The White River Valley Museum’s newest exhibit, Sasquatch: Ancient Native Perspectives on the Mysterious Beings of the Woods, examines generations of Native oral histories documenting the presence of legendary beings that live deep within the Pacific Northwest forests.
“What you will see are four depictions of stories told by Native elders about unique and mysterious woodland beings, as told to early anthropologists,” described Patricia Cosgrove, White River Valley Museum Director and Salish culture enthusiast. “Most of those elders were born before 1880, so their oral histories reach far back in time. We wish to celebrate the connections to the natural world that members of Indigenous cultures so often preserve.”
Most everyone today has heard of the Sasquatch. They have become mainstream legends often depicted in art, on t-shirts, and in movies. There was a time not so long ago when one did not speak of the Sasquatch openly because to do so might draw one to you.
Native people have told of many encounters with the Sasquatch, which seem to be an essential part of the natural world. Sightings and stories continue on reservations today, representing a spiritual connection to the pre-contact past and the resilience of Indigenous cultural heritage.
While Sasquatch, also known by the crude name Bigfoot, has seen its popularity soar in the mainstream, it hasn’t been the case for Dzoonokwa, Stick Indians or Slapu. Yet all (and more) are mysteries beings thought to have inhabited the mountains and coastlines of the Pacific Northwest.
Dzoonokwa (pronounced zoo-no-kwa) is a forest giant identified for millennia in oral histories by Native people on Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland. Dzoonokwa is very large, covered all over in brown or black hair, and in art it is depicted with pursed lips.
Native people up and down the Northwest Coast and perhaps in many other areas have spoken of little, wild human-type beings that live in the forest. Some call them Stick Indians. The name seems to come from these tiny people living up in the ‘sticks.’ Most stories tell of Stick Indians as tricksters, little people who can make life difficult in many ways if they choose.
Slapu is a Wild Woman of the Woods who appears in many oral histories from the Clallam area. Stories about Slapu were often designed to impress children with the importance of correct behavior. Children that wandered into the forest would run the risk of being captured by her. She would place the captured children in a large basket and carry them off to her dwelling, deep in the forest. Slapu resembles greatly the main character from the popular Tulalip story, The Basket Lady.
The Sasquatch exhibit settings come alive with spoken quotes from anthropological records. Continuing the traditions of their elder’s storytelling, these Native voices give insight to a perspective that has endured for generations.
Upper S’Klallam artist and storyteller Roger Fernandes’s artwork forms the foundation of the exhibit. He spent nearly four months going through the rigorous process of bringing Sasquatch, Dzoonokwa, Stick Indians, and Slapu to life via the paintbrush.
“In Native culture, there are many levels to the significance of beings like Slapu and Sasquatch,” explained Roger. “At one level it’s just describing what is – there are beings out there living in the forest and they don’t associate with us on a regular basis, they are secretive and hide. Another level, mythologically, there are powers in the forest we humans will never truly understand, and maybe these beings represent that power.
“Then there is another level that represents overcoming challenges and obstacles one comes across in life. When these stories are told to children, by rites a kid cannot beat these forest creatures, they are too big, too strong. But in the stories a child always figures out a way to confront and overcome them. Much like life, fear always makes challenges appear too big, but once solved you realize how much you learned and grew from facing the challenge head on.”
Sasquatch: Ancient Native Perspectives on the Mysterious Beings of the Woods will be on display at the White River Valley Museum, located just minutes from the Muckleshoot Reservation, through December 16. The exhibit is supported in part by the Tulalip Tribes Charity Fund.
“Being non-Native, I’m doing my best to do a sensitive portrayal here with a lot of Native friends,” added Patricia, Museum Director. “We had several Muckleshoot tribal members lend their voice to the exhibit, Upper S’Klallam artist Roger Fernandes created artwork for us, and we received a generous gift from the Tulalip Tribes Charity Fund that we are so thankful for. It is so meaningful to me to be trusted and supported by the local tribes.”
In 2014, the Seattle City Council unanimously elected to replace the national holiday known as Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, a holiday which celebrates Native American culture. It is no secret, in fact the atrocities committed by Christopher Columbus are well-documented. Under the name of colonization, Columbus and his crew raped, murdered and enslaved thousands, if not millions, of the Indigenous People who inhabited his ‘new-found land’.
Even though his crimes are well-documented, the majority of America seems to conveniently forget about his actions, often romanticizing his voyage and ‘discovery’ as the birth of a nation. Although several cities recently followed Seattle by declaring the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day, many Americans refuse to acknowledge the Italian explorer’s dark history and are upset that people are electing to celebrate Indigenous culture instead. This year, a Native American statue in Texas was vandalized with red paint, the vandals left behind a cross with a message that simply read ‘Columbus Day’ next to the statue.
President Donald Trump recently stated, “The permanent arrival of Europeans to the Americas was a transformative event that undeniably and fundamentally changed the course of human history and set the stage for the development of our great nation. Therefore, on Columbus Day, we honor the skilled navigator and the man of faith, whose courageous feat brought together continents and has inspired countless others to pursue their dreams and convictions – even in the face of extreme doubt and tremendous adversity.”
