The Northwest Coast people devised ingenious ways of catching the different species of fish, creating a technology vastly different from that of today’s industrial world. With attention to clarity and detail, Hilary Stewart illustrates their hooks, lines, sinkers, lures, floats, clubs, spears, harpoons, nets, traps, rakes and gaffs, showing how these were made and used in over 450 drawings and 75 photographs. One section demonstrates how the catch was butchered, cooked, rendered and preserved. The spiritual aspects of fishing are described as well — prayers and ceremonies in gratitude and honour to the fish, customs and taboos indicating the people’s respect for this life-giving resource. The fish designs on household and ceremonial objects are depicted — images that tell of fishing’s importance to the whole culture.
Hilary Stewart is an award-winning author best known for her books on Northwest Coast First Nations cultures. She has also been involved in teaching outdoor education and wilderness survival courses for many years, as well as studying the ethnobotany of the coast First Nations, and has an extensive practical experience in the use of plants. She lives on Quadra Island in British Columbia.