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Abstract

What you are about to read is an illustration of systemic racism. Systemic racism is the current effects of statutes and policies developed through a singular and racially-charged narrative. The current hydropower relicensing regime fails to acknowledge the overarching Treaty-reserved rights of American Indian tribes while statutorily granting state and federal authorities the power to prescribe mandatory conditions on hydropower projects. This fact remains constant whether the hydropower project is within or outside a tribe’s reservation or aboriginal territory. Specifically, the Hells Canyon Complex, which rests along the Snake River, has had and continues to have enormous impacts on fisheries including blocking all fish migrations. The Hells Canyon Complex is currently under consideration for a new fifty-year operating license. This Complex resides inside the exclusive aboriginal territory of the Nez Perce Tribe and the geographical region that harbors the Tribe’s usual and accustomed fisheries.

The Nez Perce Tribe devotes significant resources to protecting the existence of Salmonids. Accordingly, the Tribe continues to fight for fish passage in the Hells Canyon Complex. There is no question the Tribe will continue to pursue the actions necessary to protect and rebuild its Treaty-reserved fisheries. The Tribe’s Treaty-reserved fishing rights, which are the supreme law of the land under the United States Constitution, must be fully acknowledged and embraced. This strive for self-determination is the result of the paternalistic dialogue of American history, a narrative I hope allows you to recognize why systemic repair must take place.

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