Wilbur Slockish: Built-in Conservation

Wilbur Slockish (Klickitat, Yakama) talks about how the ideas of Western science and free market are harmful to the Native food supply and conservation practices. 1:32.

Bio: Wilbur Slockish was one of several men who were arrested along with David Sohappy for “illegally” fishing and selling their fish in a case known as “Salmon Scam”. (https://www.nwcouncil.org/history/SalmonScam) He was born in 1944 in Wapato, Washington and is a member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. As a boy, he fished at Celilo Falls on the Columbia River. After Slockish was released from prison, he concentrated his efforts on water quality and health issues related to the Hanford Nuclear Power Plant. In 1994, Slockish fought and successfully banned the storage of Hanford nuclear waste on the Yakama Reservation.


“We had our own built-in conservation practices to replenish those runs. And when Lewis and Clark came here there were up to 30 million fish in this river. And the Western science has decreased it. Economic activities have decreased the runs way down. And they think a million and two million fish is a lot — that’s not. And now I hear, this is a free market country. Well there’s nothing free. One of those resources has to be utilized. And it’s always taken in over-harvest. Our huckleberries are the latest example. I’ve seen… I got upset when I would go up to the airport and find –chocolate-covered huckleberries was the start. Now there’s coffee, tea, shampoo, oil, ice cream… and it’s being utilized right now by uh… the commercial industry. For all of those things. And they’re being over-harvested. So, ah, Western science and free market is not very good for all of our natural food supply”

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