Indigenous marine resource management on the Northwest Coast of North America
© Lepofsky and Caldwell; licensee Springer. 2013
Received: 4 December 2012
Accepted: 21 April 2013
Published: 24 May 2013
There is increasing recognition among anthropologists that indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast actively managed their terrestrial and marine resources and ecosystems. Such management practices ensured the ongoing productivity of valued resources and were embedded in a complex web of socio-economic interactions. Using ethnographic and archaeological data, this paper synthesizes the ecological and cultural aspects of marine management systems of coastal First Nations. We divide our discussion into four aspects of traditional management systems: harvesting methods, enhancement strategies, tenure systems, and worldview and social relations. The ethnographic data, including memories of living knowledge holders, tend to provide windows into daily actions and the more intangible aspects of management; the archaeological record provides insights into the more tangible aspects and how management systems developed through time and space. This review demonstrates not only the breadth of Northwest Coast marine management but also the value of integrating different kinds of knowledge and data to more fully document the whole of these ancient management systems.
For decades, anthropologists, including archaeologists, have struggled to come up with classificatory schemes that would describe how subsistence-based peoples interact with their environments (e.g., Ford 1985; Harris 1989, 1996; Smith 2001). These discussions emerged out of the realization that traditional peoples worldwide rarely rely solely on truly wild or domesticated resources. Rather, there are continua of human-environmental interactions that encompass differing degrees of human management of their environment (Fowler and Lepofsky 2011).
With a few notable exceptions (e.g., Croes and Hackenberger 1989; Johannes 1981, 1982; Smith 2011a; Thornton and Scheer 2012; Turner 2005), most of the discussions about traditional management practices have revolved around human interactions with the plant world. On the Northwest Coast of North America, there have been significant strides in the last decade to firmly establish in the anthropological literature the central role of plant management in the ancient and traditional subsistence practices of coastal First Nations. Extensive research with traditional knowledge holders, and to a lesser extent with archaeological and paleoecological records, demonstrates the widespread management of plants at both individual and ecosystem levels (e.g., Deur and Turner 2005; Thornton 1999; Weiser and Lepofsky 2009).
In part spurred on by evidence of traditional plant management practices, regional ethnobiologists, working with traditional ecological knowledge holders, have documented parallel management practices in marine resources and ecosystems (Hunn et al. 2003; Langdon 2006a 2006b; Thornton et al. 2010a 2010b). That such practices were widespread in the past is not surprising given the fundamental importance of marine resources in the lives of Northwest Coast peoples (Newton and Moss 2005; Ellis and Swan 1981; Ellis and Wilson 1981; Moss 1993).
Archaeologists have been slower to embrace the idea of marine resource management on the Northwest Coast, and in particular that management systems played a role in ensuring ongoing access and availability of resources. In the case of salmon, for instance, many recognize the combined importance of mass capture and storage technologies but emphasize the role that social networks had on dampening spatial and temporal resource variability (Schalk 1977; Suttles 1987). In the case of shellfish, Croes and Hackenberger (1988, 1989) posit that overexploitation led to the development of harvest controls, but they do not recognize the possibility of enhancement strategies. The lack of recognition of the breadth of management strategies is in part due to the fact that the archaeological record, because it is largely an amalgamation of certain kinds of events, does not often provide evidence of the subtle management practices that may mimic natural processes (e.g., transplanting fish eggs) or that are conducted by individuals (Lepofsky and Kahn 2011).
The nature of archaeological discussions about marine resource management have changed in recent years, in part prompted by the growing body of literature on ancient plant management and also on the relatively recent recognition by archaeologists of ancient features that were undeniably used to manage clams (“clam gardens”, see below). These recent discussions are notable because they combine archaeological and traditional knowledge and because they seek to place traditional marine management within its larger socio-economic context (e.g., Caldwell et al. 2012; Campbell and Butler 2010; Groesbeck 2013; Powell 2012; White 2006).
