Joe Oatman

Deputy Program Manager @ Nez Perce Tribe Fisheries Department

I am a Nez Perce tribal member who is a descendent of Chief Looking Glass, a principal chief of the Nez Perce who signed the Treaty of 1855 with the United States Government. My family has ties and history of use lands, waters, and natural resources in the Columbia River and the Snake River basin. I am presently employed as the Deputy Program Manager of the Tribe’s Department of Fisheries Resources Management (DFRM).

I have experience working with the unique Federal-Indian relationship and policies on treaty salmon and steelhead fisheries and treaty rights. I participate in ocean and in-river forums that address treaty fishing rights of the Nez Perce and other relevant Indian tribes, such as the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST), Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), and Columbia River and Snake Basin fish management and restoration.

The Tribe is considered a coast-wide manager because of our federally recognized fishing rights to harvest salmon that originate in the Columbia and Snake rivers. As a management entity, we have a shared interest in salmon conservation and rebuilding to support our culture, wellbeing, and economy. Tribes are the salmon leaders, the salmon stewards, and the salmon managers, bringing knowledge, science and experience to the entirety of the ecosystems that salmon rely upon. My interest is in promoting and advancing policies that ensure healthy freshwater and ocean ecosystems, climate resilience, and thriving tribal communities for a more just and equitable future for Indian tribes such as the Nez Perce and others of the West Coast region.