Last week, Washington State’s Attorney General Office announced it will become the first government agency in America to work with Tribal Nations on the basis of “Free, prior and informed consent” of Indigenous Rights. Adopted by the United Nations Declarations of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples after advocacy from Washington’s Tribes, this historic tribal consent and consultation policy will impact tribal lands, rights and sacred sites with the requirement of free, prior and informed consent from Washington’s Attorney General to move forward with proposed action.
In response, Samish Indian Nation’s Chairman Tom Wooten issued the following statement:
“The Samish Indian Nation is pleased that Washington state will work with Tribal Nations across the state to ensure that “free, prior and informed consent” will be provided on issues that directly impact Tribal lands, rights and sacred sites. This consultation is critical to ensure that Tribal lands and recognized sovereignty is respected and aligns with the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as adopted by the United Nations. This is a positive step for all residents of Washington state, as we all share in the impact of some of the biggest issues around our state from the opioid crisis to our changing climate.
Samish was proud to join other Tribal Nations to ensure this effort is standard for decisions in Washington state. Now it’s time for our leaders in the other Washington to step up to the plate and show that the federal government respects Tribal rights and will adopt a commitment to free, prior and informed consent at the federal level.”