Yurok Tribe

"We have always and will always do everything in our power to
preserve and enhance the Klamath for all future generations."

         Joseph L. James, Chairman, Yurok Tribe

Facing a looming new threat to the already endangered salmon upon which its culture, society, and economy depend, the Yurok Tribe passed its Genetically Engineered Organism Ordinance, believed to be the first tribal law of its kind in the country. Enacted as a "preventative measure against future harm," the ordinance is a necessary step to protect Yurok's food sovereignty and ensure the spiritual, cultural, and physical health of its people. Through its community-driven legislative process, the Tribe also created a comprehensive Pesticide Ordinance, and is deploying ongoing public education campaigns to effectively enforce both laws. 

Ø  Louisa McCovey, Director, Yurok Tribe Environmental Program, 707-482-1822, lomccovey@yuroktribe.nsn.us 
Ø  Dawn Sturdevant Baum, Deputy General Counsel, Office of the Tribal Attorney, Yurok Tribe, 707-482-1350 x1311, dbaum@yuroktribe.nsn.us  (for procedural and legal questions)

To learn more about the Yurok Tribe’s governance story, click on the case study and related resources below.

Note: Development of this case study was supported by a grant from the Native American Agriculture Fast Track Fund. Fast Track funding was part of the settlement of the Keepseagle v. Vilsack national class action lawsuit, which also led to the creation of the Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF), the largest philanthropic entity supporting Native American farmers and ranchers through grants that focus on business assistance, technical support, and agricultural education, and advocacy.

Natural Resource Management: YUROK TRIBE 

Pagosa Daily Post:  California's Yurok Tribe Grants 'Rights of Personhood' to Klamath River
Lost Coast Post:  (PHOTOS + VIDEO) The Yurok Tribe is Leading a Massive Restoration Project on the Trinity River, and the Fish are Coming Back
Indian Country Today: Yurok Tribe breaks new ground with genetically engineered organism ordinance
Yurok Tribe Genetically Engineered Organism Ordinance (December 10, 2015) 
Yurok Tribe Pesticide Ordinance (August 31, 2017) 
Yurok Tribe Public Hearing Ordinance (January 21, 2015) 
Cheyenne Sanders: Fulfilling Yurok's Role as a World Renewal People (video)
Eureka Times-Standard: Yurok Tribe bans GMO fish, crops
Indian Country Today: Longtime partners celebrate complete major land deal to return ancestral lands to Yurok Tribe and conserve Blue Creek
National Congress of American Indians: Resolution #ANC-14-037: Opposing the Introduction of Genetically Engineered Salmon
Northern California Tribal Courts Coalition: Tribal Regulation of Genetically Engineered Organisms: Model Ordinance
Northern California Tribal Courts Coalition: Rights of Mother Earth
Northern California Tribal Courts Coalition: Tribal Food Integrity Project: Policy Process Guide
Yurok Today: Tribal Council passes law banning GEOs (page 10)
Yurok Today: Tribal Council Passes Historic Resolution: Tribal resolution establishes legal rights for the Klamath River (page 3)
Yurok Tribe: Resources for Further Learning