Monday, January 31, 2011

WW/ Livingstom Stone's report, 1872 and 1873

I purchased five photographs from the Benefit for the Winnemem Wintu to bring their salmon home. With these photos are report excerpts from the Livingston Stone Collection, Stone being the commissioner who made the reports. The reports were of the United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries. Most of the ones I purchased were from 1872 and 1873 and on from 1879. The reports talk about the Winnemem people, the Winnemem workers in the hatchery and the salmon. The following excerpts particularly caught my attention. The first reminded me of the Winnemem saying "Sawal Maiuma's Baales Bom" "Sacred is the teacher. That is the way it will be forever forever." Here is an eyewitness account witnessing the salmon, upon being confronted by a dam across the McCloud erected by the hatchery.

From the United States Commission Fish and Fisheries Report, 1872 and 1873 by Livingston Stone, Commisioner on the Salmon Breeding Station, McCloud River, California

"About 4 o'clock in the afternoon, a few days after the passage of the salmon was obstructed and before the corrals were made, it was announced that the salmon were making their first assault upon the dam. The whole camp collected on the bridge to witness the attack. It was a sight never to be forgotten. For several rods below the bridge, the salmon formed one black writhing mass of life. Piled together one above another, they charged in solid columns against the bridge and dam which trembled and shook continually under their blows. Not daunted by their repeated failures, they led attack after attack upon the fence, one column succeeding as another fell back. Encouraged by their numbers, and urged by the irrepressible instinct, they entirely disregarded the observers on the bridge and struggled at their very best to pass the unwonted obstruction. Finding the fence impassable many fell back a little and tried to jump the bridge. This, several succeeded in doing, sometimes violently striking the men on the bridge in their leaps and sometimes jumping between their feet.

For an hour and a half, this force assault continued when, exhausted by their efforts and discouraged by many failures, they fell back to the deep hole just below the rapids, arrested, for the first time since the McCloud formed its channel, in their progress up the river.

The bridge and dam were completed and the river rendered impassable to the salmon on the 10th of August."

And in a report of operations at the US salmon hatching station on the McCloud River, CA, 1878, Livingston Stone reports:

"As soon as the dam was completed across the river, the salmon show signs of being very thick in the river below. On the 11th of July we made a haul with seine which confirmed our impressions of the abundance of salmon, the number taken at this haul being nearly a thousand. About this time, the Indians employed at the fishery did some very fine work under the water in repairing the rack. We discovered one day that the salmon, by their violent and repeated attacks on the dam, had at last forced a passage-way underneath the rack and were escaping."

And an excerpt from a report December 9, 1872, about the Winnemem.
"In the summer and fall, the McCloud Indians live mainly on the salmon and trout which they spear. In the winter, they live on the salmon which they catch and dry in the fall, and on acorns, which they gather in great quantities in the woods. They hunt with bows and arrows, with which they occasionally kill a bear, though a few have rifles. They trap very little, but the salmon of the river are so abundant that they are not obliged to resort to hunting and trapping at all.

I have made this digression about the McCloud River Indians partly because their presence here is so singularly connected with the abundance of the salmon in the Sacramento River. Had white men come here and required the salmon for food, this main artery of the supply system of the river would have been stopped; or had white men of the Feather and American Rivers, the spawning beds would have been covered with mud and ruined, as in those rivers, and in less than three years the salmon supply of the Sacramento would have shown a vast decrease. The presence of the Indians, therefore, as far as it implies the absence of the whites, is the great protection of the supply of the Sacramento salmon."

December 9, 1872 is another excerpt:
"They (Winnemem) first adopted the plan of ordering all white men out of their country, and were the last of the California Indians to yield to the encroachment of civilization. Even now, they are not slow to say to the white stranger, 'These are our lands,' and 'These are our salmon'"

No comments:

Post a Comment

"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

from Outside the Monster's Belly

from Outside the Monster's Belly
. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


Blogs I Follow

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.