Upper Skagit Indian Tribe: Seattle’s Skagit River dams put treaty rights at risk

Seattle City Light’s hydroelectric dams on the Skagit River were built on the Upper Skagit’s ancestral lands, but the tribe was never consulted about the project.

SEATTLE — A small, rural Indian tribe based in Sedro-Woolley accuses the city of Seattle of degrading its culture, identity, and federally-protected treaty rights.

The Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, according to historians, has inhabited the Skagit Valley along the Skagit River for 10,000 years. Members say 100 years ago, their way of life on the Skagit was disrupted. That’s when, without consulting the tribe, Seattle’s publicly-owned utility, Seattle City Light, built three dams in the middle of the Skagit River

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