Salmon 2100: The Future of Wild Pacific Salmon

Salmon Restoration-A Native American Perspective from the Columbia River

André J. Talbot and Peter F. Galbreath


While there is widespread public concern about the decline of salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest, no people have been so fundamentally hurt by this decline as the Native Americans of the region, for whom salmon had (and still have) such vital cultural, religious, and economic importance. We, the authors, do not present the following as an official policy statement of any of the regional Native American tribal organizations, nor is either of us Native American. However, we would like to present our understanding of the current tribal perspective on the future of salmon in the Pacific Northwest, which indicates how fisheries ought to be managed in order to restore some semblance of their natural distribution and abundance in the region’s river systems. We have acquired this understanding primarily through our work as conservation scientists with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) and through collaboration with other regional tribal organizations. During this time, we each have grown to appreciate, adopt, and advocate the very special perspective that the tribes have regarding the importance of salmon in the ecosystem, including the ecosystem’s human component. Additionally, we have found their views on the goals for salmon restoration, and on the methodologies they advocate to achieve these goals, to be scientifically sound, as well as socially and economically pragmatic.