Puyallup Tribe v. Department of Game, 391 U.S. 392 (1968)
U.S. Supreme CourtPuyallup Tribe v. Department of Game, 391 U.S. 392 (1968)
Puyallup Tribe v. Department of Game of Washington
Argued March 25-26, 1968
Decided May 27, 1968*
391 U.S. 392
Respondents brought these actions in the state court seeking declaratory relief concerning rights which petitioner Indians asserted by virtue of Article III of the Treaty of Medicine Creek made with the Puyallup and Nisqually Indians and certain conservation measures adopted by the State of Washington with respect to its territorial waters. Under that provision of the treaty, the
"right of taking fish at all usual and accustomed grounds and stations, is . . . secured to said Indians, in common with all citizens of the Territory. . . ."
The fish to which the Treaty rights in these cases relate are salmon and steelhead, anadromous fish that hatch in the fresh water of the Puyallup and Nisqually Rivers. To catch these fish for their own use and for commercial purposes, the Indians have used set nets, which Washington undertook to regulate. The State Supreme Court held that these fishing rights can be regulated by the State, and remanded the causes to the trial court to determine if the regulations were reasonable and necessary.
1. The State may, in the interest of conservation, regulate fishing by the Indians "in common with" the fishing by others. Pp. 391 U. S. 397-401.
2. Whether the use of set nets at locations where the Indians placed them is permissible is a question not reached on the record. Pp. 391 U. S. 401-403.