Due to schools nationwide inadequately teaching the history of Christopher Columbus, he is perceived by many as a stand-up guy; it may be years before the entire nation collectively agrees otherwise. However, Indigenous Peoples Day promotes awareness and education about Columbus, while celebrating the Native American culture, heritage and traditions.
On October 9, the United Indians of All Tribes gathered at Westlake Center in downtown Seattle and marched to City Hall. Throughout the march traditional songs and dances were on display as tribal members from across the nation, many in full regalia, celebrated being Indigenous. Upon reaching City Hall, local Indigenous leaders shared words of excitement, gratitude and encouragement with fellow marchers.
Following the march attendees were invited to a traditional salmon dinner at the Daybreak Star Cultural Center. Hundreds of local-based Natives attended the celebration at Daybreak, where special performances including songs, dances and poetry were shared. United Indians honored several community leaders with blankets designed by Eighth Generation by Louie Gong. In a Facebook post Hunkpapa Lakota member and local Native American Activist, Matt Remle, shared his feelings regarding this year’s Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration.
“I would like to express my deep gratitude to all those I had the opportunity to work with this year on our fourth annual Indigenous Peoples Day celebration. We jammed for a good twelve hours from the streets of Seattle to Daybreak Star and it was all beautiful. Much behind the scene work goes into organizing these gatherings and so many are responsible for pulling it off – all for the love of who we are. I seen non-stop smiles, pride, joy and many tears. To all the singers, dancers, cooks, organizers much love, appreciation and gratitude. We’ll keep putting forth that good transformative energy as we live our values, roles and responsibilities daily. We’ll grow stronger, united for our children and grandchildren. They are watching and waiting. Hecetu welo.”
As a drought tightens its grip on the Pacific Northwest, burning away mountain snow and warming rivers, state officials and Native American tribes are becoming increasingly worried that one of the region’s most precious resources — wild salmon — might disappear.
Native Americans, who for centuries have relied on salmon for food and ceremonial rituals, say the area’s five species of salmon have been declining for years, but the current threat is worse than anything they have seen.
“I grew up always having salmon,” said Lorraine Loomis, fisheries director for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, whose culture is so intertwined with the migrating fish that they’re called the “People of the Salmon.” Salmon feasts once marked every phase of life on the reservation north of Seattle — naming ceremonies, weddings, funerals, memorials to the dead. Now they are few, she said.
“We’re very worried,” said N. Kathryn Brigham, chair of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission in Portland, Ore., which helps manage fisheries for the Yakama Nation and the Warm Springs, Nez Perce and the Umatilla tribes in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
An estimated quarter-million salmon, more than half of the spring spawning run up the Columbia River, perished, probably because of a disease that thrives in warm water and causes gill rot, officials said. Normally cool streams in the river basin are 13 degrees warmer than the 60 degrees preferred by salmon, Brigham said.
Salmon in the Northwest come in a variety — chinook, pink, coho, sockeye and chum — and that diversity has helped them survive for eons. When they hatch, some babies stay in place to eat and grow before migrating to the Pacific Ocean. Others swim to the ocean right away.
Adults stay in the Pacific for three to seven years before returning to streams where they hatched by swimming through Puget Sound in Washington or up the Columbia River, which runs from Alberta, Canada, to Oregon.
But as the climate warms, more salmon are starting to move farther north to Canada, experts say. Swimming to cooler waters in the north signals a major shift in behavior for the fish, and public officials are watching the trend with dread.
In addition to their significance to Native American communities, the salmon are worth more than $1 billion annually to each state’s sport fishing and tourism industries, which support tens of thousands of jobs.
Oregon and Washington officials recently closed dozens of recreational and commercial fishing spots. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service trucked 160,000 salmon 100 miles from a hatchery in central Oregon to a cooler part of the Columbia River.
As more fish vanish, the Swinomish, whose reservation skirts five bays, rely on handouts from the state and tribal councils. They accept 5,000 to 10,000 pieces per year to freeze, Loomis said.
“There’s just no water,” she said. “The glaciers are almost gone. The snow in the mountains is not good.” Even if salmon survive, but in tiny, remnant populations, “we won’t be able to sustain ourselves.”
Off the coast of Oregon, wild chinook salmon are gathering for a fall spawning run up the Columbia, but experts say there’s a good chance many will never arrive to lay eggs in the streams and brooks where they hatched several years ago.
Besides facing long-standing hurdles such as dams, the fish now will encounter a large patch of warming water. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Rich Johnson said the cooler ocean water probably will signal to the salmon that it’s okay to migrate up the warmer Columbia.
Earlier this year, clusters of dead and dying sockeye salmon were discovered in Oregon’s Lower Deschutes River, a Columbia tributary. Officials counted at least 100 fish but speculated that scavengers ate dozens more.
