Framed Art Card - Reunion (9" x 12")
When thinking about salmon the first thing that comes to mind is food at the dinner table. It sustains us throughout the year and provides a number of our people with an economic livelihood. Our relationship, however, goes much deeper. There are many stories about salmon that have been passed on from generation to generation that vary between families and cultures throughout the coast. One of the dances that my family owns represents one such story of the connection between salmon and ourselves.
In the firelight of the Bighouse, a dancer would appear wearing a human mask and carrying a spear. Through another entrance a second dancer emerges adorned with a large salmon mask. Slowly, the two move until they converge near the centre of the house. The man rapidly plunges his spear into the side of the fish. In response, the salmon dancer lets out a loud shrill and unexpectedly opens the mask to reveal another face. To the shock of the human dancer, he stares directly at his own image. The dance then culminates in the two brothers leaving the floor of the house together.
My third print, “Reunion,” represents the return of the sockeye salmon to its place of birth. Upon entering freshwater, it undergoes an intense transformation. While turning a brilliant scarlet red, the males develop a humped back and a grotesquely hooked nose and the females attain a rounded belly full of eggs. The print also represents the reunion that takes place between people and salmon during this incredible time. I think back to the dance that my family owns and the connection that we have with salmon. To us, they are our brothers and sisters. While they provide us with food, we also understand that we must respect them because of the bonds that tie us together.