Our local waters, named for the First Nations of this area, what is now British Columbia through the Oregon coast. Well, no, actually: it’s named for their shared language; there is no “Coast Salish” nation of people. Their language crackles in written form, which anglicized ain’t nearly as fun: “Sʼəhiwʼabš” (anglicized to Sawhewamish), “Sduqwalbixw” (Snoqualmie), “dxwlilap” (Tulalip), “Sts’Ailes” (Chehalis).
For many hundreds of years several dozens of tribes of thousands of native peoples lived around here as if they owned the place. And then you know what happened next.
Eventually, in a treaty signed with the Washington Territory in the 1850s, the Coast Salish were given equal fishing rights in these waters in exchange for their land, leading to more than 100 years of angry backlash from non-Native settlers and the State itself. (There’s a quote comparing the fishing issue in the Northwest to the busing issue in the South.) In the 1970s the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the treaty once and for all, restoring salmon fisheries to federally recognized Coast Salish tribes in United States v. Washington, considered a civil rights landmark.
These days you see purse seiners and reef netters out on the horizon plying calmly away, and it looks to the rest of us as if it never happened.
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Sparkling Salish Waters 3 & 1, c. 2012
Kodak HIE, no filter
This week’s photo challenge is Illumination.