Salmon are the mainstay of our traditional Haida diet. Their cycles of migration and return to our rivers have provided us with a source of food that we can harvest on a seasonal basis. In the past, families moved from winter homes to fishing camps at the river mouths. They harvested with nets and dried and smoked fish to keep through the winter or trade for mainland foods. Today, the tradition carries on - Skidegate people harvest the Copper River on Moresby Island; Old Massett, the Yakoun River on Graham Island.
Salmon are the mainstay of our traditional Haida diet. Their cycles of migration and return to our rivers have provided us with a source of food that we can harvest on a seasonal basis. In the past, families moved from winter homes to fishing camps at the river mouths. They harvested with nets and dried and smoked fish to keep through the winter or trade for mainland foods. Today, the tradition carries on - Skidegate people harvest the Copper River on Moresby Island; Old Massett, the Yakoun River on Graham Island.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

"Everybody goes up the Inlet to get their fish, even the young ones. The whole village goes up there and they eat from that River."

- Emma Matthews, yaghu jaanaas clan

" Every year we go out with the boat to food fish and distribute it to our elders. Canning of sockeye has been our mainstay. The health of the river is vital to our people in Old Massett."

- Robin Brown, tsiij gitanee clan
"Everybody goes up the Inlet to get their fish, even the young ones. The whole village goes up there and they eat from that River."

- Emma Matthews, yaghu jaanaas clan

" Every year we go out with the boat to food fish and distribute it to our elders. Canning of sockeye has been our mainstay. The health of the river is vital to our people in Old Massett."

- Robin Brown, tsiij gitanee clan

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Photo

Drying Halibut in smokehouse, Haida Gwaii, 1897.

Photo: possibly by B.C. Freeman

PN 366
© Royal British Columbia Museum


PhotopHOTO

Davidson Creek

Photo: Larry Thompson
c. 1999
© Larry Thompson


The cycle of the salmon is one of the great connecting agents between land and sea. In their spawning migrations, the salmon bring the riches from the sea to the upper reaches of the creeks and rivers of Haida Gwaii. Besides the food they provide humans, they are also a vital part of the diet of black bears and river otters. Birds and river fish feed on their eggs. Bald eagles and ravens feast on the carcasses of the dead salmon after they have spawned.
The cycle of the salmon is one of the great connecting agents between land and sea. In their spawning migrations, the salmon bring the riches from the sea to the upper reaches of the creeks and rivers of Haida Gwaii. Besides the food they provide humans, they are also a vital part of the diet of black bears and river otters. Birds and river fish feed on their eggs. Bald eagles and ravens feast on the carcasses of the dead salmon after they have spawned.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Eagle

Eagle feeding on salmon carcass.

Photo: Rob Wenner

© Rob Wenner


Salmon

Salmon migrating upstream, Jiinanga watershed.

Photo: Rob Wenner

© Rob Wenner


Photo

Jiinanga watershed

Photo: Rob Wenner
c. 1998
© Rob Wenner


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe the importance of salmon to the Haida people
  • Explain how salmon connect the land to the sea

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