Phil Hamilton: Salmon Fishing is a Birthright

For Phil Hamilton of the Muckleshoot Tribe, salmon fishing is a birthright. He remembers when his grandmother was the tribal chair during the “fish wars” of the early 1970s, until the federal court Boldt Decision affirmed tribal rights to half of the harvestable salmon. He remembers how his father worked on the legal issues surrounding fishing rights guaranteed by 100-year-old treaties.

Today, after 43 years working with the Muckleshoot Tribe, Phil serves as a member of the tribal Fisheries Commission, overseeing management of the Fisheries Department. That includes raising salmon at tribal hatcheries as well as supporting the state-owned Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. The chinook and coho raised in Issaquah populate the Greater Lake Washington Watershed and historic fishing grounds for the Muckleshoot Tribe. Read more here