Skagit Farmers and Swinomish Tribe Pt 2

Skagit Farmers and Swinomish Tribe Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today's Fruit Grower Report, I'm Bob Larson. It was a 'gray area' cleared up for Skagit County farmers and the Swinomish Tribe by the Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke.

In a letter received by both recently, Zinke laid out exactly what constitutional jurisdiction the tribe had over the land, air, water and minerals across the valley, potentially beyond reservation boundaries.

Save Family Farming's Gerald Baron explains why the decision was so significant ...

GERALD BARON ... "If this constitution change were to be deployed in litigation, for example, or in political outreach of the Swinomish Tribe, and remembering that the Swinomish Chairman is also the president of the National Congress of American Indians, so the lead lobbyist for tribal interests in the nation, it is likely that that same sort of effort would be extended by other tribes in looking to expand their jurisdiction and exert more control over their local areas including how the land is being used."

Baron says it was a real learning experience ...

GERALD BARON ... "There's several important things that have come out of it, certainly what the letter that the Secretary's office has submitted back to the Swinomish, you know, very clearly delineates what their jurisdiction is and what it is not. And it was that lack of clarity that we were very concerned about."

Baron says another major thing they learned through the experience was how much influence a community has when they come together, in this case, to show support for farmers across Skagit County.

Nearly 350 community members sent letters to Secretary Zinke in support of the farming community.

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