Herring and People of the North Pacific
Sustaining a Keystone Species
- PUBLISHED: January 2021
- SUBJECT LISTING: Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies, Pacific Northwest
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 276 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 14 b&w illus., 2 maps, 4 charts, 6 tables
- ISBN: 9780295748290
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Herring are vital to the productivity and health of marine systems, and socio-ecologically Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) is one of the most important fish species in the Northern Hemisphere. Human dependence on herring has evolved for millennia through interactions with key spawning areas—but humans have also significantly impacted the species’ distribution and abundance.
Combining ethnological, historical, archaeological, and political perspectives with comparative reference to other North Pacific cultures, Herring and People of the North Pacific traces fishery development in Southeast Alaska from precontact Indigenous relationships with herring to postcontact focus on herring products. Revealing new findings about current herring stocks as well as the fish’s significance to the conservation of intraspecies biodiversity, the book explores the role of traditional local knowledge, in combination with archeological, historical, and biological data, in both understanding marine ecology and restoring herring to their former abundance.
Authors & Contributors
Thomas F. Thornton is dean of arts and sciences and vice provost for research and sponsored programs at the University of Alaska Southeast, and author of Being and Place among the Tlingit. Madonna L. Moss is professor of anthropology and curator of zooarchaeology at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, University of Oregon, and author of Northwest Coast: Archaeology as Deep History.
This is an exceptionally interesting, carefully written, and well-reasoned examination of the role the Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) has played in the history and culture of the peoples of the Alexander Archipelago of southeastern Alaska.- Choice
[A]n interesting read: a current fishing issue with a historic and anthropologic context, well documented and annotated, with references, photographs, charts, and a timeline of the Southeast herring fishery.- Alaska History
A profoundly hopeful work. If it is taken seriously in high places, it will save the herring and the Tlingit fishery. It is such a stunningly well-done, scholarly, tightly argued work that it will be impossible to dismiss.- Ethnobiology Letters
The critical element and clear strength of the book is that it is not just a chronicle of herring decline or diagnosis of what has gone wrong. Rather, it provides a way forward from the profoundly alarming situation we are confronted with. The authors’ way forward is a call to draw on traditional and local knowledge concerning sustainable harvesting practices and managerial strategies...[T]his volume offers the kind of rich, compelling and well-argued study that has significant potential to fuel transformational change.- Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology
Integration of Indigenous knowledge into understanding and management of natural resources and the ecosystems they belong to has been a desired goal of anthropology for decades. Likewise, the use of archaeological data to provide deep diachronic perspective in studies of historical ecology is a growing objective/rational for the pursuit of archaeological research. This book, which considers the past, present, and future of an often-overlooked, but critical keystone species, Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii), represents a timely and impressive step toward attainment of those goals.- Journal of Anthropological Research
Does no less than take the reader through the 10,000-year history of herring ecology and use by both Indigenous and non-Native people in the North Pacific.- Ann Fienup-Riordan, author of Ellavut / Our Yup’ik World and Weather
A significant, extensive discussion of Indigenous knowledge surrounding Pacific herring and the issues of modern herring management that are currently very important to Indigenous peoples in Southeast Alaska and coastal British Columbia.- Chuck Smythe, director, Department of History and Culture, Sealaska Heritage Institute