Wednesday, November 20, 2013

This week on SAMAQAN
Net laid out at the Preachers Eddy, Columbia River
Every year the salmon come back is a song composed and a print design of my good friend, Master Haida artist Robert Davidson, Guud San Glans and also known as Eagle of the Dawn. Each year the harvesting of salmon is a ritual in many first nations communities across Turtle Island and Robert has done his part to honor the food source. Human and salmon are intertwined.

Klickitat Falls 2011
In the first season of SAMAQAN we produced a story about the Columbia River fishery and how the tribes negotiated a treaty for salmon harvesting. The Columbia River is also used for hydro electricity and irrigation for the US Midwest. When a dozen dams were built in the mid-late 1950’s, the harnessing of water for energy robbed Canada of an important resource. The salmon could not swim past the largest three dams. 1000 miles of spawning beds, all of them in Canada, were left high and dry.
The historic fishing mecca, Celilo Falls near the Dalles dam, was inundated in 1957. The flooding of Kettle Falls when the Grand Coulee was built in 1940 preceded that.  This directly affected the people of the Okanagan Lakes area and our friends Tracey Kim Bonneau and her family. We spoke to Jeanette Armstrong in Penticton where the salmon are attempting a revival of some species. 
Setting the nets at the Preachers Eddy, Sherri Greene, Nez Perce

Although our people harvested salmon in many ways one of the most common modern day methods advocates the use of nets. Nets are used in a variety of ways. In ancient times people used natural fluctuations in water levels. Low tide weirs were common. And throughout the stretch of human development first nations have developed right along with everyone else. Today first nations are an integral part of commercial fishing. Special harvesting rights are entrenched in federal laws.
Adams River run photo by Ramsay Bourquin
 But will the salmon continue to return as they have throughout the millennium? Will we experience shortages in our salmon stocks? Are we guilty of over harvesting?

Adams River run photo by Ramsay Bourquin
This week’s episode of SAMAQAN is homage to the mighty resources of the Pacific Northwest, the Sockeye. In 2010 the famous Adams River Sockeye run returned with higher than expected numbers. The annual run peaks every four years and in 2014 the run is expected to equal the numbers of 2010. SAMAQAN has been holding on to most of the footage we gathered at the 2010 run until today. In tonight’s episode and throughout our website you will finds signs of the salmon.

Robert Davidson during filming of  "Abstract Edge".

To the artists, the fishing professionals and to the customary users of salmon we are very grateful for all that has been shared with the SAMAQAN crew. Of utmost importance is the way we use salmon. We store it in bottles, freeze filets and smoke most of our annual harvest. We try to make sure that there is a year’s supply, but never take more than we need. The entire crew of SAMAQAN is like this. Almost all of us were raised with salmon in our diets. We raise our hands to Every Year The Salmon Come Back.

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