Scientists fear the chinook will suffer the sockeye’s fate. Die-offs mean that fewer eggs will hatch and hatchlings might not survive the warm water.
“The bleakest, most dire outcome is if this drought is sustained for a couple more years like California,” said Greg McMillan, science and conservation director for Oregon’s Deschutes River Alliance. Some populations “could go extinct,” he said.
But wild salmon have an array of survival tools. The species do not all migrate at the same time, and their hatchlings do not all behave the same. Some remain in shallow streams two years after hatching, while others head for the Pacific.
If you’re like me, you’re chronically short on time, so home cooked meals can be a challenge. Maybe you’re like a couple of my family members, you hate eating the same meal twice and will avoid it like the plague. If you’re frugal, the idea of good food going to waste just makes your blood boil. Enter the leftover makeover, and suddenly, everyone is happy.
The leftover makeover is all about planning ahead and being flexible. It starts at the beginning of the week with a foundation meal. If you read my last recipe article, “It’s too hot to cook,” you know I’m a bit of an amateur foodie. I’m also a huge believer in food activism. You don’t have to be an extremist to be an activist, by the way. In my opinion one of the best ways to affect change is to vote with your dollars.
Most of the food I buy and eat is local, and whenever possible, I buy it from people I know. I also purchase a produce box from a local organic farm every week. That said, I’m not afraid to pick up a handful of ingredients based on pure convenience. A bit of advice, don’t make health too difficult or you won’t stick with it.
Food is far more than nourishment, it’s a way to connect with the people around you. Most of the meals you see in the syəcəb didn’t happen at my house, they happened at my mom’s, or a friend’s. Why? Food is better when it’s shared with good company. Plus you can enlist the diners as prep cooks before the meal and dishwashers after (I love food, not dishes).
Making a meal that can be plated all at once takes practice. Don’t feel bad if you botch it. I do all the time. Trust me, the people eating will be just as happy to snack in courses as they will be when you hand them a full plate. You’ll get the hang of cook times the longer you cook.
Don’t be afraid to try things out. Don’t know how to cook over live fire? Learn. Or just cook indoors, the broiler setting on your oven works like an upside down grill. If you see unfamiliar produce at the grocery store go ahead and buy it. Google it for recipes and maybe find a new favorite. Be flexible, it’s not brain surgery, just dinner.
The foundation meal: Salmon and salad
A foundation meal is like a ‘choose your own adventure,’ book. It’s just a starting point and the rest of the week’s menu can go anywhere from here. We’re starting with a fresh King Salmon caught right here in Tulalip Bay. Remember, support our local fisherman, they are a living link of our culture.
If you’ve eaten food cooked over a wood fire, then you know the rich flavor wood smoke adds. That said, I don’t cook over a fire, instead I buy salt. Not just any salt, but alder wood smoked sea salt produced by a company called Salish Saltworks.
We cooked our salmon on a Weber grill, over indirect heat. Because this is a large fish, we had to cook the halves one at a time, for about 30 minutes each. Indirect heat (notice the coals aren’t directly beneath the fish), allows the meat to cook more evenly. Large cuts of meat cooked over direct heat tend to be burnt on some areas and raw in others. The grill should be hot, about 400-450 degrees.
Salmon is tasty. It really doesn’t need much to dress it up. In this case I coated it evenly with smoked sea salt and pepper and topped it with butter. I use Plugra which is a European style butter. Why? Because America’s Test Kitchen gave it great reviews, and sometimes I totally buy into the marketing. Plus, I think it tastes good. Each fillet is cooked for about 30 minutes, no need to flip the fish, just leave it alone.
Remember when your mom used to yell at you for opening the door because, “You’re letting the heat out!” Same principle. Every time you raise the lid on the grill or open your oven door you let the heat out and extend the cooking time. Be patient, what’s the worst that happens, you burn it? Trust me, it’s still tasty, just add some cayenne pepper on the backside and call it ‘cajun’ blackened salmon.
For a quick side I chopped some red peppers and apples and tossed them over a bed of mixed greens. A healthy meal definitely needs something decadent, so I went to the freezer. Anytime I make cookies, I make a double batch and freeze half the cookie dough.
The cookies pictured are adapted from a Quaker oats recipe for cowboy cookies (http://stage.www.quakeroats.com/cooking-and-recipe/cowboy-cookies.aspx). Since I’m not fond of raisins and chocolate together, I cut the raisins out. I use real butter, and reduced the sugars from 1 cup each to ¾ cup each. You can generally reduce sugars by ¾ to ½ without affecting the texture, but be aware, the cookies don’t brown as quickly. Pay attention or you’ll overcook them. Of course, if you’re like me, crispy cookies are even better, so, who cares if they get overcooked? Break out the milk or coffee, dip them and enjoy anyways.
As soon as you’ve eaten, prepare your salmon for the following meals by flaking it (peel it apart with your fingers and pull out all the bones), then packing it up and freezing immediately. You have two hours from safe temperature (off the grill) to refrigeration. Food safety is one of the few places where I am a fanatic. Process your leftovers immediately or just throw them away. Don’t risk food poisoning. It’s not worth it.
It’s okay to put it in the fridge and pack it the next day, but better to freeze it the same day you cook it. My rule of thumb is that meats are good for about six days total. Three days from the time you buy it to the time you cook it and an additional three days after you cook it. However, you can keep meat in the freezer for about 1-3 months. Just thaw overnight in the fridge prior to use.
Meal 2: Salmon tacos
Even if you didn’t remember to thaw your frozen cooked salmon the night before (I didn’t, as usual), you can toss the freezer bag into a bowl of cold water and it will thaw in about 30 minutes. While your salmon is thawing, chop veggies. These will end up in your tacos, so pick stuff you like.
I have some general rules I follow when making tacos. I rarely use lettuce, I choose cabbage instead. Why? Lettuce is a pesticide heavy crop and cabbage isn’t. Cabbage also tends to be less expensive and it’s crunchier. As for the other toppings, I’ve almost always got bell peppers on hand during the summer, I love cilantro, and lime, so that’s what I chopped. This week we also received pluots in the produce box, a pluot is a hybrid between a plum and an apricot. It tastes like a plum, but slightly sweeter. I diced those up too. A little fruit added to something savory just takes it to the next level. Trust me, it works. Don’t be shy with the veggies, any extra will be repurposed later this week.
Finally, I’m prejudiced against microwaves. I don’t actually own one anymore and I find that I rarely miss it. Instead of nuking your tortillas, toss them directly on the burner over low heat (if your burner has settings from 1-10, that’s generally a 2 or 3). The tortillas end up flexible and the char marks add flavor. Want tostadas? Just cook them until they’re crunchy instead of flexible.
Now that all your toppings are prepared, and your salmon is thawed, toss it in a skillet along with whatever seasonings you love. If you were hoping for specifics, sorry, I don’t measure unless I’m baking. I do toss my spices in a bowl, mix and taste before I add them to the food. In this case I used garlic powder, chili powder, salt, paprika, black pepper and a little bit of allspice. Trust me on this, the allspice doesn’t taste sweet in small amounts, and it plays well off the pluots.
Now that everything is done, heat your tortilla’s and assemble. Eat. Repeat.
Meal 3: Chicken tenders, stuffed jalapenos, pasta and fruit salad
You’re probably wondering, where is the salmon? It’s in the freezer, we’ll use it tomorrow. Tonight we’re taking the leftover veggies from our tacos and turning them into homemade pico de gallo or fresh salsa. Size matters. The finer your ingredients are chopped, the more surface is exposed and the more the flavors pop. This salsa is made from finely diced red and yellow bell peppers, garlic scapes (which taste like a cross between green onions and garlic, what can I say, my mom has a lot of random ingredients in her fridge), roma tomatoes that have been seeded (slice them into quarters and scrape all the wet stuff out) and diced, juice from about half a lime and the same spices we used on tacos yesterday. Cover this and let it sit out at room temperature, cold food doesn’t have as much flavor as warm, so unless there’s a food safety reason, I don’t refrigerate before serving.
Once the the pico de gallo is done, we need to light charcoal for the grill. Everything being cooked today is actually grilled, which means high heat and short cook time. Barbecue has become a general purpose term, but it actually means low heat and long cook time. So for future reference, grill = hot and fast, BBQ = low and slow.
Stuffed jalapenos are up next. First, slice the jalapenos in half lengthwise and seed them. Fill each with a small rectangle of pepper jack cheese, top with pico de gallo and sprinkle with fajita seasoning. Then set them aside. We’ll grill them as soon as the coals are ready.
Now we’re going to get some pasta underway. Here’s where convenience rules over principles. Instead of making it from scratch, I opened a box, in this case the box is Kraft Suddenly Salads (pasta) classic flavor. Prepare according to the box instructions and if the mood strikes you, add pico de gallo or veggies of your choice to the finished pasta.
Time to prep the chicken. We used chicken tenders because they cook quickly. I basically rolled the chicken in olive oil and sprinkled it with salt and pepper. Done. There’s so much flavor going on in this meal, you don’t need extravagant chicken too.
For desert today we have fruit salad. I chose peaches and blueberries because both are still in season and yummy, I added bananas to cut the acid and sweeten it, then tossed it all with juice from about half a lime. No sugar needed.
The peppers cook on the grill for about 3-5 minutes at about 450 degrees. Once they come off, put the chicken on. The chicken only needs 2-3 minutes per side. When in doubt, stab it with a knife. The juices should run clear, if it’s still bleeding, toss it back on the grill.
I’m lucky, my mom lets me invade her kitchen often. Prior to this meal I gave her a call and asked if she’d make deviled eggs. She said yes and the deviled eggs were done before I started cooking. Deviled eggs, by the way, are super easy, a great way to use eggs when they approach the expiration date and can be easily turned into egg salad sandwiches the following day (if there are any leftover, which there never are at our house).
