LET’S TRADE

I like to trade my photography services for food. Not just any food but food that isn’t easy to come by and requires someone to go out and harvest it. I am talking about wild meat and wild fish; you know, those foods that kept our ancestors alive.

My good friend Aurthur Dayu Dick showing my son how to prepare dzaxwan for the smoke house.

My friend, Aurthur Dayu Dick, showing my son how to prepare dzaxwan for the smoke house.

I was raised eating pork from the farm and moose meat from the forest. My dad was a hunter and we ate it all: deer, moose, Canada goose, duck, pheasant, rabbit. He taught me to fish, in the summer and winter, for pike, walleye and trout. I have fond memories of sneaking down into the basement to find our deep freezer full of dried moose meat. My mouth is watering and my tummy is starting to growl just thinking about it. I’d grab a few slices and run over to our play area while chewing away on my dried moose meat. It was better than candy. And still is.

Elk and clams.

An Elk head and clam shells that have been discarded.

Moving to the West Coast I decided to become a vegetarian and didn’t eat any meat until many years later when I was pregnant with my eldest son. Holy smokes, once I was pregnant it was all that I wanted. It was then that I looked at my husband, The Provider, and jokingly told him that he needed to learn how to hunt. All these years later he still hasn’t learned how. I still love him dearly, even if he is useless (but really he is not). One day he will figure it out, but it seems that now I am suppose to be The Provider.

My husband bringing up an empty crab trap but we will pretend it was full.

My husband bringing up an empty crab trap but we will pretend it was full.

 

Our friend from Oakland, CA cleaning salmon for the firs time.

Our friend Jerrick from Oakland, CA cleaning salmon for the first time.

Last month, my husband persuaded me to take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. I did, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve done in awhile. But I did my ACTS and PROVE and I passed. But now what? Do the paper work, purchase a firearm, ammunition and then go hunting? Ha. Sure I’d tag along and go hunting for food but my kind of shooting would be with my camera. I know myself too well and I’d just want to document the whole thing. But who knows maybe it will happen, one of these days. But for now my family is fortunate enough to eat the food that has come our way from those who know how to harvest it.

A dear carcass.

In the fall we find quite a few deer and elk carcasses on the beaches.

Have you ever eaten smoked dzaxwan (eulachon) sushi? I have and it was delicious! Another favourite local food of mine is clam, mmmmmm, clam fritters. My husband knows how much I enjoy eating them that he has brought home clam fritters in a biohazard bag from the hospital. Don’t worry, the clam fritters were from a staff luncheon. When we were living in the city, we never ate seafood from the grocery stores. Living here, we are lucky to eat fresh seafood. Growing up in the prairies, the closest thing to seafood that we had was canned smoked salmon that my auntie and uncle prepared and sent to us all the way from Nanaimo.

A hunter came into the hair salon to ask my hairdresser if she wanted to buy any deer steaks. Well I certainly did.

A man came into the hair salon to ask my hairdresser if she wanted to buy any deer steaks. Well I certainly did.

Tonight I am planning for tomorrow’s meals and look into our deep freezer and find a couple of deer steaks that I bought from someone, venison sausages given in exchange for some photos, 10 lbs of halibut that was delivered fresh to our door on the very same day it was caught, bags of prawns that were gifted to my husband, more salmon, halibut, crab and black cod that was gifted to our family. Maybe tomorrow’s dinner will be some pan fried garlic prawns with a salad and some bannock, not fried bread but oven baked bannock. We are grateful for these exchanges and the connections that we’ve made. So, just in case any of my relatives from Saskatchewan are reading this… want to trade a few cans of salmon for some dried moose meat?

-Amanda Laliberte

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