This Comment analyzes and discusses this ongoing controversy, focusing on the treaty Indians' history, the background of the treaty negotiations and signings, the principles of construction governing the interpretation of Indian treaties, and the relevant legal precedents. It attempts to construct a coherent approach to the Washington fishing rights controversy emphasizing that the Washington Indians' paramount purpose in these treaties was maintaining the right to fish. Two lower court cases that successfully took account of the Indians' purpose and meaningfully effectuated that purpose in relation to twentieth century developments are Judge Boldt's decision in United States v. Washington (Boldt) and Judge Orrick's opinion in United States v. Washington (Phase II). This Comment endorses the innovative approach of those two decisions.
Thomas C. Galligan, Jr. and Michael T. Reynvaan, Pacific Northwest Indian Treaty Fishing Rights, 5 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 99 (1981).