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  • Writer's pictureBrook

Pacific Coast Indigenous nations see a glimmer of hope for the future of salmon

Date: Feb 04, 2023

Rhiannon Johnson · CBC News · Posted: Feb 04, 2023 1:00 AM PST | Last Updated: February 4

Brook Thompson grew up along the shores of the Klamath River in Northern California, where her family would spend their summers camping and catching salmon.

"It's where I got a lot of connection about my culture and my family history," said Thompson, 27, a member of the Yurok and Karuk tribes, to Unreserved host Rosanna Deerchild.

The Klamath River, which flows from Oregon through Northern California and is part of the Yurok and Karuk traditional territory, once provided a bountiful supply of salmon in its cool, clear waters. But since 1918, salmon populations along the river have been declining and habitats have disappeared as six hydroelectric dams were built.

In 2002, when Thompson was seven, she witnessed the most devastating fish kill in the history of her people. According to a report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 34,000 salmon died. The cause of death was a parasite able to spread through the warm, stagnant water, due in large part to the low flow from a nearby dam.

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