Published: March 5, 2024

The Getches-Wilkinson Center, Native American Rights Fund, CU American Indian Law Program and Ridges to Riffles Indigenous Conservation Group are thrilled to co-host: Celebrating the Boldt Decision and Treaty Justice.

An evening of scholarship, storytelling and celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Boldt decision and the release of Treaty Justice by Charles Wilkinson.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024   
5:30 p.m. (Mountain Time)
Wolf Law Building, Wittemyer Courtroom
Panel Discussion was followed by a Reception

A recording of the event can be found here.

Panelists include:
John Echohawk, Executive Director, Native American Rights Fund
Rick Collins, Professor Emeritus University of Colorado Law School
Dick Trudell, Executive Director, American Indian Resource Institute
Amy Bowers Cordalis, Ridges to Riffles Indigenous Conservation Group
Kristen Carpenter, Council Tree Professor and American Indian Law Program Director, University of Colorado Law School 

Moderated by:
Chris Winter, Executive Director, Getches-Wilkinson Center

1 State of Colorado CLE credit is approved. 


February 2024 marks the 50th anniversary of the Boldt decision in the Pacific Northwest, a seminal case on Tribal treaty fishing rights that helped to usher in a new era for Tribal sovereignty and co-management of natural resources. Tribal communities in the Pacific Northwest have relied on salmon since time immemorial for subsistence uses, cultural and spiritual practices, and trade. When the Tribes entered into a series of treaties with the federal government in 1855, they reserved their rights to fish off-reservation at all “usual and accustomed” grounds. When the State of Washington interfered unjustly with the exercise of these rights, the Tribes and the federal government launched one of the most important civil rights cases in the history of Native American law, one which would help to define the evolving relationship between Tribal sovereign governments, the federal government, and the states.

Colorado Law’s connections to this important work run deep and cross generations. Professor Charles Wilkinson wrote Treaty Justice – The Northwest Tribes, the Boldt Decision, and the Recognition of Fishing Rights to honor and reflect on the 50th anniversary of the Boldt decision, and the book was published posthumously shortly after Professor Wilkinson passed away. Professor David Getches worked on the seminal case as a young attorney for the Native American Rights Fund, at that time an emerging force in the fight to uphold Treaty rights and defend Tribal sovereignty. In Treaty Justice, Professor Wilkinson skillfully weaves together information on the deep connection between the Tribes of the Pacific Northwest and Pacific salmon, the social and political context, the legal chess match, and the judge who wrote the defining opinion in the case. The resulting narrative proves to be a definitive work that preserves the history of this important case and offers important lessons for future generations as we confront current and emerging challenges in managing natural resources.

We are honored that you have joined us to hear from a distinguished panel of speakers that includes attorneys involved in the original case, law school faculty and Indigenous leaders who will come together to expound on the importance of the decision while also celebrating Charles Wilkinson’s book Treaty Justice.

A recording of the event can be found here.

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