Salmon, fire, and the environmental and political contexts of tribal health
In 2004, the Karuk Tribe filed a report with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission describing the relationships between Klamath River dams, denied access to salmon, and elevated rate of diabetes and other diet-related diseases for Karuk people. Whereas dominant health frameworks tend to de-contextualise social and political context of illness or disease, from indigenous perspectives, social, political, cultural, and especially environmental dimensions of human health are key. The Department of Natural Resources continues to conduct cutting edge research in the areas of fisheries, fire, food security, climate change, and water quality, and the environmental dimensions of human health remains a key framework for the tribe’s work. Beginning in 2001, Ron Reed served as the Karuk tribal representative in relicensing process, attending meetings for one week of every month for four years. In-depth interviews were used to gather detailed information from tribal members regarding health, diet, food access and consumption, and economic conditions.