Graduation Date

Fall 2017

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Social Science, Environment and Community

Committee Chair Name

John Meyer

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Cutcha Risling Baldy

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Elizabeth Watson

Third Committee Member Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional

Subject Categories

Environment and Community


From 2008 to 2010 members of the Hoopa Valley Tribe harvested large quantities of salmon from the Trinity River within the boundaries of the Hoopa Valley Reservation, and sold them to an off-reservation buyer. Other tribal members questioned the legality of the sellers’ actions, as well as the appropriateness of their fishing methods, which were interfering with non-commercial fishing on the river. In response, the Hoopa Valley Tribe’s governing council created a commission charged with developing commercial fishing regulations with input from the tribal membership. In early 2011, the commission invited me to participate in planning and facilitating two public hearings to collect input from tribal members. Using a conflict analysis framework, I examined issues brought up in media coverage, council and commission meetings to understand the main points of disagreement among stakeholders. I then examined the results of the public hearings, which were recorded as field notes, meeting minutes, and an audio broadcast. The results of the hearings show tribal members intervening and reframing the task of creating regulations away from a focus on resource management to acknowledging the complex relationship Hupa people have with salmon, and the dissonance between the expressed relationships and commercial fishing activities. I present the Hoopa Valley Tribe’s efforts as a case study that explains Zoe Todd’s concept of “fish pluralities,” which theorizes the many ways fish exist to Indigenous people as sites of political exchange. My project demonstrates how these pluralities are mobilized politically and enacted in governance and, for Hupa people, are part of the historical and spatial continuity of cultural and political sovereignty.

Citation Style