Undergraduate Honors Thesis


A Glimpse into the Loss of Salmon Populations in the Columbia River Basin and the Case for Incorporating Traditional Indigenous Management in Restoration Public Deposited

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  • Pacific salmon are at the heart of the ecosystems and communities that have lived in the Columbia River basin since time immemorial. Through centuries of reciprocity and reverence for salmon, Indigenous people developed systems of management through communal rules and spiritual rituals. In turn, they managed salmon populations sustainably and allowed large salmon runs to return year after year. Colonialism radically disrupted this intricate balance between humans and fish. In this time, tribal land was dispossessed, traditional Indigenous management practices were supplanted with western management, and salmon populations declined. In this thesis, I explore the legal and historical context of this issue to understand how salmon are governed and how co-management operates today. I then review Indigenous management of salmon based in traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and explore how these time-tested practices can contribute to salmon restoration today. Comparing TEK practices with western management practices, I document the limitations of western management and suggest methods for the two knowledge paradigms to be bridged. Finally, I express that the re-incorporation of TEK practices in salmon management is feasible, will directly benefit the salmon, and provides an empowering resolution for Indigenous people.

Date Awarded
  • 2022-04-04
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Last Modified
  • 2022-04-12
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