Table Topic questions are meant to stimulate family and classroom discussion.
Use the questions below after reading,"A resource divided."
- Over 140 years ago, Territorial Governor Stevens concluded five treaties with Puget Sound Indians on issues of land entitlement and fishing rights. What are the difficulties involved in interpreting documents written that long ago? How have conditions changed for Native American people and the salmon resource since then?
- Judge Boldt's interpretation of "taking fish in common with all citizens" resulted in a decision to give Indian peoples equal share of the fishing harvest with non-Indians. The 50/50 ratio has continued to generate controversy among commercial and sport fishermen and fisheries officials. What are their arguments? Are they simply promoting their own interests? Do you agree with Judge Boldt's interpretation? How did you come to your conclusion?
- Fisheries officials argue that restrictions on Indian fishing rights are needed to protect and conserve the salmon run. Both sides have accused the other of practices which damage the resource. If conservation conflicts with treaty rights, who should have the final say? How can the state and tribes work together to preserve the Northwest fishery?
- The issue of Indian fishing rights was in many ways an issue of sovereignty. What is the difference between sovereign rights and equal rights? What other issues concerned Indian activists of the time? What regulatory conflicts arose with the state concerning sovereignty of reservation lands?
- To create revenue, many Pacific Northwest reservations offer gambling and sell fireworks and untaxed cigarettes which are illegal in the rest of the state. Have you ever been to a reservation for these purposes? Does the state have any right to regulate these industries? Initiative 671 allowing electronic gaming on Indian reservations was on the November 5 ballot. What is your position on this issue?
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