Homesteading family’s lasting legacy realized in agreement to return nearly 10,000 acres of habitat to Colville Tribes in conservation deal

“The return of traditional land to tribal control also felt right to Colville Tribal Chairman Andrew “Badger” Joseph. That land is good sharp-tailed grouse habitat, a species important to the tribes ecologically and spiritually. Tribal members will also use the land for subsistence hunting and gathering.
The nontribal public will be allowed to access the land for “temporary and non-consumptive uses.”
The covenant’s restrictions didn’t bother him, or the Colville Tribal Business Council, Joseph said, because the tribes shared those “common goals of preserving the land and bringing it back to as much of its natural state. (So) our council was OK with the covenants … because it follows our own traditions.”
“Conservation is pretty much a tribal practice,” he said. “From time immemorial. Our people were always brought up to be respectful to the land and what it offers to our people.””