This geocache is part of the Gold Country GeoTour – The Prequel: Be A Guest. This GeoTour focuses on a step back in time to learn about before the Gold Rush ensued: languages of the region’s culturally diverse families, handed down traditions such as recipes, flora and fauna, historic sites of significance, and points of interest. These stories will help preserve the oral languages and traditions of the region as well as assist in educating visitors and locals alike to the cultural diversity and environmental sensitivity of the region.
The Mighty Salmon
English Translation Salmon
Since the beginning of memories, salmon has been a staple in the Secwepemc diet. The migration of these fish brought the people to different areas along the river systems and created temporary camps. In the spring and fall, when the fish were plentiful, they would establish larger camps and feast. Salmon was (and still is) highly regarded and thought to bring wisdom to those who respect it.
Dip netting is the most common way that Secwepemc people fish for salmon. Long ago, before the use of steel nets, the Secwepemc used cedar boughs to make dip nets. The nets are placed in strategic areas along the rocks and when some salmon swims into it, the weight of the fish pulls the cedar net under water, trapping the fish. The salmon can then be pulled out by hand.
Salmon was (and still is) a key part of their diet and was often hung and dried or smoked to preserve it. However, dip netting is not only for food. It is also a time for social interactions and storytelling. It is a time to connect with the salmon - to show them our respect.
Today, salmon are still an important part of Secwepemc culture. Many Indigenous people continue to fish for salmon using traditional dip nets and teach our children the importance of respecting these fish. However, salmon populations are decline across North America due to a variety of factors including overfishing, habitat loss and degradation, and climate change. It is more important than ever that we protect salmon so that they can continue to be a part of the indigenous culture and way of life. The salmon are native to tributaries of the North Atlantic (genus Salmo) and Pacific Ocean (genus Oncorhynchus).
The Thompson River has historically been a producer of large salmon runs. This river is an important producer of Chinook, Coho, and Pink Salmon. In recent years however, the salmon returns have been greatly reduced and, in some years, no salmon have returned at all to spawn. This is devastating to the Secwepemc people who have relied on salmon for centuries.
There are many things we can do to help protect salmon. We can support organizations that are working to restore salmon habitat. We can be careful about the products we use, as some chemicals can pollute the water and harm salmon. And we can teach others about the importance of salmon in Indigenous culture and why we need to protect them.
Salmon are an important part of Secwepemc culture and way of life. We must work together to protect them so that they can continue with their time-honored traditions.
Written and researched by Brandy Cooper-Chardon
Salmon - Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmon.