Yakama Tribe Speaks Out After Columbia River Pollution

Nov 13, 2017

Members of the Yakama Nation tribe say they want a seat at the table with officials and regulators. That’s after nearly half a million gallons of sewage spewed into the Columbia River last month.

Members of the Yakama Nation say their ancestors have relied on the Columbia River for salmon for generations.

"You know it’s a source of livelihood towards my people, and that’s why we want to protect it," said Simon Sampson, a Yakama Nation tribal member and a life-long fisherman.

He’s organizing a grassroots coalition of allies and tribal members hoping to meet with those responsible for regulating pollution in the Columbia River.

It’s largely a response to two spills that dumped nearly 500 thousand gallons of feces, urine and laundry waste into the river.

Tribal members say they’re demanding accountability and stricter penalties. They say they want to be included in discussions about how to manage the river.

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting