Sohappy v. Smith

302 F. Supp. 899 (1969)

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Sohappy v. Smith

United States District Court for the District of Oregon
302 F. Supp. 899 (1969)

Facts

Pursuant to its treaty with the United States, Yakama fishers were entitled to the right “of taking fish at all usual and accustomed places” on the Columbia River. Increased commercial and sport fishing by non-Indians had depleted the numbers of fish, and to promote conservation of resources, the state placed new restrictions on Indian fishers. The state determined the number of harvestable fish in each run. The Oregon State Game Commission and the Fish Commission (collectively, the state) (defendants) allocated certain amounts of harvestable fish to commercial and sport fishers and restricted where certain types of fishing could occur. The restrictions served to give non-Indian commercial and sport fishers an advantage. By the time the fish reached the Yakama’s usual and accustomed fishing places, few harvestable fish remained. Yakama fishers resisted, leading to arrests. David Sohappy and other members of the Yakama (collectively, the Yakama fishers) (plaintiffs) sued to define their treaty rights and determine the extent to which the state could regulate Indian fishing.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Belloni, J.)

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