Report: US admits dams in Pacific Northwest have devastated Native Americans

In a new report, US says dams killed off salmon, inundated villages and burial grounds, and spirited wealth away from tribes.

The US government, in a report published on Tuesday, acknowledged for the first time the harms that federal dams have inflicted on Native American tribes in the US Pacific north-west.

The report by the interior department details the “historic, ongoing and cumulative impacts of federal Columbia River dams on Columbia River Basin Tribes”, including how dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers have devastated salmon runs, inundated villages and burial grounds, and deprived tribal members of the ability to exercise traditional ways of life.

The Columbia River basin, an area roughly the size of Texas, historically supported abundant wild salmon, which play an important role in tribal identity and spirituality, as well as steelhead and native resident fish.

The construction of large hydroelectric dams throughout the basin at the turn of the 20th century impeded fish migration and flooded entire villages and towns, forcing people to relocate and transforming the ecosystem.

Of the 16 stocks of salmon and steelhead that once populated the river system, four are extinct and seven are listed under the Endangered Species Act, according to the Associated Press.


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