Creating Spaces for Salmon: How Dams and Eurocentric Resource Management Techniques Destroy Salmon and Culture
This paper utilizes oral history interviews, treaties, governmental, international, and scientific reports, and images to examine the impact of western settlement on the ecology and Indigenous cultures of the Northwest. Central to this examination is the diagnosis of effects that Manifest Destiny ideologies and the implementation of New Deal era practices had on salmon and the cultures reliant upon them for sustenance and cultural survival. Not merely a historical overview of social movements, this paper synthesizes the stories of two rivers, the Elwha and the Columbia. It analyzes the impacts wrought by industrialization and contends that co-management of resources and implementation of Indigenous-based ecological practices create opportunities for mitigation. Analysis of the breeching of the two dams on the Elwha River and the restoration of the watershed’s ecology is interwoven into the process of retrieving tribal and cultural autonomy by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. As such, the Elwha Restoration Project may serve as an example for future co-management opportunities for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and other tribes affected by existing dams.