We all eat. Each culture has food that is sacred to them. Turkey for Thanksgiving. Unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Empire Biscuits at Christmas.
The Heiltsuk Nation also have their sacred food. Food that if it is not on the table the occasion is diminished.
In the Jar is ‘Grease’. Grease is processed from the Oolichan fish. The people teach the young ones that Oolichan are very finicky and quick to take offense. If you dirty their water or do not show the proper respect they will leave and it may be a long time before they forgive you and come back.  Grease was and is greatly valued. So valued that the Grease Trails came into being to transport the Grease from the Coast to the Interior. 
On the plate are Herring Eggs that the fish deposited on Seaweed.  They have a mild flavour but are very musical. They snap, crackle and pop as you eat them. and if they are dipped in a bit of Grease… so much the better.

Is there anyone reading this that does not like fresh bread or do-nuts? The bread to the right of the Herring Eggs is Fried Bread. best description I can give is half a do-nut and half a biscuit. Often made with a touch of Grease and best eaten dipped in Grease.

In the bowl I ‘think’ there is Fried Seaweed. I am sure if you click on the above link you will be able to find out if I am right or wrong. If it is Fried Seaweed it too goes really well with a little Grease.

Are you noticing a pattern here? Grease is a staple. Without Grease the table is not right. Without Grease the Sacred is diminished. Without Grease the Heiltsuk are diminished.  

Already many spawning grounds have been destroyed by pollution. In Haisla Village this year it was only the generosity of other nations that allowed a taste of Grease. The Haisla have already had their Oolichan spawning grounds wiped out by industrial pollution.

The Heiltsuk have learned the lesson taught by the Haisla. They are fighting to preserve their way of life. They are fighting to preserve the lives of the Oolichan. They are fighting for all of us.


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