The leftover fruit salad can become a breakfast smoothie. Leftover chicken can be sliced in half for chicken sandwiches at lunch. Save your leftover pico de gallo for tomorrow. All leftovers should be refrigerated as soon as you’re done serving today’s meal.
Meal 4: Salmon burgers
Now it’s time to throw all those leftovers together. It’s the end of the week, so this is the simplest meal of the bunch. Toss your flaked salmon in a bowl with a couple eggs to bind it together. It’s going to be wet. Add enough crushed crackers or chips (you can always go fancy with Tim’s Cascade Jalapeno chips, or whatever you like, for some extra flavor) to make it about burger consistency. Form into baseball sized balls and drop them on a piece of foil. Flatten with your hand and then slide the patties into a non-stick skillet over medium heat (about 300 degrees).
I bought dinner rolls to use as buns. Slice them and top with some of that pepper jack we bought yesterday. I also used the avocados that I bought for tacos. Unfortunately, they weren’t ripe on taco day, but they’re perfect here on burger day. You can either cut the avocados into thin slices, or put them in a bowl and mash them with a little bit of lime to keep them from browning. Add the burger and top with the pico de gallo from yesterday.
Desert today is honeydew melon. Because we had one and it needed to be eaten. Tada! A week’s worth of meals from one foundation dinner. Remember to be flexible and don’t take it too seriously, food should be fun.
Swinomish Fish Company, owned by the Swinomish Tribe, is supplying Baker Lake spring chinook salmon to the largest independent grocery retailer in the Pacific Northwest.
Haggen Food & Pharmacy has 164 stores in Washington and Oregon, as well as California, Arizona and Nevada. Haggen’s seafood buyer, Amber Thunder Eagle, spent the winter meeting local fish companies and making arrangements for a spring catch to be delivered to Haggen’s seafood cases.
It’s as much a story about habitat restoration and resource management as it is economic development. For thousands of years, Swinomish ancestors living in villages along the Skagit and Baker rivers harvested salmon to meet the people’s dietary, ceremonial and trade needs: chinook from April to June; sockeye from June to August, pinks during odd-numbered years from July to September, and chum from September to November. The ancestors used weirs and traps, nets, spears, and hook-and-line to take salmon and other fish.
The 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott made land in this region available for non-Native settlement. The ancestors did not give up their people’s right to harvest salmon on the Skagit and Baker rivers. But in the post-treaty years, new industries – logging, mining, farming — took their toll on the rivers and the salmon. Dams built in the 1920s and 1950s to generate electricity, impeded salmon migration.“Rail lines and logging roads … increased sedimentation in the gravel beds used for spawning,” the Historical Research Associates report states. “In some instances, road embankments spilled directly into stream channels through landslides … Timber harvest methods, such as clearcutting, similarly proved damaging to fish habitat [by] increasing turbidity and sedimentation from erosion …”
In the 1890s, salmon runs were estimated at 20,000, by the time the first dam was built, that was down to 15,000. By 1985, only 99 spring chinook returned to spawn, according to the Historical Research Associates report.
But the health of the run rebounded, thanks to years of habitat restoration and resource management efforts, and conveyance systems that help salmon get to ancestral spawning grounds upstream of Lower and Upper Baker dams. In 2012, a record-high return was recorded with more than 48,000 fish returning to spawn, according to the Swinomish Tribe. The forecast for this year’s spring chinook run was 35,000; the summer sockeye run projection is 46,268, according to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.
“We’re grateful for the restoration of the Baker Lake run,” Swinomish Fish Company vice president Everette Anderson said in an announcement of the Haggen contract. “The community who made this possible are steadfast in the preservation of this run, which will benefit the people of Washington for generations.”
According to the Swinomish Tribe, the Swinomish Fish Companyis the largest Native American-owned seafood wholesaler, retailer and custom processing plant in the United States. Its brand, NativeCatch, is all-natural, wild, and sustainably harvested, and distributed around the world.
This seems counterintuitive. Why would we kill wild salmon if we are hoping to save them? The fact is, salmon are big business and consumers wield tremendous power through their purchasing decisions. When you buy and eat wild salmon, you are investing your dollars in our nation’s sustainable wild-salmon fisheries.
On June 4, U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland released a ruling in a lawsuit filed by the Pebble Partnership against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pebble has plans to build North America’s largest open-pit copper mine in the headwaters of Bristol Bay in Alaska — home to North America’s largest remaining wild-salmon runs. The EPA’s involvement in Bristol Bay came at the request of tribes, commercial fishermen, sportsmen and business owners, but the court ruling earlier this month temporarily keeps efforts to protect Bristol Bay through the Clean Water Act on hold.
So what can be done in the meantime to protect this world-class resource?
First, educate your family and friends about wild salmon.
