On Thursday, May 22, new Nez Perce Executive Committee Chair Shannon Wheeler addressed a lively Josephy Center audience on the current status of the Lower Snake River Dams. Kyle Smith of American Rivers, who has the newly created role of “Snake River Director” for American Rivers, gave an introductory slide tour of the current state of affairs, but Chairman Wheeler carried the load.
He started with salmon’s role in the Nez Perce creation story, moved on to Native loss of land and habitat, and quickly covered Idaho Representative Mike Simpson’s Columbia Basin Initiative. Shannon Wheeler is obviously a smart and aware negotiator, dealing easily with political and agency people from Idaho, Washington, and Oregon to the White House. But the thing in his presentation that stood out in my mind is that his people know what it is like to be on the losing end of water/land transactions, and want to make sure that players other than salmon and the Indian people are not similarly harmed in current negotiations.
Check out the entire presentation here–and let us know what you think;