Here, we synthesize the vast body of disparate archaeological and ethnographic information, including currently held knowledge, on marine management by Northwest Coast peoples to better situate these traditional practices within the larger continuum of Northwest Coast management systems. We include in our review the management of all marine resources and their ecosystems, including that of the anadromous salmon. We use the term management here to refer to any conscious choices made about plant and animal use that could influence the resource (Lertzman 2009) and include in our discussion both tangible and intangible aspects of this management. As with today’s resource management, our definition makes no assumption about whether the management results in positive or negative outcomes (c.f. Lertzman 2009), although we recognize that many management practices resulted in sustained or increased diversity and/or yields. Following Turner and Berkes (2006), the discussion is organized around four aspects of traditional management systems: harvesting methods, enhancement strategies, tenure systems, and worldviews and social relations. This review demonstrates not only the breadth of Northwest Coast marine management but also the value of integrating different kinds of knowledge and data to more fully document the whole of these ancient management systems.
Social and ecological context of Northwest Coast marine management
Age, gender, and status influenced the ways in which individuals participated in the management and procurement of marine resources on the Northwest Coast. Although roles were not rigidly defined (Ellis and Swan 1981; Moss 1993), ethnographic sources suggest that men constructed fish traps and wove nets (e.g., Miller and Seaburg 1990), hunted sea mammals (e.g., Drucker 1951), and fished. Women and young children collected shellfish, and processed fish and sea mammals procured by men (e.g., Drucker 1951). Slaves, who were considered genderless, could be called on to do any task (Donald 1997), such as when large numbers of fish had to be processed. Conversely, some tasks, such as the procurement of whales and other large sea mammals, were restricted to high status males (e.g., Drucker 1951), and the elite might control access to fish weirs (Gunther 1927), with rights of first harvest. Importantly, all of these tasks were embedded in community-specific cultural practices and beliefs, such as participation in First Salmon ceremonies (e.g., Amoss 1987; Gunther 1927; Kennedy and Bouchard 1983).
Marine resource management on the Northwest Coast
Components of marine resource and environmental management systems on the Northwest Coast
Archaeological evidence of goal/intent
• Selection for species and size
• Mesh size
• Relative abundance of zooarchaeological taxa; size of zooarchaeological taxa
• Capture method
• Extending harvests
• Habitat creation
• Holding ponds
• Increasing availability/ abundance
• Transplanting eggs
• Habitat manipulation & extension
• Beaches cleared of stone; intertidal walls
• Selection for age/size of resource
• Return young/small bivalves to beach
• Age and size of zooarchaeological taxa
• Limit/control access to resources and harvesting locations
• Rights to harvest specific species
• Differences in zooarchaeological taxa between sites; rock art marking fishing locales; management features in proximity to settlements
• Ownership of harvesting locales
• Ownership and control of harvesting features
• Proscriptions on harvesting
• Restricted timing/season
• Relative abundance & size of zooarchaeological taxa
• Limits on catch size
• Limits on who can harvest
World view and social relations
• Respect for non-human kin
• Do not take more than is needed
• Sustained use over millennia
• Ritual connections to animal world
• First food ceremonies (e.g., salmon)
• Differential abundances of salmon to other taxa
• Return remains to water
• Maintenance of kinship ties
• Feasting, trading, social events
• Extra-local taxa in shell middens
Archaeological data complement well the ethnographic sources. Although the archaeological record more reluctantly reveals details about some aspects of management systems, it does provide a deep time perspective on physical details such as the timing and location of specific harvesting methods and enhancement strategies. These data, when combined with data on settlement patterns, in turn allow inferences about aspects of land tenure and social relations of ancient resource management systems.
Although we divide our review into four aspects of management (harvesting methods, enhancement strategies, tenure, and worldview; Table 1), we recognize that these categories are simply heuristic devices, and actions placed in one category could easily fit in another. For instance, some aspects of harvesting, such as size selection via nets, could be discussed with enhancement methods or with a discussion of harvesting restrictions and tenure. The very nature of traditional management systems is that they are an integrated whole which cannot be easily segmented into component parts.
The ethnographic and archaeological records are somewhat divergent with regards to people’s decisions about the number and kind of taxa harvested from weirs and traps. That is, most ethnographic sources describe the targeting of single fish species, especially salmon (e.g., White 2006 Drucker 1951), as well as attracting seals and other fish predators (Barnett 1955; Elmendorf 1992). In contrast, the zooarchaeological record recovered from middens suggests these features trapped a wide range of predator and prey species (e.g., Monks 1987). This discrepancy between the two records can in part be accounted for by the fact that ethnographic accounts tend to capture specific events, whereas archaeological records are palimpsests of events. On the flip side, our interviews with Tla’amin knowledge holders demonstrate that ethnographic information can sometimes provide information on the harvest of taxa that are rarely preserved in archaeological contexts (e.g., Pacific octopus [Enteroctopus dofleini] and sea cucumbers [Parastichopus californicus]).
