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News Release

Yakama Nation

Today, 17 tribal leaders from across Washington State sent a letter to Governor Inslee urging him to reject the permits for the Goldendale Pumped Storage Project.

The Goldendale Pumped Storage Project proposed at Juniper Point, or Pushpum, in Goldendale, Washington is a violation of Yakama Nation’s inherent sovereignty and Treaty-reserved rights through direct and permanent destruction of an irreplaceable sacred site.

Pictured: A map of the Goldendale Pumped Storage Project site proposed at Juniper Point, or Pushpum, in Goldendale, Washington.

Pictured: A map of the Goldendale Pumped Storage Project site proposed at Juniper Point, or Pushpum, in Goldendale, Washington.

The Yakama Nation’s treaty-reserved right to exercise gathering, fishing, ceremony and passing of traditions in the area of the proposed project has existed since time immemorial. Yakama Nation opposes the development of the project to avoid irreparable damage to Yakama Nation’s natural and cultural resources.

“Our medicines, foods, lands, and waters are sacred to us” said Yakama Tribal Council Chairman, Delano Saluskin. “For too long, these sacred places where we gather our foods and hold our ceremonies have been threatened by development without consultation with, or consent from, our sovereign tribes. This is unacceptable.”

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Yakama Nation values the support of all tribes who stand in alliance with them to protect their natural and cultural resources. “We stand united with the Yakama Nation to protect their sacred sites,” said Tulalip Tribe’s Chairwoman Teri Gobin. “All tribes in Washington State must stand together to protect our resources.”

The full text of the letter follows:

Re: Goldendale Pumped Storage Project Violates Yakama Nation’s Sovereign Rights

Dear Honorable Governor Inslee:

We Treaty Tribal Leaders stand with the Yakama Nation in their fight to protect their cultural and natural resources. The pumped storage project proposed at Juniper Point, Pushpum in Goldendale, is a violation of Yakama’s Treaty rights and would destroy an irreplaceable sacred site.

Our medicines, foods, lands, and waters are sacred to us. For too long, these sacred places where we gather our foods and hold our ceremonies, have been threatened by development without consultation with, or consent from, our sovereign tribes. This is unacceptable.

Our ancestors signed Treaties with the United States, often under threat of violence and death, in exchange for our ancestral lands and sacred places. Through these treaties, we retain the rights to practice and live in our traditional ways in these places. Yet, the promises made by the government have been broken time and time again. Development and industry have threatened our ways of life for hundreds of years and continues to do so today. Our salmon populations are near extinction. Our ancient villages and ceremonial sites have been flooded. Our ways of life are under constant threat from development and climate change. We must protect our sacred places for our future generations.

We call on the state and federal governments to do better. Uphold the Treaties and respect the rights of our Sovereign Nations. Deny the permits for the Goldendale pumped storage project on Yakama Nation’s sacred lands.

Leonard Forsman
Tribal Council Chairman
Suquamish Tribe 

W. Ron Allen
Tribal Council Chairman
Jamestown S’klallam Tribe

Steve Edwards
Tribal Senate Chairman
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

Teri Gobin
Board of Directors Chairwoman
Tulalip Tribes 

Nino Maltos
Tribal Council Chairman
Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe

Timothy J. “TJ” Greene, Sr.
Tribal Council Chairman
Makah Tribe

Douglas Woodruff, Jr.
Tribal Council Chairman
Quileute Tribe 

Charles “Guy” Miller
Tribal Council Chairman
Skokomish Indian Tribe

Frances G. Charles
Business Committee Chairwoman
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe

Bill Sterud
Tribal Council Chairman
Puyallup Tribe of Indians 

Kris Peters
Tribal Council Chairman
Squaxin Island Tribe

Jaison Elkins
Tribal Council Chairman
Muckleshoot Indian Tribe

Guy Capoeman
Tribal Council President
Quinalt Indian Nation

William Jones Jr.
Tribal Council Chairman
Lummi Nation

Rosemary LaClair
Tribal Council Chair
Nooksack Tribe

Jeromy Sullivan
Tribal Council Chair
Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe

Willie Frank, III
Tribal Council Chairman
Nisqually Indian Tribe

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