This spring, in partnership with commercial and sport fishermen, Alaska Native residents, chefs and conservationists, we completed a national tour of “The Breach,” a documentary film about the history and future of our last great wild-salmon runs. As a filmmaker and former Alaska salmon fishing guide, and a chef who serves wild salmon, we are both motivated by wild salmon economically. But it’s more than that.
We, like most people living in this part of the world, revere salmon as the iconic keystone species they are. They’re not simply a product to be pumped out of a factory — they are the very lifeblood for 137 different creatures when they return to our rivers and streams with the ocean’s nutrients inside them. They are an irreplaceable part of our Northwest landscape — they’re even inside the trees. And yet their future here remains uncertain.
As “King of Fish” author David R. Montgomery says in the documentary film, “We haven’t done a particularly good job of protecting the resource when it comes to wild salmon.” That’s true.
Historically, European and American settlers overfished wild salmon until their numbers crashed. Worse, salmon spawning rivers were destroyed when they were dammed, polluted and scoured by rapacious logging and mining practices. Hatcheries and open-net-pen fish farms designed to mitigate this damage have in the long run actually caused more.
Thankfully, there are some healthy runs of wild salmon left — and great strides under way — such as the removal of the two Elwha River dams, which provide real hope for seeing wild salmon return. But of all the fully sustainable wild-salmon runs remaining in North America, none are as strong or as vital as the runs in Bristol Bay in Alaska.
Unfortunately, instead of listening to science and the opinions of 65 percent of Alaskans, the Pebble Limited Partnership decided to sue the EPA and delay the protection process that millions of Americans have asked for.
Within weeks, more than 50 million wild sockeye salmon will return to Bristol Bay — the most in decades. Alaskan salmon are protected by the most stringent management practices in the world. In fact, protection of salmon was mandated by law in Alaska’s constitution in 1959.
When we purchase wild salmon, we’re purchasing a food source that is the same as it’s been for millennia — fed by the krill and currents of the open ocean. It’s nutritious and sustainable — and in Bristol Bay alone, provides 14,000 jobs on the West Coast, to the tune of $1.5 billion to the American economy. That simply can’t be said about other non-wild salmon options in the marketplace.
The choices we make with our forks and our dollars will affect what remains for future generations. If we demand wild salmon on our plates, we are demanding healthy habitat where wild salmon can thrive in perpetuity. And wild Bristol Bay sockeye can be purchased year-round, flash frozen or canned, with the same nutrients, quality and flavor as the day it was pulled out of the water — for a price affordable to most.
At the end of “The Breach,” Montgomery finishes his statement about human interaction with wild salmon by telling us, “If we don’t get Alaska right, we may have a clean sweep of getting it wrong.”
So what can else can we do?
Telling the Obama administration how we feel about wild salmon in Bristol Bay is the next best thing. But fundamentally, if we revere wild salmon — as 90 percent of us say we do here in the Pacific Northwest — we need to pick up our fork and insist they remain, by eating them.
A writer and director, Mark Titus recently directed “The Breach,” an award-winning documentary about wild Pacific salmon. Tom Douglas, a chef and owner of a diverse group of Seattle restaurants, co-produced “The Breach.”
The Cascadia fault in the Pacific Northwest is locked up, meaning that a massive megathrust earthquake could occur at any time, seismologists are warning.
“It’s impossible to know exactly when the next Cascadia earthquake will occur,” said Evelyn Roeloffs of the U.S. Geological Survey, speaking last year on the 313th anniversary of a massive quake that hit in 1700—the last major one in the region. “We can’t be sure that it won’t be tomorrow, and we shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming we have decades to prepare.”
The tectonic plates normally glide and rub against each other, but periodically they become wedged together. When the fault quits sliding and becomes “locked” in place, it builds energy until it finally ruptures, relieving hundreds or thousands of years of stored-up stress in seconds, Roeloff said.
Now, earthquake scientists from Canada and the U.S. who monitor seismic activity along the Cascadia coast have concluded that the dangerous fault line is fully locked, which carries serious implications for an earthquake in the Pacific Northwest.
“What is extraordinary is that all of Cascadia is quiet,” University of Oregon geophysics professor Doug Toomey told the Associated Press earlier this month.
Research on the Cascadia Subduction Zone in 2012 and 2013 led researchers to similar conclusions.
A big unknown, Toomey told AP, is how much strain has accumulated since the plate boundary seized up, and how much more strain can build up before the fault rips and unleashes a possible magnitude 9.0 megaquake and tsunami.
“If there were low levels of offshore seismicity, then we could say some strain is being released by the smaller events,” Toomey told AP. “If it is completely locked, it means it is increasingly storing energy, and that has to be released at some point.”
Toomey said he is “very concerned” and said it is imperative that people in the Northwest continue to prepare for a big earthquake.
Cascadia’s Subduction Zone is a very long, very dangerous undersea fault that divides the Juan de Fuca oceanic and the North America continental plates. It runs from British Columbia down through Washington and Oregon and into northern California, as does a volcanic mountain range.
The fault has produced at least seven magnitude 9.0 or greater megathrust earthquakes in the past 3,500 years, a frequency that indicates a return time of 300 to 600 years.
