March 9, 2021
By Chairman Devon Boyer, Fort Hall Business Council
As a tribal leader of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, I am pleased and relieved that Representative Mike Simpson has taken on the biggest, most complicated natural resource issues in the Northwest, that of salmon recovery, energy, and the economic needs of states, towns, communities and tribal nations.
Rather than using a piecemeal approach, Simpson has identified a potential long-term solution that can restore the Snake River corridor and end the litigation. We are now at a crossroad between an unsustainable system, and a potential new path that can provide the opportunity for growth in new ways.
One of the primary strategies offered in this new concept is removing the four lower dams, which will move us forward in salmon recovery, restore the river ecosystem functions, provide for recreational opportunities and economic revival to communities.
My people, the Shoshone and Bannock people are comprised of many ‘bands,’ one of them are referred to as the Salmon eaters or the “Agai-dika,” that lived, respected and valued the Idaho salmon. Our tribal leadership has an extensive history of advocating for treaty fishing, for the continuation of our tribal traditions, and our inherent tie to our ancestral lands and waters. The alarmingly low numbers of salmon and steelhead is a result of over harvest, but also because of the construction and operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS).
We now rely upon the Endangered Species Act listing to protect these valuable species. As we watch an undesirable march toward extinction for several populations of salmon and steelhead, we realize how dangerously close we are to severing the ecological and cultural relationship. We need a systemic change to our current infrastructure – a change that will address our northwest energy generation, guaranteed funding for recreation and transportation, community economic development for jobs and businesses, and a comprehensive oversight of fish and wildlife and consultation of all parties.
Mike Simpson is no longer willing to stand by and passively witness the slow decimation of salmon and related species, but instead has offered a solid concept for us to consider in the Salmon and Energy Concept. It is not simply a dam removal proposal, but a comprehensive multi-pronged approach that is intended to benefit as many parties as possible. He is seeking help from our Idaho community to help better understand the concerns and issues so he can help develop a federal legislative solution. We need your help to voice these concerns.
As tribal leader, on behalf of my Tribe, I am in full support of Simpson’s proposal and his request for more discussion on how to develop a comprehensive bill for Congress to discuss and eventually approve. It is my dream to see within my lifetime, a solution implemented, and that salmon and steelhead will be available for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to enjoy as my ancestors did.
Message to Idaho State Legislators
Please consider and discuss the overall situation, and how this bill can be used to benefit Idaho stakeholders, and support the Tribes of Idaho positions.
The Five Tribes of Idaho provide unique input into the economy of Idaho with our production efforts of salmon and steelhead, along with our successful economic ventures. State legislators should not overlook the Tribes’ positions, and should objectively consider how to represent all of Idaho’s constituency.
Message to my Tribal People
I ask all tribal members, community members and any others who wish to offer input on this valuable proposal, to please contact your state and federal elected officials and share your support for Simpson’s effort to find a comprehensive solution for our region. This proposal is too important to not act!
For more information, visit Simpson’s website: