Salmon Bake

The Native American tribes, such as the Klamath, have rituals around almost all food. The salmon bake is a culture rich ceremony. I consider this an art because of all the details surrounding the ceremony.

Salmon Roasting

A prayer is given before the fisherman go onto the river, to thank the creator for the salmon. The fish are caught and the first catch is held aside for sacrifice.

The first salmon is not eaten; instead it is burned whole in the roasting pit that will be used to cook the rest of the caught salmon. The first salmon is burned as a sacrifice to thank the creator for sustenance. The spirit of the salmon is said to be very strong.

The salmon are beautiful to the Native people because they can live in “two worlds.” They are born in fresh water and live in salt water only returning to the fresh water to spawn.

Salmon Bake

Second, the way they bake the salmon is art. You have to have knowledge of the fish such as the texture, weight, and fat content. You also have to have knowledge of the stakes and the ground that the stakes will go into in order to lace them properly.  The fish can be laced as a whole filet or skewered as a smaller chunk of fish.

Pit of Salmon

Before the food is consumed, thanks are given to the creator for the whole process. A bit of the food is set aside for the creator. None of the food is wasted; to waste food is to show disrespect.

A salmon bake is performed by tribal elders and tribal members. It is taught by the elders to the younger tribal members to ensure that the traditions of the tribe are passed down from generation to generation.


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