The massive earthquake on the night of January 26, 1700, was one of the world’s largest. The Cascadia fault ruptured along a 680-mile stretch, from the middle of Vancouver Island to northern California, producing tremendous shaking and a huge tsunami that swept across the Pacific.
The oral history of the Makah Tribe in Washington tells of a huge earthquake that happened in the middle of the night long ago. Those who had heeded their elder’s advice to run for high ground survived. After spending a cold night in the hills with animals that also had fled the rushing waters, the survivors found that their village, along with neighboring coastal villages, had completely washed away, leaving no survivors.
Today it’s quite common to see cars backed into parking spaces in the tribal coastal villages in Washington so that in the event of a tsunami warning, drivers can make a fast getaway to higher ground. And at least one tribe, the Quileute Nation, is moving its coastal village away from the tsunami danger zone.
An emergency kit and plan are important first steps in being prepared. Download the Red Cross Earthquake Safety Checklist to learn more. Those with smart phones can text “GETQUAKE” to 90999 or search “Red Cross Earthquake” for their mobile app in the Apple App Store for iPhones or Google Play for Android.
Winter storms off the Oregon and Washington coastlines are expected to bring a new wave of debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Scientists say objects are already washing ashore – with potentially invasive organisms riding along.
In March, 2011 an earthquake and tsunami devastated a large swath of eastern Japan. The tsunami reached heights of over 100 feet in some places, washing large quantities of manmade materials out to sea. Japanese officials estimate that about 1.5 million tons of debris floated out into the Pacific.
Oregon State University marine scientist John Chapman questions the accuracy of that number, but says current tallies of what’s washed ashore on the U.S. West Coast are much lower than that.
“If we look at the amount of debris that we’ve found on the shore. And we try to estimate the poundage of debris and add it all up, it’s not even close,” he said. “So, where is it?”
Chapman says it very well could still be out in the ocean, waiting on the right combination of currents, winds and other factors to bring it ashore in the Pacific Northwest.
So far the tsunami debris has come over in waves. It started with buoys, polystyrene foam and two massive floating docks. The next winter, it was building materials, like lumber. Last winter, a parade of small boats started washing up.
And now the first large object of the season – a 4-by-5 foot shipping tote – has washed up near Oregon’s Seal Rock.
The common feature of all these items is the presence of coastal marine organisms that hitched a ride over from Asia.
“This is the biggest experiment in marine invasion ecology that’s ever happened. It’s unprecedented,” Chapman said.
He said open oceans are the marine equivalent of deserts: there’s nothing out there. At least, nothing of substance, nutrient-wise that coastal organisms would need to survive. This was the prevailing thought among marine scientists – until that first Japanese dock section washed up in June, 2012 on the Oregon Coast.
“That was the first time that anyone ever considered that marine organisms could drift across the ocean. It wasn’t as if they didn’t think about it, we assumed that it wasn’t possible,” he said.
As the years passed and the debris continued to circulate in the North Pacific, Chapman assumed the amount of living coastal organism would decrease. Again, he’s been proven incorrect.
“We’re still finding species that we haven’t seen before. It doesn’t make sense to us,” he said. “We shouldn’t be doing that, but it seems to be happening.”
The plastic shipping tote that washed up in Oregon in late November was covered in about 200 blue mussels.
Yet, just because non-native marine organisms are washing up on the West Coast doesn’t mean they’re establishing populations here; it doesn’t mean they aren’t, either.
The question is currently being studied by several groups using a variety of methods, from visual surveys to genetic testing.
But the organisms are very tiny and the West Coast is very large. And so far none have been found that can specifically be connected to the tsunami.
“If it was a herd of bison that came across, it would be a no-brainer; we could go out and find it if they got here,” Chapman said.
“But these things aren’t bison. They’re little tiny things – sometimes diseases and parasites. And even if they are here, sometimes we don’t find them for years.”
Despite the challenges facing scientists, Chapman said the waves of tsunami debris present an unprecedented opportunity. Between now and May, he expects to see another round data wash ashore on the coast of the Pacific Northwest.
Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired November 22, 2014 – July 27, 2015
Source: Burke Museum
Seattle— Northwest Native artists create 30 new works inspired by 200 years of history.
Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired features work by artists whose practice has been informed by the objects in the Burke’s collections, demonstrating how today’s artists and art historians learn from past generations. The exhibit will include contemporary works in a variety of media alongside the historic pieces that artists identified as key to their learning. “The objects in the Burke’s collection embody the knowledge of their makers and they can be a catalyst for transferring this knowledge across generations,” explains exhibit curator and assistant director of the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art, Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse.
Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Bill Holm Center, Here & Now explores the dynamic relationship between the Burke Museum and Northwest Native art, artists, and scholars. In the past ten years, over ninety grants have been awarded by the center to researchers, artists, and graduate students. The grant program is unique in its breadth, providing funding for artists to conduct workshops in their own communities, and travel funding to study collections at the Burke Museum or other institutions that hold collections key to an artist or researcher’s interests. These grantees have all contributed to the current dynamism of Northwest Native art.
