Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Marilyn James and Taress Alexis, Is government setting Indians up for a fight?," Sinixt Radio, March 17, 2008.

Podcast Review

I found this edition of Sinixt Radio difficult to summarize. Marilyn James, the appointed spokesperson of the Sinixt people, reads several articles:

The articles are interesting in their own right, but for me the most meaningful part of the Sinixt broadcasts come when Marilyn and Taress are provoked to discuss their own views about the issues.

The idea that stuck in my mind this time came from the article about the Coast Salish gathering at the Tulalip Tribes Feb 27 - 29. Descendants of settlers have still not understood their own need to integrate into the larger history of the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere. But climate change solutions may well require tribal knowledge. As North Americans come to understand their need for a history, we will likely come to show more respect for our aboriginal hosts. But that could be a long way off.

''Non-tribal environmental data only goes back to the 1930s,'' said Terry Williams of the Tulalip Tribes. ''Ours goes back thousands of years. Without our traditional knowledge, nobody truly has the ability to compare the status of fish and wildlife habitat today with its condition before the white man came.''

Williams said such traditional knowledge is just one example of the values tribes bring to natural resource management. The representatives at the gathering concurred that tribes must receive more equitable management funding to deal with climate change conditions. ''These are tribal resources being destroyed,'' Williams said. ''We have got to have the ability to build the capacity and staffing necessary to help clean up the mess, even though the tribes didn't create it.''

About the Shoshone tribal development program, Marilyn asks, What kind of weapons are they producing? and what is the environmental hazard or damage to the people in making them?

the article on Grassy Narrows documents what lobbying efforts by the people can accomplish. Boise Inc. has notified logging company AbitibiBowater that it will cease purchasing wood fiber logged from Grassy Narrows' traditional territory in the Whiskey Jack Forest without the indigenous community's consent.

Marilyn and Taress both had ideas about the Gail Toensing article on the casino in Michigan. Marilyn thinks the government is setting Indians up for a fight.

I found the one about salmon most interesting, first because of the findings. Marilyn reminds us that the salmon are having a hard time and that the oldest species of salmon spawn in the spring.

The Ford and Myers study used existing data on salmon populations to compare survival of salmon and trout that swim past salmon farms early in their life cycle with the survival of nearby populations that are not exposed to salmon farms. They found "a significant decline in survival of populations that are exposed to salmon farms."

The article was of additional interest to me because the
Public Library of Science Biology
is a peer-reviewed publication that makes high quality scientific information available on an Open Access basis.

A podcast of this broadcast is available here.
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