"In those days there wasn’t such thing as a dollar bill... The most important thing that ever existed was the food."
-John Yeltatzie, Gaawaas Eagle Clan, 1996.

Aboriginal peoples along North America’s coastlines have taken their food from the ocean for thousands of years.

Fish, shellfish and sea mammals were their staples. Berries, roots, eggs and birds were gathered and hunted to enrich this ocean diet.

Haida ancestors moved with the seasons to hunt, harvest and fish. In the warm months, they travelled by canoe to rivers like the Yakoun for the thousands of swimming sockeye there.

In old times, traditional equipment ensured a plentiful catch. Haida fishermen took their technically-advanced fishing weirs, nets and hooks with them to the open waters and rivers.
"In those days there wasn’t such thing as a dollar bill... The most important thing that ever existed was the food."
-John Yeltatzie, Gaawaas Eagle Clan, 1996.

Aboriginal peoples along North America’s coastlines have taken their food from the ocean for thousands of years.

Fish, shellfish and sea mammals were their staples. Berries, roots, eggs and birds were gathered and hunted to enrich this ocean diet.

Haida ancestors moved with the seasons to hunt, harvest and fish. In the warm months, they travelled by canoe to rivers like the Yakoun for the thousands of swimming sockeye there.

In old times, traditional equipment ensured a plentiful catch. Haida fishermen took their technically-advanced fishing weirs, nets and hooks with them to the open waters and rivers.

© 1998, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

House

Chief Wiah's House, Old Massett

Photo: Royal British Columbia Museum
c. 1887
PN 5339
© Royal British Columbia Museum


Salmon

Preparing Salmon

Photo : Alan Wilson

© Alan Wilson


Smokehouse

Drying halibut in smokehouse, Haida Gwaii;

Photo: possibly by B.C. Freeman
Royal British Columbia Museum
c. 1897
PN 366
© Royal British Columbia Museum


Rope

Haida kelp fishing line and halibut line of twisted spruce root.

Photo: Royal British Columbia Museum

PN 11868
© Royal British Columbia Museum


Nets

Haida fish nets; wooden triangular frame; webbing of twisted cedar bark.

Photo: Royal British Columbia Museum

CPN 9848 and CPN 1475
© Royal British Columbia Museum


Evolution of fishing technology.

Photo: Alberni Valley Museum

© Alberni Valley Museum


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe the traditional food and food gathering technology of the Haida people

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