Ethnographic information suggests a variety of other harvesting rules protected resources from being over-harvested. Harvesting rules include controlling the number and timing of seabird eggs harvested (Hunn et al. 2003), allowing some kelp fronds with herring eggs to remain unharvested so the eggs could hatch (Steven Carpenter, pers. comm. to D. Lepofsky), and delaying the harvest of herring until after spawning (Michelle Washington, pers. comm. to D. Lepofsky).
The archaeological record is less forthcoming about whether harvesting rules were designed to prevent overharvesting. For instance, although Lyman (2003) noted that the capture of predominantly adult male Steller sea lions in Oregon likely prevented depletion of the local sea lion population, he questions the intentionality of this behavior. We would suggest that whether such behaviors were initiated with conservation in mind is a moot point. Rather, a likely scenario is that the people who relied on these resources, and who closely watched animal behavior, understood the consequences of their actions. Furthermore, as demonstrated by the discussion of clam harvesting below, measurements of archaeological clams indicate intentional harvesting practices in the past.
Enhancing local environments to increase availability or productivity, or to make resources more reliable, is a well-established component of traditional management systems worldwide (Fowler and Lepofsky 2011). Recently, Smith (e.g., Smith 2011a 2011b) situated these behaviours within an evolutionary framework that views tangible management practices as aspects of niche construction. Some of the marine resource enhancement strategies discussed here can be viewed as examples of people creating niches that served to increase availability and productivity and in some instances to make resources more reliable.
The ethnographic literature provides numerous examples of Northwest Coast peoples applying management techniques to sustain and/or enhance the availability of salmon and herring. For instance, people transplanted herring and salmon eggs and created spawning populations in areas where the original population was decimated or where there was no prior spawning population (Carpenter et al. 2000; Jones 2002; Kennedy and Bouchard 1983; Langdon 2006;b Sproat 1868; Thornton et al. 2010b). In southeastern Alaska, the Tlingit took care to remove beaver dams on rivers as these dams would block access of sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka) and coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch) salmon to their spawning grounds further upriver (Langdon 2006b). Additionally, the Tlingit would rearrange rocks to improve stream flow and increase salmon spawning habitat; these same “streamscaping” actions would also improve visibility for salmon gaffing (Langdon 2006b). Notably, none of these behaviors will be detectable in the archaeological record.
Both the ethnographic and archaeological records demonstrate that Northwest Coast peoples used a variety of techniques to enhance clam production. In addition to the ecological benefits of aerating the beach sediments while harvesting clams, people harvesting clams recognize the benefits of returning broken shells and gravels to the beach to keep the sediments productive (Nathan Cardinal and Nicole Smith, pers. comm. to M. Caldwell). Measurements of archaeological clam shells suggest that in some cases only clams of a certain size (age) were collected and that it is possible that clam beds were left fallow to allow populations to reach the harvestable size (Cannon and Burchell 2009). This proposition is supported by traditional knowledge which states that selective harvesting left behind small clams “to keep the populations productive” (Turner 2005). In the archaeological context, we cannot know whether this size selection was a personal decision to enhance clam production because it was the “right way to behave,” because of more formal harvesting and tenure rules, or simply because of a desire to eat large clams. Finally, quantification of clam size, age, and number in archaeological sites in Washington state suggests that management was occurring at the level of habitat manipulation, rather than through harvesting rules per se (Daniels 2009).
Determining the antiquity of these rock features has been elusive. Limited archaeological research indicates that these features may be hundreds of years old (Lepofsky and Deur 2011). Across the region, it is likely that these features follow the same temporal and spatial trajectory of intertidal fish traps. That is, they have been present in some form for many millennia but have increased in abundance in the last 2,000 to 3,000 years.
In addition to these “classic clam gardens,” local knowledge and the archaeological record indicate that people cleared portions of beaches to enhance production but did not necessarily build walls (Caldwell et al. 2012). Based on field observations, whether a wall was built depends on the size and slope of the beach, and the location of the sea shelf, and possibly local ecological factors. Furthermore, we note that some fish traps/holding ponds are cleared of rocks at particular tidal heights, possibly to enhance clam production. Clearing beaches of large cobbles may increase spat recruitment but determining this requires ecological experiments. Finally, we have noted that the very building of a clam garden wall, or any intertidal or sub-tidal rock feature (e.g., the stone piles used to anchor reef nets) creates habitat for a variety of valued species, such as sea cucumbers, crabs, and small fish. Although archaeologists have largely missed these subtle manipulations of marine ecosystems, they represent an important part of ancient management systems.
