Posted by: Bonnie & Hans | September 4, 2011

Fish Camp Envy

It’s that time of year — fish camp. Thirty years ago on Labor Day we were at fish camp. It snowed. This year we’re not there, but some friends from Kotzebue flew up to spend a week at fish camp with an elder friend. We’re jealous as we listen to their recounts of the week’s experiences. While they were fishing and chopping wood and picking berries and listening to stories of the old days, we were in school.

Canvas wall tents with wood stoves used at fish camp

Fish camp activities center around harvesting food for the winter. Depending on the day, folks might be seining for fish, or checking a set net, or using a rod and reel for sheefish and then preserving the fish by drying.

Net with recycled plastic bleach bottle for a float

Variety of containers and metal tubs for carrying and washing fish

Carpet piece used on cutting table

Leftover fish parts for dog pot

The time of year, temperature, and kind of fish determine different cutting methods required for drying. Racks and racks of beautifully cut fish hang on lashed wooden poles.

Salmon

Whitefish

Smoky fire

Dried salmon ready to put in cache

It’s a beautiful time of year, full of meaningful activity. We lament not being able to participate in fish camp and question a school calendar that causes village children to miss out, too.

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Responses

  1. I am sorry to hear that the kids, and you two, weren’t able to participate in such an important village activity because of the school calendar. That must have been pretty frustrating…

    We just met Marla and Brad at the Trail of the Couer d’ Alenes. We had a great time, and it also made us think of how much fun we had with you guys there, too!


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