsistence fishermen from fishing sites reserved in the 1855 Treaty of Point No Point. The loss of salmon in their diet erodes the healthy eating habits, time-honored cultural practices, and fishing tradition that are central to the life of these tribes. The incidence of diseases like diabetes rises with the dietary change.

“The right of taking fish and usual and accustomed grounds and stations is further secured to said Indians, in common with all citizens of the United States; and of erecting temporary houses for the purposes of curing; together with the privilege of hunting on open and unclaimed lands. Provided, however, that they shall not take shell-fish from any beds staked or cultivated by citizens.” —Treaty of Point No Point, in what is now known as western Washington State, January 26, 1855

Federal-Tribal Relations, Land and Water, Native Rights
Northwest Coast