On the Northwest Coast, as elsewhere, traditional tenure systems are fundamental to sustained marine resource management (e.g., Johannes 1981, 1982; Haggan et al. 2006; Turner and Jones 2000; Turner 2005). Such systems of ownership were embedded in larger hereditary kin- and status-based social networks (e.g., Powell 2012; Turner et al. 2000; Turner 2005) and regulated the timing and amount of resources extracted. Tenure associated with marine resources was asserted through the ownership of fish harvesting locations (e.g. streams, dip netting rocks, fish traps/weirs, coves), the rights to catch fish from specific locations (Turner and Jones 2000), when people could harvest, and who could harvest (Ramos and Mason 2004).
Claims to marine resources and ecosystems were made in a variety of ways (cf. Turner and Jones 2000). Ownership markers on the landscape, such as permanent harvesting features (fish traps, clam garden walls), cleared beaches, or now more elusive signals, such as pictographs, stories, and place names, would be known and recognized by people both within and outside of a community (Turner and Jones 2000). Access to resources could also be controlled through the use of specialized equipment (e.g., basket traps; Turner and Jones 2000) or by paying for the use of a resource by sharing the harvest with the resource’s owner (Drucker 1951). At the Hoko Rockshelter in northwestern Washington, Croes (1992) suggests that a tight standard deviation around the mean age of harvested California mussels and increased use of other taxa to reduce pressure when mussel populations are stressed indicates management of the resource, possibly through territorial ownership and control over harvesting. However, Daniels (2009) argues that expanding diet breadth when high-ranked resources are stressed is an optimal foraging strategy that would not necessarily indicate active management.
In some areas of the coast, lineage-owned names were given to individual fish traps (Blackman 1990; De Laguna 1972), thus tying a lineage to the use of particular traps. The inextricable connection between lineages and resource ownership and management is also illustrated by the Tlingit “stream master,” whose job it was not only to take care of salmon spawning streams, but also to manage relationships between humans and fish (Thornton 2012). At least in the post-contact era, access to a resource harvesting location was gained through permission by the owner or through marriage ties (Turner and Jones 2000). In places where weirs crossed entire rivers, blocking movement of fish, the owner of a weir would catch as much fish as needed and then open all or part of their weir to allow fish to move on to the next weir (Gunther 1927; Suttles 1955).
Classic clam gardens provide a good example of the role of permanent harvesting features in tenure systems. Stern (1934) records that a clam garden was owned by those who had cleared it; unmanaged clam beds could be used by anyone. This suggests that the act of clearing a beach, like that of clearing a camas plot or building a fish trap (Turner and Jones 2000), established some kind of claim of ownership to the clam bed. Archaeologically, the permanence and high visibility of classic clam gardens makes them ideal for assessing ancient systems of ownership.
Ancient tenure systems are detected in the archaeological record in diverse ways. Often, ownership is assumed through proximity of sites. That is, some or all of the people within the settlement closest to the resource procurement site are assumed to have controlled access to that location. The presence of a unique set of marine taxa in contemporaneous zooarchaeological assemblages can also be used to signal access to discrete, family-owned harvesting areas (Calvert 1980; McKechnie 2005). In some cases, the zooarchaeological record suggests that resources were shared among several communities living within a well-defined marine area (e.g., Lepofsky et al. 2007).
Worldviews and social relations
A significant aspect of the worldview of Northwest Coast peoples is the relationship between humans and non-human kin (e.g., Salmon People; see, e.g., Drucker 1951). By providing a framework for how to treat non-human kin respectfully, people were discouraged from taking more than was needed from the natural world. For example, in Heiltsuk territory on the central British Columbia coast, White (2011) notes that openings were intentionally left in fish trap walls so that fish could escape when the traps were not in use, or “gates” were opened to release the remaining fish after the trap users had taken what they needed. Archaeological examples of partially dismantled weirs may represent a similar set of protocols and beliefs (Losey 2010).
