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Date of Award

Winter 2023

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Abel, Troy D.

Second Advisor

Rossiter, David A.

Third Advisor

Miller, James (Professor of comparative indigenous studies)


My research investigates narratives within fisheries management for Washington state’s Skagit River, focusing on ecological restoration and diminishing salmon runs. I ask, how might differing narratives affect progress and reflect the ontological orientations of the fishery’s co-stewards? Asked with a twist, Who is Nature? (abbreviated Who’s Nature?), I aim to critique the classic Euro-American paradigm of nature and examine the connections between us, the who, and natural world? I hope my research illuminates these important questions. I selected three entities with varying Euro-American and Indigenous affiliations—the Skagit Watershed Council (SWC), Skagit River System Cooperative (SRSC), and Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC)—and then used Narrative Policy Framework to analyze literary devices of scale, villains, and victims in four publicly available documents from each entity. The results highlighted a statistically significant difference in who coalitions victimize. The SWC and SRSC only victimized nature, while the NWIFC portrayed both nature and humans as victims of ecological degradation and struggling salmon populations. I believe this dissonance is rooted in conceptions of humans as either separate from, or part of nature—perspectives that have implications for fisheries management, conservation policies and the future of salmon. If we continue to ignore these fundamental ontological differences, collaborative approaches are likely to fail, and the salmon crisis will only worsen.




fisheries management, Skagit River, salmon runs, ecological restoration


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subjects – Names (LCNAF)

Skagit River System Cooperative; Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (Wash.)

Subject – LCSH

Fishery management--Skagit River (B.C. and Wash.); Restoration ecology--Skagit River (B.C. and Wash.); Salmon--Skagit River (B.C. and Wash.); Salmon fisheries--Skagit River (B.C. and Wash.)

Geographic Coverage

Skagit River (B.C. and Wash.)




masters theses




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