Friday, December 04, 2009


Nuu Chah Nulth Fish

A few years before we moved from Bellingham, Washington to San Francisco in the late 1990s, we took a trip to the remote fishing village of Tofino on Vancouver Island's west coast. Nearby, in the heart of Nuu Chah Nulth First Nation, is the now famous Clayoquot Sound, where Indians and environmental activists together saved a magnificent old growth forest.

In more recent years, the Nuu Chah Nulth gained media attention when a disoriented orca whale (Luna) was tangled in a farmed salmon net pen, and tribal members led Luna away to safety.

Today, the Nuu Chah Nulth are celebrating their court-affirmed right to catch and trade salmon as they have done for millenia, despite Canadian government interference. As someone who as a tenderman bought salmon from Washington tribes during the 1970s fish wars there, I hope the recognition of aboriginal human rights in British Columbia will be less volatile. I somehow sense our consciousness has expanded enough since then to allow for indigenous ways of life to flourish unimpeded.


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