Here & Now shares the results of the conversations artists have with historical artworks. Celebrate master artists of the past and present and share in the enthusiasm and creativity of today’s emerging artists.
The Mask That Inspired the Seahawks Logo: In the lead up to the 2014 Super Bowl, Dr. Robin K. Wright, Curator of Native American Art and Director of the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art at the Burke Museum and Bill Holm – one of the most knowledgeable experts in the field of Northwest Coast Native art history – tracked down the origins of the Seahawk’s logo. A photo in Robert Bruce Inverarity’s 1950 book, Art of the Northwest Coast Indians depicts a Kwakwaka’wakw transformation mask which depicts an eagle in its closed form with a human face inside (revealed when the mask opens). Further research revealed press articles from 1976 that described this Kwakwaka’wakw mask from Vancouver Island as the source of the logo. It is now part of the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine’s collections.
During Here & Now, the mask will be displayed along with Native artists’ interpretations of the signature Seahawks design and logo. The Burke is currently fundraising through Kickstarter to bring community experts from the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation to the museum to study the mask and for further preservation and mounting before it is put on display. To meet our goal, the museum still needs to raise about $6,000 and we are encouraging fans to donate $12 to the cause.
Meet the artists of Here & Now! On Sunday, November 23, participate in a panel discussion with selected artists whose work is featured in the exhibit, Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired; and join them for in-gallery conversations about their work. See the documentary “Tracing Roots,” which offers a heartfelt glimpse into the world of Haida elder and weaver Delores Churchill, and visit with her daughter and renowned weaver Evelyn Vanderhoop. Get an up close view of tools and techniques as Burke Curator Sven Haakanson demonstrates the process of cleaning and preparing a Kodiak bear intestine for use in clothing and boat-making.
About the Burke Museum: The Burke Museum is located on the University of Washington campus, at the corner of NE 45th St. and 17th Ave. NE. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm daily, and until 8 pm on first Thursdays. Admission: $10 general, $8 senior, $7.50 student/ youth. Admission is free to children four and under, Burke members, UW students, faculty, and staff. Admission is free to the public on the first Thursday of each month. Prorated parking fees are $15 and partially refundable upon exit if paid in cash. Call 206-543-5590 or visit www.burkemuseum.org. The Burke Museum is an American Alliance of Museums-accredited museum and a Smithsonian Affiliate.
To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at: 206.543.6450 (voice), 206.543.6452 (TTY), 206.685.7264 (fax), or email at email@example.com. The University of Washington makes every effort to honor disability accommodation requests. Requests can be responded to most effectively if received as far in advance of the event as possible, preferably at least 10 days.
After lingering for 14 years as the largest Superfund site in Oregon, and affecting the traditional gathering and ceremonial grounds of area tribes for decades, the first restoration project for the Portland Superfund Site has been greenlighted by five tribes on the Portland Harbor Natural Resource Trustee Council (Trustee Council).
“The Nez Perce Tribe (in Lapwai, Idaho), and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Umatilla, Siletz, and Grand Ronde (in Oregon) are on board,” Nez Perce spokesperson Erin Madden told Indian Country Today Media Network.
The Alder Creek restoration project is a 52-acre refuge for native fish and wildlife near the Willamette’s Sauvie Island, in Portland, Oregon. Wapato Island, as it is known locally, has been a traditional fishing, hunting and gathering area for tribes for more than 10,000 years.
But the once abundant habitat is now rare in this stretch of the river, Madden said. Decades of manufacturing waste fouled the final 12 miles of the Willamette River where it runs through the city of Portland until it streams into the Columbia River, 100 miles upstream from the Pacific Ocean. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the 12-mile site to the Superfund priority list in 2000.
Lurking in the river’s sediment is a nasty cocktail of high levels of the banned pesticide DDT, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), heavy metals, tar deposits, solvents, petroleum byproducts, and phthalates known to interfere with the body’s hormones and cause developmental problems—left by decades of manufacturing processes, all of which pose risks to the water, natural resources, wildlife and humans.
The EPA and the tribes feeling the impact of the contamination entered into a memorandum of understanding to ensure that tribal government representatives have a seat at the table.
The Yakama Nation in Washington State withdrew from the Trustee Council in 2009 over concerns that remediation of damages to natural resources would not extend to the injury and damages to natural resources in the lower Columbia River, and liability of the potentially responsible parties for damages, Yakama Nation public information officer Rose Longoria said.
The new project, designed to benefit fish and wildlife affected by contamination at the site, will include removing buildings and fill from the floodplain, reshaping the riverbanks, and planting native trees and shrubs. This project is the first of five remediation and restoration projects in various planning stages.
“It’s a pretty major milestone,” Madden said. “It’s the culmination of many years of work by the Nez Perce and the other tribes, and state and federal partners on the Trustee Council.”