by Hilary Stewart
Of the many resources available to the First Nations of the Northwest Coast, the most vital was fish. The 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 illustates 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. She has gathered material from major museums and from the old people in coastal villages and fish camps. 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.