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Peaceful Site Dispute Resolution

Back in 2011, the four tribes’ representatives who make up CRITFC’s Law Enforcement Committee came up with a five-step process for site disuptes. Over the past two years, the number of site disputes have decreased quite a bit thanks to fishers working to deal with some of the disputes themselves. I have high hopes that we’ll see the number of disputes decrease even further as we head into the fall fishery.

The five-step process is:

STEP 1. Try to resolve the dispute directly with the other involved fishers. In many of the cases from the past few years, the disputing fishers hadn’t even spoken with one another before CRITFC Enforcement involvement.

STEP 2. If you cannot resolve a site dispute between yourselves, contact your tribe to get assistance. Provide them with the fishing site, all the fishers involved, and any other information that may help resolve the site dispute, such as site registration documents and maps.

There may be some risk in taking matters into your own hands. Depending upon the circumstances, handling of another’s property may result in a tribal violation.

STEP 3. If your tribe does not act to resolve the dispute in a timely manner, contact CRITFC Enforcement (541-386-6363). A case report will not be initiated until Steps 1 and 2 are followed. Contact CRITFC Enforcement immediately if you are concerned for your personal safety or immediate loss of property.

STEP 4. Tribal law enforcement and CRITFE will attempt to help resolve the site dispute at the fishers’ level before escalating the issue for tribal action. Your cooperation will help make this outcome more likely. If, however, the resolution is not satisfactory to you, contact your tribe’s Fish and Wildlife Committee.

STEP 5. Abide by the decision of your tribe. Tribal law enforcement and CRITFC Enforcement have no authority to hear appeals to tribal decisions, they are merely there to enforce tribal law and decisions. If you would like to appeal a tribal ruling, direct it to your respective tribal officials and not tribal law enforcement and/or CRITFC Enforcement.

Here’s to a productive, safe, and dispute-free fall fishery!

—Paul Lumley, CRITFC Executive Director

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