Protocols and rituals had to be followed or a resource, such as a run of fish, would fail to return in subsequent years (Jones 2002). For instance, stemming from the widespread belief that the life force of living beings is held in the bones and that life can be regenerated from the bones (Carlson 2011), many groups required that all salmon remains be returned to the water after processing. This practice ensured the return of salmon the following year (e.g., Carlson 2011; Gunther 1928; Siemthlut 2004).
Northwest Coast peoples participated in a variety of rituals that affirmed their connection to their ocean-bound kin. The most widespread example is the ethnographically documented First Salmon Ceremony (Amoss 1987; Berman 2000; Gunther 1926, 1927; cf. Swezey and Heizer 1977). Some groups also celebrated the return of other important species, such as herring and eulachon, with similar ceremonies (Drucker 1955; Hamori-Torok 1990; Kennedy and Bouchard 1990); neighboring groups in California practiced the First Sea Lion Hunt (Gould 1968). Archaeological evidence for rituals in general is elusive but comes in the imagery and masks that reflect the connection among people, animals, and the spirit and tangible worlds (e.g., Carlson 2011).
Coming together for the First Salmon Ceremony, to fish communally, and to gather shellfish and other resources provided opportunities to reinforce social relations and cultural knowledge and to maintain kinship ties through feasting, trading, and other social events. Situating resource use within this larger social system ensured that cultural regulations were followed, that resources were tended properly, and that the system of ownership and control of resources continued (Turner and Jones 2000).
Management of marine resources was enacted both directly through choices about when, where, and how to harvest and tend resources and indirectly through social relations and rules about the right way to behave. Collectively, the marine management system resulted in long-term sustained and sometimes enhanced production of targeted resources. Contra Alvard (1995; Alvard and Kuznar 2001), aspects of conservation embedded in Northwest Coast marine management systems can not be viewed as unintentional consequences of low population densities and simple technology. In fact, the high population densities of Northwest Coast peoples (Ubelaker 2006) made active management of marine resources even that much more important. As Anderson (1996) suggests, since technologies such as nets and traps have the potential to wipe out salmon stocks, the healthy pre-contact salmon stocks must reflect conscious choices made to preserve salmon populations. Given the fundamental importance of marine resources in the livelihoods of Northwest Coast peoples, the sheer abundance of these remains in millennia-old archaeological middens, and the well-documented aspects of terrestrial management systems, discussions of human-marine interaction on the Northwest Coast should begin with the assumption that active management was widespread in the past.
In discussions of traditional resource management systems, the question of intentionality often arises. The issue of intention becomes particularly relevant when considering ancient management systems whose complex behaviors are usually represented by relatively simplified archaeological footprints. In our experience and that of other ethnographers on the Northwest Coast (e.g., Turner and Berkes 2006; Turner et al. 2000; Nathan Cardinal and Nicole Smith, pers. comm. to M. Caldwell), current ecological knowledge holders are well aware of the consequences of their management actions, whether played out in the physical or metaphysical realms. Widespread recognition of these tangible and intangible consequences is linked to systems of morality that dictate the “right way to behave” (Fowler and Lepofsky 2011; Reo 2011; Reo and Whyte 2011). While these rules may not be followed by all people at all times, they often play a role in people’s conscious decision-making.
We can seldom know for certain if such awareness extended into pre-contact times, or whether the acts that resulted in conserving were intentional from the outset or were simply accidental byproducts of other harvesting choices (e.g., the behavior of the prey [Lyman 2003). However, the archaeological evidence for clam management (size standardization, clam gardens, etc.) is compelling. Furthermore, indigenous peoples, because of their connections to and reliance on their natural surroundings, are often keen observers of ecological processes, and thus would have been quick to realize the benefits of their management actions (c.f., Turner and Berkes 2006). Given this, and how widespread knowledge of management was in the early contact era, the most parsimonious interpretation is that many pre-contact practitioners carried out management—in all its guises—with a high degree of awareness of the ways in which their actions would influence the “natural” world.
We further suggest that archaeologists sometimes stumble over the idea of intention because they fail to see the larger management system embedded within the physical remains associated with the archaeological record. For instance, a fish trap, which is what remains for archaeologists to record, is not in and of itself a management system. Rather, the use of that fish trap is embedded within a series of socio-economic actions and contexts that result in decisions about where to build the fish trap, when to use it, how much to catch, how much to release, the size of fish targeted, and who has access to the trap or net. These decisions are further embedded within larger networks of tenure, world views, and social relations that create enduring relationships among the people, resources, and the built environment.
