"For these Tribes, the Return of the Bighorn Brings Back a Way of Life"

"The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation align the principles of conservation with tradition"

"From our vantage point in a motorboat on the reservoir known as Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake in eastern Washington, we scan the rocky canyon walls of the Colville Confederated Tribes’ Hellgate game reserve for bighorn sheep. Before it was a reservoir, manufactured by the US government’s Grand Coulee Dam, this was once a mighty, salmon-rich stretch of the Columbia River that formed the basis of an entire ecosystem—and that supported the 12 tribes of the Colville Confederated Tribes since time immemorial.

The boat belongs to Rose Piccinini, the Tribes’ Sanpoil district wildlife biologist. She is part of a team that manages the herd of bighorn sheep that the Tribes’ wildlife department reintroduced beginning in 2009. She also leads the Tribes’ efforts to restore lynx populations back into the ecosystem here.

The animals who shared this landscape were once fully integrated into every aspect of tribal members’ lives. They harvested bighorn sheep and other game for food, tools, and clothing. Intricate myths, legends, and teachings about the animals were passed down by elders to descendants and bound them to who they were—and who, as a result, their descendants came to be."

Rico Moore reports for YES! with photos by David Moskowitz February 17, 2024.


"These Tribes are Working to Return Salmon, and Tradition, to Their Communities" (YES!)

"A Tribal Roadmap for How to Restore, Protect, and Sustain the Lynx" (YES!)

Source: YES!, 02/21/2024