Traditional Foods Go Digital

Herring roe (kwaq'mis)

A new resource about harvesting and preparing traditional foods shares the experiences, language, and knowledge of Nuu-chah-nulth elders. The Nuu-chah-nulth Traditional Foods Toolkit—a six-booklet collection now available online—teaches that food security begins at home.

Developed by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council fisheries department (Uu-a-thluk), the booklets contain exclusive content for harvesting, preparing and eating traditional foods found on Vancouver Island’s west coast. These foods include sockeye salmon, herring spawn, goose barnacles, sea urchins, chitons, wild roots, and eelgrass.

“Our ancestors have harvested wild foods for over 10,000 years, and a number of our people still harvest wild food today,” says Nuu-chah-Nulth Tribal Council Vice-President, Priscilla Sabbas Watts. “This knowledge is more important than ever in the face of global food instability. Sharing this wisdom will make it more accessible to future generations.”

Today nearly two billion people struggle to feed themselves due to war, drought, flooding, and disease. Vancouver Island residents live in one of the richest natural paradises on the planet, yet 90 % of our food comes from elsewhere. The Nuu-chah-nulth Traditional Foods Toolkit recalls a time when people made food choices based on what they found in their natural habitat, and not on supermarket shelves.

“The toolkit offers a tremendous opportunity to pass on traditional knowledge, which teaches self reliance, nutrition, pride for one’s heritage, and sustainability—all important to developing food sovereignty,” adds Sabbas Watts.

The six booklets are on sale now in downloadable formats.

Proceeds from all sales go towards education and training programs for youth and others in Nuu-chah-nulth Nations.

Hear a CBC Radio interview with NTC Vice President, Priscilla Sabbas-Watts, and youth council member, Damon Rampanen, about the toolkit. The original show aired on All Points West on September 23, 2011.

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