In recognizing the extent of ancient marine management systems, we do not deny that Northwest Coast peoples sometimes negatively affected their marine environment. Given the high population numbers and complex socio-economic systems that supported and were supported by these large human populations, it would be highly surprising if humans did not have some kind of negative ecological footprint. The ecological effects of long-term efficient and extensive marine exploitation are evident in some zooarchaeological records that suggest locally depressed numbers of fish and sea mammals (Butler 2000; McKechnie 2007; Szpak et al. 2012). The extant evidence indicates that beyond these local effects, regional fish populations were consistently at high levels of abundance (Campbell and Butler 2010).
The ethnographic and archaeological records demonstrate that Northwest Coast marine management was enacted on different spatial and temporal social and ecological scales. Ecologically, resources were managed at the species level (e.g., seabird egg harvests, egg transplants, possibly clam size/age restrictions), at the level of the community (e.g., fish net sizes), and at the level of ecosystems (e.g., cleared beaches, removal of beaver dams). Ecosystem level management resulted in anthropogenic landscapes which attracted resources, increased and diversified habitats, and increased productivity. At social scales, management was enacted by individuals working alone and in groups and was part of daily actions and larger-scale ritual events.
These various scales of actions are not equally well represented in the ethnographic and archaeological records. Ethnographic data will always tend to highlight the more subtle, daily and often local actions involved in management and traditional ecological knowledge, whereas the archaeological record will tell the story of more dramatic landscape modifications and the cumulative actions of many events. This discrepancy between ethnographic and archaeological records is exemplified in the study of the Straits Salish reef net fishery. Based on ethnographic descriptions, we understand that this complex form of harvesting salmon involved extensive ecological knowledge which was embedded in a web of social relations, intergenerational knowledge sharing, ritual practices, and understandings of how the world works (Turner and Berkes 2006; Stewart 1977; Suttles 1974). In contrast, archaeological research on reef net fishing is limited to attempts at finding concrete evidence of this practice and dating its occurrence in the past, albeit with limited success (Boxberger 1985; Easton 1985, 1990; Moore and Mason 2011; Rozen 1981).
Considered together, the ethnographic and archaeological records provide complimentary information on traditional marine management systems. The strength of the archaeological record is that it provides tangible evidence of the deep history and evolution of resource management over time and across space. Ethnographic information, including past and present ecological knowledge, place names, and oral historical and personal stories, provides insights into the less tangible aspects of management (e.g., social relations, worldview, knowledge transmission) that are often hard to detect in the archaeological record. Sometimes, however, this information is not situated within a firm temporal framework, and changes over time can be condensed. Furthermore, whereas ethnographic information provides personal and family-based perspectives on resource management, it is less likely to inform about how management systems were enacted among multiple settlements. Thus, it is only by combining these two kinds of data and knowledge that we can fully appreciate the breadth of social, cultural, ecological, and technical contexts in which these management systems were enacted.
The value of documenting traditional marine management systems on the Northwest Coast goes well beyond recording important aspects of indigenous history. Recognizing the ecological and cultural place of these systems is linked to larger issues of indigenous rights and title, governance, and food security, as well as the value of integrating millennia-old indigenous knowledge with modern resource management. Given the coast-wide need to manage resources to sustain social and ecological resilience, it behooves us to pay careful attention to documenting this past knowledge for the future.
DL is a professor of Archaeology at Simon Fraser University. She is interested in the social and ecological impacts of past human interactions with their environments, particularly in the Pacific Northwest of North America. Her research program has been strengthened considerably by her collaborations with knowledge holders from diverse academic and non-academic communities.
MC is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta. Her research examines marine resource management in Tla’amin Traditional Territory, southern British Columbia.
We thank Robert Losey for comments on an earlier version of this paper and are grateful to Ken Lertzman, Nancy Turner, and Douglas Deur for ongoing discussions about traditional resource management systems. Many thanks to Nicole Smith, Nathan Cardinal, Dale Croes, Amy Groesbeck, Robert Losey, and Alan Hobler for contributions of information and/or photographs. This research was funded in part by a SSHRC CGS Doctoral Scholarship (Caldwell).
