Opposing the Introduction of Genetically Engineered Salmon

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 The National Congress of American Indians
Resolution #ANC-14-037

TITLE: Opposing the Introduction of Genetically Engineered Salmon

WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and

WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and

WHEREAS, salmon is now and has always been central to the culture, religion and society of the many Native people, and the continued harvest of salmon is critical to maintaining our culture, society and religion; and

WHEREAS, salmon is an integral and important part of the subsistence and diet of the many Native people and as a result Indian people consume greater amounts of salmon than the general public, which puts Native people at a greater risk of being adversely affected by any potential impact of genetically engineered salmon; and

WHEREAS, Indian people engage in salmon harvest as part of their federally protected right to take fish reserved in treaties negotiated between Indian tribes and bands and the United States and as part of the federal trust responsibility, and the introduction of genetically engineered salmon will likely adversely affect this treaty and trust right to take fish; and

WHEREAS, should genetically engineered salmon escape into the wild habitat, those genetically engineered salmon will adversely affect wild salmon, salmon upon which Indian people are dependent, by, at a minimum: competing with wild salmon for food and rearing locations, and by inbreeding with wild salmon which could result in the extirpation of wild salmon, and studies to date have not ruled out these two possible adverse impacts of genetically engineered salmon on wild salmon; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering an application to allow the introduction and sale of genetically engineered salmon into the United States; and

WHEREAS, this approach would be inconsistent with federal court ordered salmon management plans; and

WHEREAS, given the disproportionate impact genetically engineered salmon would have on the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives, their culture and society, and the continued meaningful implementation of their treaty and trust right to fish.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI strongly opposes the introduction of genetically engineered salmon into the United States for consumption, research or production; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI calls upon the FDA to have meaningful government-to-government consultations pursuant to Executive Order 13175 in regards to this issue before taking any action on genetically engineered salmon; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.


The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2014 Mid-Year Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Dena'ina Civic & Convention Center, June 8-11, 2014 in Anchorage, Alaska, with a quorum present.