Yakama Nation Considers Compensation for Salmon
Toppenish, Wash. -- The Yakama Nation is considering re-opening a case against the Federal government, that could mean millions of dollars in compensation for salmon lost to The Dalles Dam. Tribal members were invited to a meeting Friday to discuss the case.
The dam flooded the area near Celilo Falls in the 1950's. The tribe was paid for their land and a fishery. But tribal councilman Leo Aleck says they should be paid for their fish and three other fisheries, too.
Aleck lived near Celilo Falls when The Dalles Dam was put in. He and many others were compensated for the homes and land that they lost.
"$15 million initially, but that wasn't enough." he says. Other tribal members echoed his sentiment during Friday's public meeting.
For the last 50 years, they says they've lost salmon to the dam's turbines. Aleck says, "All the fingerling salmon that come out of our hatcheries, that's our salmon. And a certain amount of them went through the turbines, so The Dalles Dam has to be accountable for that too."
This is the tribal council's first step in recovering those fish. Aleck says they won't go forward without the tribe's support. "The people should make the decision. They are the sovereign." he adds.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says they haven't seen any official requests from the tribe. They say they value their relationship with the Yakama Nation. The corps says they plan to continue working with the council.