- Alvard M: Intraspecific prey choice by Amazonian hunters. Curr Anth 1995, 36(5):789–818. 10.1086/204432Google Scholar
- Alvard M, Kuznar L: Deferred harvests: the transition from hunting to animal husbandry. Am Anth 2001, 103(2):295–311. 10.1525/aa.2001.103.2.295Google Scholar
- Ames KM, Maschner HDG: Peoples of the northwest coast: their archaeology and prehistory. London: Thames and Hudson; 1999.Google Scholar
- Amoss PT: The fish God gave us: the first salmon ceremony revived. Arctic Anth 1987, 24(1):56–66.Google Scholar
- Anderson EN: Ecologies of the heart: emotion, belief, and the environment. New York: Oxford University Press; 1996.Google Scholar
- Barnett HG: The Coast Salish of British Columbia. Eugene: University of Oregon Press; 1955.Google Scholar
- Berman J: Red salmon and red cedar bark: another look at the nineteeth-century Kwakwak’wakw winter ceremonial. BC Stud 2000, 125(126):53–98.Google Scholar
- Bernick K: Water Hazard (DgRs 30) artifact recovery project report, permit 1988–55. Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreation and Culture, Province of British Columbia, May: Report submitted to Archaeology and Outdoor Recreation Branch; 1989. 1989 1989Google Scholar
- Blackman MB: Haida: traditional culture. Northwest Coast. In Handbook of North American Indians, vol 7. Edited by: Suttles W. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1990:240–260.Google Scholar
- Borden CE: A water-saturated site on the southern mainland coast of British Columbia. In The excavation of water-saturated archaeological sites (wet sites) on the northwest coast of North America, National Museum of Man Mercury Series, Archaeological Survey of Canada, paper no. 50. Edited by: Croes DR. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada; 1976:233–260.Google Scholar
- Boxberger DL: A preliminary underwater survey of Legoe Bay, Lummi Island, Washington. Int J Naut Archaeol Underw Explor 1985, 14(3):211–216. 10.1111/j.1095-9270.1985.tb01222.xGoogle Scholar
- Butler V: Resource depression on the northwest coast of North America. Antiquity 2000, 74: 649–661.Google Scholar
- Caldwell M, Lepofsky D, Combes G, Washington M, Welch JR, Harper JR: A bird’s eye view of Northern Coast Salish intertidal resource management features. J Island Coastal Arch 2012, 7(2):219–233. 10.1080/15564894.2011.586089Google Scholar
- Calvert SG: A cultural analysis of faunal remains from three archaeological sites in Hesquiat Harbour. B.C. PhD Dissertation: University of British Columbia, Vancouver; 1980.Google Scholar
- Campbell SK, Butler VL: Archaeological evidence for resilience of Pacific Northwest salmon populations and the socioecological system over the last 7,500 years. Ecol Soc 2010, 15(1):17.Google Scholar
- Cannon A, Burchell M: Clam growth-stage profiles as a measure of harvest intensity and resource management on the central coast of British Columbia. J Arch Sci 2009, 36: 1050–1060. 10.1016/j.jas.2008.12.007Google Scholar
- Cannon A, Yang D: Early storage and sedentism on the Pacific northwest coast: ancient DNA analysis of salmon remains from Namu, British Columbia. Am Antiquity 2006, 71(1):123–140. 10.2307/40035324Google Scholar
- Cannon A, Yang D, Speller C: Site-specific salmon fisheries on the central coast of British Columbia. In The archaeology of north Pacific fisheries. Edited by: Moss ML, Cannon A. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press; 2011.Google Scholar
- Carlson RL: The religious system of the northwest coast of North America. In The Oxford handbook of the archaeology of ritual and religion. Edited by: Insoll T. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2011.Google Scholar
- Carpenter J, Humchitt C, Eldridge M: Final report, Fisheries Renewal BC Research Reward, Science Council of BC, reference number FS99–32, Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre, July 2000. Unpublished manuscript on file at the Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre. BC: Bella Bella; 2000.Google Scholar
- Croes DR: Exploring prehistoric subsistence change on the Northwest Coast. Res Eco Anth, Supp 1992, 6: 337–366.Google Scholar
- Croes DR: The Hoko River archaeological site complex: the wet/dry site (45CA213), 3,000–1,700 B.P. Pullman: Washington State University Press; 1995.Google Scholar
- Croes DR, Hackenberger S: Hoko River archaeological complex: modeling prehistoric Northwest Coast economic evolution. Res Econ Anthropol Supp 1988, 3: 19–85.Google Scholar
