Today was a good day for Tribal sovereignty on a couple of fronts. The first was the Supreme Court upheld a federal appellate court ruling which ordered the state of Washington to spend Billions of dollars to restore salmon habits for Tribal fisheries in the state of Washington. We haven’t won many battles with the Supreme Court the last 10 years so this was a huge victory. Salmon are as important to the Tribes here in the northwest as Buffalo are to the plains Tribes. This should great benefit the salmon population in our state which will benefit all those who care about this renewable precious resource.
The other victory is more of a successful negotiation between the Shinnecock Tribe in New York City and the U.S. Open. The Open has been held on their land going back a number of years and yet the Tribe has not really benefited from this very lucrative event. This year the Tribe decided to protest and it got the attention of those who run the U.S. Open. They decided to let the Tribe have access to some premium parking spaces they can rent out and they allowed some of their youth to participate in the golf clinic. Tribal members will also be able to participate in the press conference at the end of the Tournament. The Tribe recently obtained their federal recognition and that may be part of the reason they have been more proactive in advocating for their share of the pie. Under TERO they would be able to obtain even more revenue from this major economic development activity but that is something they can work on in the future.
Tribes are becoming more and more engaged in ways to strengthen their Tribal sovereignty. This is part of a trend that will continue as the fight for social justice, our way of life and the preservation of our culture continues.