9th Circuit panel rules Samish should have treaty fishing rights

9th Circuit panel rules Samish should have treaty fishing rights
Seattle Post Intelligencer – Seattle,WA,USA

SEATTLE — A federal appeals court panel on Thursday helped clear the way for the Samish Indian Nation to acquire a share of the state salmon catch – 30 years after the tribe was excluded from a historic decision on treaty fishing rights.

In the 2-1 ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel found that the tribe was unfairly denied federal recognition at the time of U.S. District Judge George Boldt’s 1974 ruling allocating tribal fishing rights. The lack of recognition helped preclude the San Juan Islands-area tribe from obtaining the fishing rights, the court found.

The Samish had been recognized by the federal government as a treaty tribe under the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott. Those rights evaporated in 1969 when the Samish, and several other tribes, were dropped from a list of tribes prepared by a Bureau of Indian Affairs clerk.

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