Nez Perce and Pyramid Lake Paiute Water Quality Governance

Authors: Kate Berry*, University of Nevada, Reno, Teresa Cavazos Cohn, University of Idaho, Autumn Harry, University of Nevada, Reno, Sierra High Eagle, University of Idaho
Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Water Resources and Hydrology, Political Geography
Keywords: Tribes, water quality, governance
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Chairman's Boardroom, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Tribes in the U.S. face broad-based restrictions over the control of water quality, influenced by centuries of colonization, economic exploitation, and the assertion of primacy in water jurisdiction by the federal government and states. Nonetheless, tribal-led initiatives that exert sovereign authority while building capacity in water quality governance have occurred and continue to occur. This paper considers experiences of the Nez Perce Tribe and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe with water quality and its governance. We pay special attention to these Tribes’ histories and geographies with respect to water quality governance, addressing influential aspects of their physical geography as well as the social geography and historical events that structure water quality governance. Understanding these cases offers broader insights into how geography and history play roles in particular challenges and opportunities that tribal governments face as they negotiate water quality governance.

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