The 42nd Annual Conference of the Society of Ethnobiology in Vancouver, B.C., May 8–11, 2019
by Arianna Augustine (Stz’uminus Nation)
The Salmon People design is based on the creation story as told by Stuart Pagaduan (Cowichan Tribe). This ancient story tells about how the creator, Xeel's, scooped up some of the salmon and released them to become the Gulf Islands. Xeel's said, "From now on you will provide for and take care of the people. You will provide them with food from your beaches and medicines from your forests." Xeel's then scooped up more salmon and said to them, "You are no longer Salmon, you are people. You will take care of the islands and you will tell others how the islands were created." The transformation was complete and still to this day, every fall when the Salmon travel to their spawning ground, they are happy to see their relatives the Gulf Islands and when they travel up the river they are happy to see their other relatives, the people who live in the villages.
The design is in the shape of a spindle whorl, a circle, representing the cyclical nature of life. There are three internally tangent circles. The most internal circle, at the top of the design, is a representation of the face of the creator. The next circle outlines the creator's arms, both with the design of a salmon; one representing the people and the other representing the gulf islands. The wolf and eagle are in the outer circle, representing the feathered and four-legged.
We will have t-shirts and branchwood boxes for sale that feature Arianna's beautiful image. Stay tuned.