4a. Proclamation

Boldt Decision Proclamation

Agenda Item: 4a_proclamation 
Meeting Date: February 13, 2024 
WHEREAS, the abundance of fish and wildlife have enabled the Indigenous Tribes in the
Pacific Northwest to thrive on resources such as salmon and shellfish since time in memorial; and 
WHEREAS, in 1855 the United States Government negotiated treaties with Tribes in
Western Washington that explicitly reserved the Tribes’ right to fish in “usual and accustomed”
areas in exchange for ceding 90% of their land to make way for colonization by settlers to the
region; and 
WHEREAS, the State of Washington overly regulated and restricted exercise of the Tribes’
treaty-reserved rights for many years resulting in Tribal fishers facing many challenges, including
citations and arrests for fishing in their usual and accustomed areas; and 
WHEREAS, by the early 1960s, the State of Washington only allocated between 2 and 5
percent of the annual salmon and steelhead catch in Washington State to the Tribes which resulted 
in Tribal leaders staging significant “fish-ins” and “fish-wars” that drew participation from civic
leaders and celebrities, alike; and 
WHEREAS, in the early 1970s, the United States Government on behalf of the Tribes, 
successfully sued the State of Washington in the seminal case United States v. Washington, which 
resulted in direction to the State to regulate fishing in a manner that allowed full exercise of the 
Tribes’ reserved fishing rights; and 
WHEREAS, on February 12, 1974, Judge George Boldt of the United States District Court
for the Western District of Washington issued his ruling in United States v. Washington in favor
of the United States on behalf of the Tribes and created a significant legal precedent regarding the
enforceability of a treaty right; and 
WHEREAS, Judge Boldt’s landmark ruling, now known as the Boldt Decision, was reaffirmed
by the United States Supreme Court in 1979 and enabled tribes to catch up to 50% of the
salmon and steelhead allocated for harvest in the areas the Treaties covered; and
WHEREAS, the Port of Seattle recognizes the economic and cultural importance of treaty
fishing and a healthy marine environment and how the steadfast work of the Tribes to protect and
provide fish and shellfish benefits everyone; and 
WHEREAS, the Port of Seattle was founded in 1911 by a vote of the people as a special 
purpose government to promote economic opportunities, and quality of life in the region by

             advancing  trade,  travel,  commerce  and  job  creation  in  an  equitable,  accountable  and
environmentally responsible manner; and 
WHEREAS, the Port of Seattle conducts maritime operations within the Suquamish and
Muckleshoot tribal governments’ usual and accustomed fishing areas and has been working to
minimize conflicts between fishing and commercial operations for many years; and 
WHEREAS, in recognition of the importance of the Tribes’ treaty rights, the Port has
recently hired a tribal liaison to work with the Port and Commission to maintain government-togovernment
relationships and to identify opportunities for greater collaboration. 
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Port of Seattle Commission wishes to join the
tribes and many others in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Boldt Decision and affirm 
commitment to sustaining our partnership with Tribes to assure there are fish and opportunities to
fish, for future generations. 

Proclaimed by the Port of Seattle Commission this thirteenth day of February13, 2024. 

Port of Seattle Commission


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