Under 1855 treaties, reservations were set aside for the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, the Yakima Nation, and the Nes Pierce. The tribes were promised they would retain their right to hunt, fish and gather wild foods on "usual and customary" lands they had ceded to the U. S. Government. (Durbin 16)
As Bonneville Dam neared completion, the Corps of Engineers made a last-minute effort to photograph and document the many traditional fishing sites the Corps had promised to protect or replace in their treaties with the Columbia Basin tribes. These sites were about to be flooded by the impound waters behind the dam. The corps had promised to provide replacement or "in lieu" fishing sites for at least two dozen sites destroyed by the dams. It would be seventy years before that promise was fully kept. (Durbin 18-19)
Federal Courts in the twentieth century would affirm the rights of treaty tribes to half the salmon that returned annually to the Columbia River and its tributaries. (Durbin 16)
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