A Twenty-First Century US Water Policy

By Juliet Christian-Smith; Peter H. Gleick et al. | Go to book overview

4
TRIBES AND WATER

Kate A. Berry


Introduction

A long-standing and still unresolved federal water problem is how to address the rights and access of contemporary American Indian tribal governments and communities to freshwater. This chapter examines major issues that tribes face concerning water.1 It begins with the recognition that tribes face different circumstances than all other ethnic and racial groups in the United States, and this affects tribal water governance. Tribes have a unique political (and legal) relationship with the federal government; they are sovereign within a framework of other sovereigns who often compete with one another. Three water challenges that many tribes face are considered in detail: water rights and administration, energy and water, and water quality governance. Progress toward resolving these challenges was slow during the 20th century when tribes were either ignored or sidelined in discussions around water policy. The chapter begins with a discussion of the dimensions of sovereignty as it relates to the tribes, states, and the federal government and concludes with suggestions on an approach to 21st-century federal policy on tribal water matters.

The experience of the Lummi Indian Nation, in the state of Washington, offers some insights into the unresolved challenges facing many Native American communities. In response to a long-standing water dispute with the state of Washington, the Lummi Indian Nation distributed the 23-page Call to Action in 1995. The document encouraged tribes and their allies to lobby Congress and the administration to prevent tribal funding reductions buried in an appropriation bill. The funding cuts were proposed by Senator Gorton, who actively opposed many aspects of tribal sovereignty, particularly anything related

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A Twenty-First Century US Water Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • List of Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction- the Soft Path for Water xv
  • 1 - The Water of the United States 3
  • 2 - Legal and Institutional Framework of Water Management 23
  • 3 - Water and Environmental Justice 52
  • 4 - Tribes and Water 90
  • 5 - Water Quality 109
  • 6 - Protecting Freshwater Ecosystems 142
  • 7 - Municipal Water Use 167
  • 8 - Water and Agriculture 195
  • 9 - Water and Energy 221
  • 10 - Water and Climate 244
  • 11 - United States International Water Policy 263
  • 12 - Conclusions and Recommendations 288
  • Appendix - Key Pieces of Federal Legislation 305
  • Notes 313
  • About the Authors 317
  • Index 319
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