Story Collection: Coyote’s Agreement with Salmon

This collection centers around salmon as a First Food and the sacred and cultural associations. The majority of these resources are from the Confluence Library, with a few off-site resources. With each Story Collection, Confluence staff assembles some prompting questions for discussion. We’ll post these in our social media feeds too, where you are welcome to join the discussion.


What is my own cultural experience and how does it influence my values?

Does salmon have a role in my culture and ecosystem? How and why?

In Louie Pitt’s video, he asks whether he’s “doing enough” for salmon. How would you define our obligations to the fish and wildlife of our region?


The Story of Saddleback Mountain, as told by Ray Gardener
Ray Gardner tells the story of Qoots-hoi and Toölux, and how the first salmon caught turned into a thunderbird whose eggs formed humanity. He also talks about the salmon catching ceremony. Fully subtitled.

Louie Pitt: Last Moments of a Salmon, to “Protect Her Future”
Louie Pitt (Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs) talks about seeing a female salmon

Bobbie Conner: Water was so Low, You Could Walk on the Backs of Fish
Roberta Conner describes winter villages and tributaries, communal knowledge, and the time of low water.

Virginia Beavert: Rattlesnake Challenged Eel to a Race
In this excerpt, Dr. Virginia Beavert tells how rattlesnake challenged eel to race, to try to steal the eel’s identity.

Confluence Podcast: Carol Craig
In this Confluence Podcast, Carol Craig, a Yakama educator and journalist, relates her experiences during the historic 1999 Makah whale hunt, of working with the Yakama Fish Commission, and the peoples’ grief over the loss of Celilo.

Warm Springs Fly Fishing
Alysia and Elke LittleLeaf (Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs) talk about their business as fly fishing guides and the importance of fish and water to their rights and ways of life.

Yakama Hatchery
This short clip features interviews at the Yakama Nation Cle Elum Supplementation and Research Facility.

Bill Yallup Jr: Salmon “Show You What It Means to Keep Your Word”
In this excerpt, Bill Yallup describes talks about Spilyay (Coyote) and agreements between humans and salmon.


Gallery: Feast of the First Salmon
This gallery features photographs from the Feast of the First Salmon celebrations held in 1939, 1940, 1945, 1948, 1954, 1956, and 1957.


Columbia River Fish Weirs and Wheels: Two Divergent Cultures
Native methods for catching fish along the Columbia River used spears, baskets, and weirs. White newcomers saw these as inefficient and began using mechanical processes such as fish wheels to increase canneries’ catches

Tribal Salmon Culture: Salmon Culture of the Pacific Northwest Tribes.
The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission’s guide to the importance of salmon in the life of Columbia River tribes.


The Si’lailo Way: Indians, Salmon, and Law on the Columbia River. Joseph C. Dupris (Author), Kathleen S. Hill (Author), William H. Rodgers (Author).

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