1962 – For a Special Indian Department of Fisheries

When the treaties with the Western Washington Indians were negotiated (mostly in 1855), the Indians had not been accustomed to selling their fish. But the government thought that fish sales afforded the Indians a good way to make a living. They gave the Indians access to their aboriginal hunting and fishing grounds, on and off the reservation. The Indians were encouraged to sell their fish by the government, not only to provide themselves with food, but also to introduce them to the monetary system. Soon, many Indians were dependent on their fishing industry, as many are today. For the most part, the Indians fished and hunted within the confines of their reservations. They did not give up their rights to their aboriginal grounds, but simply refrained from using them until the necessity arose. Apparently, for some, the necessity to utilize those rights has arisen. Conservation has been practiced by most tribes. It is in respect to conservation and control of Indian fishing that the proposal has been make for an Indian department of fisheries for Western Washington. Sports fishermen would be in addition to the present Department of Fisheries, of course. The difference between the Indians’ concern for the problem and the sports fishermen’s is the difference between livelihood and pleasure. The Indians want both to continue…

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