What happens when the sovereignty of one nation conflicts with the laws and practices of another?
The Treaty of 1855 is a document signed by Native American leaders, Washington Territory’s Governor Isaac Stevens, and Oregon Territory’s Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Joel Palmer. Palmer and Stevens pushed for “exploitative treaties” by “cajoling and threatening the delegates,” according to historians at the National Park Service. Despite resistance from Yakama Chief Kamiakin, Nations were confined to reservations and other areas were opened for white settlement, including “ceded land.” While the Yakamas could continue to hunt and use this land, the treaty removed the Yakamas’ exclusive use of it, granting wide access
to of the land to white settlers.
Northwest treaty rights continue to be frequently discussed in communities and courtrooms. In his talk, Yakama hunter and fisherman Aaron Paul Whitefoot discusses the history and tensions that linger from this treaty. While exercising the hunting and fishing rights reserved for him by the treaty, Whitefoot often clashes with state game wardens trying to implement state laws on ceded land. Learn how this struggle is emblematic of the larger history of colonialism, sovereignty, the value of nature, and traditional cultures.
Aaron Paul Whitefoot (he/him) graduated from Haskell Indian Nations University. Whitefoot served as a tradition bearer in the Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program from the Center for Washington Cultural Traditions, teaching hunting, fishing, tying nets, and cutting and processing elk. He runs the Yakama Nation Hunters and Gatherers Facebook page and a YouTube channel where he demonstrates his craft.
Whitefoot lives in Harrah.
For more information on how to book a speaker, please contact Sarah Faulkner at (206) 682-1770 x101 or by email.