The Indigenous Roots and Reparation Foundation is hosting a screening of the new documentary Fish War. The trailer - propulsive and brimming with intrigue - can be viewed here.

Co-directed by Charles Atkinson, Jeff Ostenson and Skylar Wagner, Fish War is comprised largely of archival footage. It's a North Forty production (helmed in partnership with Northwest Treaty Tribes Media). North Forty is a Wenatchee-based company specializing in earthy, low- or mid-budget, lovingly handcrafted documentaries and feature films.

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For generations, Indigenous people in Washington were kept afloat by subsistence fishing. But their access to the wild blue yonder was curtailed by statewide officials, some of whom were scheming and deceptive; Olympia refused to honor a 19th century treaty enshrining Indigenous fishing rights.

If history has taught us anything, it's that Indigenous resolve is indomitable. The "fish war" is a good case in point. Having been slighted by Olympia, the Indigenous fishermen refused to take it on the chin; instead they organized in large numbers. They clashed bitterly and repeatedly with law enforcement. And when all else failed, they took their fight to court.

Eventually a federal judge ruled in their favor.

Judge George Hugo Boldt was a right-leaning Eisenhower appointee presiding in the U.S. District Court for Western Washington. There was a great hue and cry over Boldt's ruling in United States v. Washington, a 1974 case that, improbably enough, upheld Indigenous fishing rights. Some in the conservative grassroots balked at this "betrayal" of conservative values, but it was a monumental victory for Indigenous fishermen and the Indigenous community writ large.

Fish War will be screened at the Numerica Performing Arts Center on Thursday, June 27 at 7 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets.

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