When Christopher Columbus first encountered “Indians,” he formed the opinion: “These are very simple-minded and handsomely formed people.” As Robert Jago explains for The Walrus, this unjustified view of Native incompetence has persisted in some non-Natives to this day — even encountered in the way his tribe currently fishes the river named after them.
… in another news report, they advised that any salmon bought from us poses a “significant risk to human health.”
Our catch is fine for us to eat, apparently—it’s just a problem for “human” health.
Stó:lō means “river people,” and this river is full of salmon—or, at least, it used to be. It’s our staple food, eaten smoked, baked, boiled, and candied. My grandma prized the eyes, plucked out and sucked on till they popped and released their fishy goo. My nephew goes for the eggs; he quite literally licks his lips at the sight…
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