For thousands of years, Yakamas have dipped large nets into the rivers that carve through the region to catch prize salmon as well as other fish for food. Their relationship with land, rivers and fish is long and deep, and preserved in the Treaty of 1855, which reserves the Yakamas’ right to fish, hunt and gather foods in all the usual and accustom areas they did before setters ever stepped foot on their homeland.
Salmon, a staple in the Yakama diet, are honored and served at special name-giving ceremonies, feasts honoring the first foods and fish of the season, and also at funerals. Tribal fisherman supply longhouses with salmon for those spiritual gatherings during a ceremonial fishing season that is separate from subsistence and commercial fishing seasons.
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