Rachel Odell

  • The Snake River, Unplugged

    Salmon-killing dams may amount to "takings" of tribal fishing rights
      In the late summer of 1958, the Snake River plunged through an un-dammed Hells Canyon for the last time. The raging water slammed against the bodies of enormous salmon as they sought their ancestral breeding grounds. On the edge of the river stood a 14-year-old Nez Perce boy, accompanying his father and uncles as they netted salmon on the Oregon-Idaho border.

      "Us little guys really weren't allowed to dipnet the salmon, because they would pull us into the river with them," says Elmer Crow, now 60. "Sometimes the men would tie us to the rock, if we bothered them enough, and let us hold a net for just a second. But those fish were strong, and they had somewhere to go, and I sure as hell couldn't hold on." Neither, eventually, could the salmon.

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