SALEM, Ore. – The Burns Paiute Tribe, a federally-recognized Indian tribe, signed an agreement with the State of Oregon and ODFW to continue support and cooperation to protect and enhance fish and wildlife, cultural resources, and habitat connectivity.
“This agreement affirms the role of the Burns Paiute Tribe in both exercising and management of aboriginal rights that were never extinguished,” said Burns Paiute Chairperson Diane Teeman.”We value our partnership with the state in co-management of fish and wildlife and this Agreement is an important step in further developing that partnership.”
Governor Kate Brown, Chairperson Diane Teeman and ODFW Director Curt Melcher signed the agreement on Oct. 3 at the Tribal-State Summit in Florence.
“The people of the Burns Paiute Tribe have been stewards of these lands and First Foods like salmon and steelhead since time immemorial, and it is critical that our governments work hand-and-hand to protect and maintain Oregon’s fish and wildlife,” said Governor Kate Brown.
“I’d like to thank the Burns Paiute Tribe and Chairperson Diane Teeman, as well as ODFW and Director Melcher, for making this important agreement possible, which is essential for this critical work to move forward in a collaborative way, using the combined expertise and knowledge of Tribal and State experts,” Brown added.
The agreement memorializes ongoing cooperative efforts between BPT and ODFW. These efforts include ceremonial hunting opportunities, a ceremonial and cultural Chinook fishery on the Malheur River, and a collaborative effort to address vehicle-caused wildlife mortality from Highway 20 in the Malheur River Canyon.
“At ODFW, we understand and appreciate the importance of fish and wildlife to the Burns Paiute Tribe,” said Director Melcher. “It gives me great pleasure to sign this agreement recognizing our shared interests and outlining our future commitments to the fish and wildlife resources of the state,” he added.
In addition, the agreement establishes a framework for future collaboration work on salmon and steelhead restoration efforts in the Malheur River Basin. The framework includes cooperative efforts to restore habitat, in addition to conducting baseline assessments including pathogen assessments that will be needed for any future reintroduction efforts.