Wilbur Slockish Jr says he is defending practices enshrined in the beliefs of the Klickitat Band of the Yakama Nation since the beginning of time.
Traditional river chief tells of his battle for sacred fishing rights
Wilbur Slockish Jr has been shot at, had rocks hurled at him. He hid underground for months, and then spent 20 months serving time in federal prisons across the country. All of that for fishing in the Columbia River in the US state of Oregon.
But Slockish, a traditional river chief of the Klickitat Band of the Yakama Nation, would endure it all again to protect his right of access to the river and the fish that his people believe were bestowed on them by the Creator.
“It’s a sacred covenant,” he said. “Nothing’s more important.”
Tribal fishermen like Slockish have drawn the ire of commercial and sport fisherman as well as government officials over the decades for engaging in an act of faith.