Early Methods on the Northwest Coast
- PUBLISHED: January 2018
- SUBJECT LISTING: Native American and Indigenous Studies, Pacific Northwest / History
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 192 Pages, 10 x 9 in, 450 b&w drawings, 75 b&w photographs
- ISBN: 9780295743899
First published in 1977 and unavailable for several years, Indian Fishing is more than a sterile account of the technology of fishing; it considers the momentous role of fish and fishing in the lives of the Northwest Coast peoples. A classic, thoroughly researched and informative text, it examines fishing techniques of the peoples who have lived on the coast for over nine thousand years, revealing their rich and complex culture.
Hilary Stewart gathered material from museum archives, fish camps, and coastal village elders to document the Native heritage of handmade hooks, lines, sinkers, lures, floats, clubs, spears, harpoons, nets, traps, rakes, gaffs, and more. With more than 300 clear and detailed drawings, she illustrated how these tools were made and used. She twisted cedar bark and nettle fibers into cod fishing lines, and steam-bent a stem of yew into a halibut hook. Here, reprinted in full, is her original work, covering everything from how the catch was butchered, cooked, and preserved, to the prayers and ceremonies in gratitude to the fish, as well as customs and taboos that demonstrated the peoples’ respect for this life-giving resource. Though there have been transformations in knowledge and scholarship since its first publication, Stewart’s benchmark work, with its usefulness, artistry, and appreciation of Native culture, will be welcomed back into print.
Authors & Contributors
Hilary Stewart (1924–2014) was a critically acclaimed, award-winning writer and authority on northwest First Nations art and culture. She wrote ten books, including Cedar: Tree of Life to the Northwest Coast Indians and the perennial bestseller Looking at Totem Poles. She lived on Quadra Island in British Columbia.