Átwai (the late) David Sohappy Sr. was a strong advocate of Indian treaty rights. He was taught by his father to "Never give up." Tucknashut and his family have a long history of being involved with the fishing on the Columbia River. This includes carrying on the teaching to be providers and willing to share. When you provide for the people, the Creator will reward you.
David Sohappy Sr. was known to lead fishing rights. He and his family were targeting for fishing through a federal sting operation known as Salmonscam, in which the federal government sent David, nearly 70 years old and a WWII Veteran to one of the toughest prisons in the U.S.
Tom Keefe, Sohappy's Attorney
The federal government came for him twice: they came once when he was a young man, with his hair long in a braid as it had been his whole life, and they said "Greetings, Uncle Sam wants you." So he went, and he cut the braid and he went into the army, and he did his duty for his country. When he came back, he went back to doing what he had been doing before. Than he was targeted for fishing. David, along with other fishers led the fight to continue fishing as Yakamas had since time immemorial. He knew it was not fair, and he knew that it was offensive to the religion that has been passed down through his family for generations, and he knew that it violated that religion. He knew it violated the treaty, and he knew it violated the customs and traditions of the Yakama tribe.
Source: Tom Keefe, David Sohappy attorney. April 13, 1987
In 1988, Senator Inouye met with Sohappy to discuss the sentencing.
"Yesterday I was comparing some of the sentencing schedules for crimes committed in this state," Inouye said. "...As a member of the United States Senate, I find this intolerable."
Source: Sohappy has faith in senator. The Spokesman-Review Mar. 7. 1988.
David is featured in the following:
- Court case: Sohappy v. Smith
- Film: River People: Behind the Case of David Sohappy .1981. Produced by Michal Conford and Michele Zaccheo
- Article: Bill would vacate fish treaty protest convictions from 'Fish Wars.' January 15, 2014. Yakima Herald Republic.
- Article: When Inouye came to Spokane. Dec. 22, 2012. The Spokesman-Review. [Includes interview with Tom Keefe].
- Article: Indian Fishing rights leader David Sohappy dies in Oregon. May 8, 1991.The Spokesman-Review
- Article: Indian Fishing Activist David Sohappy Sr. Dies. 1991. The Seattle Times
- Article: Yakima Rebel Stands Ground for Fishing Rights: Indians David Sohappy believes in tradition and an 1855 treaty guaranteeing an unlimited salmon and steelhead harvest. Dec. 30.1990. Los Angeles Times.AP.
- Article: Sohappy has faith in senator: Believes Inouye can help him, son gain freedom. Mar. 7, 1988. The Spokesman-Review.
- Article: Tradition on Trial: Fisherman honored unwritten law Summer 1987. Moccasin Line p. 5-8.
- Book: Shadow Tribe: The Making of Columbia River Indian Identity. 2010. University of Washington Press. Andrew H. Fisher
- Webpage: David Sohappy 1925-1991. The Oregon Encyclopedia
- Webpage: Salmon Scam. Oct.31 2008. Northwest Power and Conservation Council