Tanna Engdahl: A Salvation Fish, Smelt

Tanna Engdahl talks about the importance of smelt.

Bio: Tanna Engdahl is a Cowlitz Elder and spiritual leader. She is also an associate supervisor of the Clark Conservation District and a board member with the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Her past career has included work with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, working as Public Affairs Chief for both NPS and Bureau of Land Management. She is the founder of the Cowlitz Medicine Women.


We counted on the Creator to bring us these blessings when our supplies were getting low through the winter we had this marvelous little salvation fish that came to us. I think people call it smelt, we call it the eulachon. And this was an amazing high protein tiny fish that came upriver in the thousands and we netted and we smoked and we dried and we harvested the oil. And stored again, not only through the summers but again through the winters until the salmon, of course, came in the spring and the fall.

Related Content