Skokomish Tribe Sues State of Washington
A federal lawsuit involving the rights of Indian tribes to hunt game on “open and unclaimed lands” has been filed by the Skokomish Tribe against the state of Washington.
The Kitsap Sun reports that the lawsuit claims actions by state agencies and officials have denied tribal members access to their legitimate hunting areas, as well as imposed sanctions on tribal members and promoted a “discriminatory scheme” of hunting regulations that favor non-Indians.
Listed as defendants in the case are state officials who oversee the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Fish and Wildlife and Attorney General’s Office. Also listed are the county prosecutors in Grays Harbor, Mason, Kitsap, Jefferson, Clallam and Thurston counties, who are charged with prosecuting hunting violations.
The lawsuit asks the federal court to define the extent of the tribe’s hunting and gathering rights, identify the territory where the tribe may operate, confirm the tribe’s “exclusive and co-concurrent management authority” and declare a tribal allocation for game, roots and berries.
The tribe also seeks an injunction to prevent state officials from interfering with tribal rights to hunt and gather roots and berries.