"I guess people think of it as just a river. But I think it affects all of Masset Inlet, all sorts of marine life living in the inlet. The nutrients coming out of that river support all kinds of life at the mouth, in the wetlands, the waterfowl. It’s the main artery of Graham Island, as a food producer."
- Norman Stewart-Burton, fisherman
"I guess people think of it as just a river. But I think it affects all of Masset Inlet, all sorts of marine life living in the inlet. The nutrients coming out of that river support all kinds of life at the mouth, in the wetlands, the waterfowl. It’s the main artery of Graham Island, as a food producer."
- Norman Stewart-Burton, fisherman

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

aerial view

Aerial view of Haida Gwaii coast.

Photo: Vince Collison
c. 1999
© Vince Collison


At the hatchery site, adult salmon are captured. The eggs are removed from the females, and the milt from the males. These are mixed together to fertilize the eggs and incubated through the winter. In early spring, the fry emerge. They are fed in net pens prior to their release in June, when they are at optimum size for the highest possible survival and eventual return.
At the hatchery site, adult salmon are captured. The eggs are removed from the females, and the milt from the males. These are mixed together to fertilize the eggs and incubated through the winter. In early spring, the fry emerge. They are fed in net pens prior to their release in June, when they are at optimum size for the highest possible survival and eventual return.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Photo

Haida hatchery project.

Photos: Council of the Haida Nation.

© Council of the Haida Nation


Photo

Haida hatchery project.

Photo: Council of the Haida Nation.

© Council of the Haida Nation


Our traditional relationship with the salmon is honoured through a ceremony held on the banks of the Yakoun River at the time that the first sockeye come up the river in May. Thanks are given to the river and the gift of salmon through prayer and singing. The "first salmon" is brought out from the nets, the flesh removed and placed on cedar boughs. Eagle down, sacred symbol of peace and prosperity, is sprinkled on the filleted salmon. The salmon's bones are returned to the river, respecting its long journey home to its birthplace. The first salmon is placed on the fire and offered to the ancestors, giving thanks to them for looking after the river and passing its gifts on to the present generation.
Our traditional relationship with the salmon is honoured through a ceremony held on the banks of the Yakoun River at the time that the first sockeye come up the river in May. Thanks are given to the river and the gift of salmon through prayer and singing. The "first salmon" is brought out from the nets, the flesh removed and placed on cedar boughs. Eagle down, sacred symbol of peace and prosperity, is sprinkled on the filleted salmon. The salmon's bones are returned to the river, respecting its long journey home to its birthplace. The first salmon is placed on the fire and offered to the ancestors, giving thanks to them for looking after the river and passing its gifts on to the present generation.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Mask

Salmon mask by Robert Davidson.

Photo: Dean Nomura

© Dean Nomura


Ceremony

Blessing the Yakoun River - First Salmon Ceremony.

Photo: Maureen McNamara.

© Maureen McNamara


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe the importance of salmon to the Haida people, and the Haida Gwaii ecosystem
  • Describe the salmon ceremony of the Haida people

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