At the Confluence of Law and History: an Investigation of Water Rights in Nez Perce Country Thesis uri icon



  • Thesis (M.S., Water Resources)--University of Idaho, June 2014 | Central Idaho is the aboriginal homeland of the Nez Perce Tribe. Recently, the Tribe engaged in disputes over water resources and its treaty fishing rights with the Lewiston Orchards Irrigation District, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Idaho Power Company. Competition over water resource use in Nez Perce Country can be better understood when viewed in a historical context. These conflicts originated from the creation of conflicting rights by the federal government without considering competing interests. These conflicts were exacerbated when the government supported economic water resource use without adequately protecting the Tribe's treaty rights or considering factors beyond economic development. However, after a period of increased self-government by the Tribe, in concert with the development of legal mechanisms aimed to protect both treaty rights and fish habitat, the Nez Perce Tribe has succeeded in exercising its treaty rights and protecting fish habitat.

publication date

  • June 1, 2014