Growing up as a Coast Salish girl I was fortunate to have the rich nutrients of the Salish Sea as my primary source of food. In my family, clams, mussels, crab, shrimp, prawns, salmon, halibut, seaweed, sole, sea cucumber, herring row and more made up our daily diet. My grandparents owned a seafood market that my family and I worked at from very young ages. This kind of diet on a daily basis is rare today. To this day I love the iron rich salty goodness that comes from the Salish Sea more than any other food. Being out on the water and the land physically exerting oneself to help catch and eat our traditional seafood is a spiritual experience for me. Collecting seafood is integral to T'Sou-ke identity and how we nurture ourselves. The water and seafood holds our language and spirituality.Our most common seafoods are: clams, crab, prawns, cockles, sea urchins, mussels, oysters, barnacles, chitons, seaweed, sea cucumber, salmon, halibut and herring. We have many traditional ways of gathering and preparing our seafood. A pit cook is when we dig a hole in the sand on the beach about a foot deep and a few feet wide and line it with rocks that we heat. All of the seafood that we caught that day is placed on the hot rocks and the pile is covered with leafs and seaweed and cooked on the beach.
My family makes delicious fish head soup and smoked salmon both of which I am learning to make.
Here are some of the words that I am learning :
SX̱ÁNEL̵: little bull head
X̱ENEṈC̸ÁNSW̱: you are thinking
T,ḴÁLEP: fish trap
Below is granny Ida speaking in T'Sou-ke about some of the names of our traditional foods.
Below is an awesome video of one of the places where we gather seafood.
Whiffin Spit. Sooke, BC - YouTube
Here's a link to my cousin Joey Planes explaining our oyster harvest project in the Salish Sea Sentinel.
Here's a link to information about our Ladybug Garden where we grow many of our traditional foods and medicines.