Hand Carved and Hand Painted Wood Carvings
The wild Pacific salmon is an ancient fish with a storied past and cultural connections that continue to this day. It is possible to trace the ancestry of this fish back six million years. In fact, the salmon's ability to move between fresh and salt water has enabled it to evolve through at least five major ice ages. A number of fish, among them carp, perch and cod, have salmonoid ancestors. Salmon are popular sport fish and characterized
by grace and beauty, a silvery sheen and spotted back and fins, not to mention their rich history in the Pacific Northwest.
The five species of Oncorhynchus (so called because of the "hooked snout" they develop during sexual maturation) are unique in that they are anadromous (that is, they live in fresh and salt water) and they die after spawning. Pacific salmon return to the rivers of their birth to spawn and die, navigating their way past natural and man-made obstructions using an internal compass that has thus far defied scientific identification, driven by the biological urge to mate. Popular names for the five species are: sockeye, pink, chum, coho and chinook.
Pacific salmon belong to the genus Oncorhynchus, meaning "hooked snout". The importance of salmon to West Coast Native culture can hardly be underestimated. The image of the salmon dominates the art and architecture of coastal first peoples as they pay tribute to the animal with which they have forged a special spiritual bond. Some of these images have come into broader circulation as mainstream companies begin to use them on packaging and as part of promotional campaigns. Some of the product forms (such as salmon jerky and Indian candy) used for centuries by coastal peoples, are now becoming popular among a broader base of consumers. Indeed, many of the processes used for curing salmon were developed from Native practices.