- Croes DR, Hackenberger S: Coastal resource management in a clam shell. In: Circum-Pacific Prehistory Conference Reprint Proceedings III: development of hunting-fishing-gathering maritime societies on the Pacific. Pullman: Washington State University; 1989.Google Scholar
- Daniels PS: A gendered model of resource depression: a case study on the Northwest Coast of North America. PHD Thesis. Seattle: University of Washington Press; 2009.Google Scholar
- De Laguna F: Under Mount Saint Elias: the history and culture of the Yakutat Tlingit, Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropologyvol 7. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1972.Google Scholar
- Deur DE, Turner NJ: Introduction: reconstructing indigenous resource management, reconstructing the history of an idea. In Keeping it living: traditions of plant use and cultivation on the northwest coast of North America. Edited by: Deur DE, Turner NJ. Seattle: University of Washington Press; 2005.Google Scholar
- Donald L: Aboriginal slavery on the northwest coast of North America. Berkeley: University of California Press; 1997.Google Scholar
- Drucker P: The northern and central Nootkan tribes, Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 144. Washington DC: United States Government Printing Office; 1951.Google Scholar
- Drucker P: Indians of the northwest coast. Natural History Press, Garden City: American Museum Science Books; 1955.Google Scholar
- Duff W: The Upper Stalo Indians, anthropology in British Columbia, memoir no. 1. Victoria: British Columbia Provincial Museum; 1952.Google Scholar
- Easton NA: The underwater archaeology of Straits Salish reef-netting. M.A. Thesis: University of Victoria, Victoria; 1985.Google Scholar
- Easton NA: The archaeology of Straits Salish reef netting: past and future research strategies. NW Anthropol Res Notes 1990, 24(2):161–177.Google Scholar
- Ellis DW, Swan L: Teaching of the tides: uses of marine invertebrates by the Manhousat people. Nanaimo: Theytus Books; 1981.Google Scholar
- Ellis DW, Wilson S: The knowledge and usage of marine invertebrates by the Skidegate Haida people of the Queen Charlotte Islands, monograph series 1. The Queen Charlotte Islands Museum. Skidegate: Society; 1981.Google Scholar
- Elmendorf WW: The structure of Twana culture. Washington State University Press, Pullman: WSU Press reprint series; 1992.Google Scholar
- Ford R: Patterns of prehistoric food production in North America. In Prehistoric food production in North America. Edited by: Ford R. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor: Museum of Anthropology, Anthropological Paper no 75; 1985.Google Scholar
- Fowler CS, Lepofsky D: Traditional resource and environmental management. In Ethnobiology. Edited by: Anderson EN, Pearsall DM, Hunn ES, Turner NJ. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell; 2011.Google Scholar
- Gould RA: Seagoing canoes among the indians of northwestern California. Ethnohistory 1968, 15(1):11–42. 10.2307/480816Google Scholar
- Groesbeck A: Ancient clam gardens enhance shellfish production; implications for contemporary coastal conservation and management. Masters Thesis. Burnaby, BC: Simon Fraser University; 2013.Google Scholar
- Gunther E: An analysis of the first salmon ceremony. Am Anthropol 1926, 28(4):605–617. 10.1525/aa.1926.28.4.02a00020Google Scholar
- Gunther E: Klallam ethnography. UW Pubs Anthropol 1927, 1(5):171–314.Google Scholar
- Gunther E: A further analysis of the first salmon ceremony. UW Pubs Anthropol 1928, 2(5):129–173.Google Scholar
- Haeberlin H, Gunther E: The indians of Puget Sound. UW Pubs Anthropol 1930, 4(1):1–84.Google Scholar
- Haggan N, Turner N, Carpenter J, Jones JT, Mackie Q, Menzies C: 12,000+ years of change: linking traditional and modern ecosystem science in the Pacific Northwest. University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre Working Paper #2006–02. Vancouver: University of British Columbia; 2006.Google Scholar
- Hamori-Torok C: Haisla. Northwest Coast. In Handbook of North American Indians, vol 7. Edited by: Suttles W. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1990:306–311.Google Scholar
- Harper JR, Haggarty J, Morris MC: Final report, Broughton Archipelago clam terrace survey. BC Ministry of Government Services, Victoria: Land Use Coordination Office; 1995.Google Scholar
- Harper JR, Haggerty J, Morris MC: Broughton Archipelago: clam terrace survey, Coastal and Ocean Resources, Sidney. Land Use Coordination Office, BC Ministry of Government Services, Victoria: British Columbia; 2003.Google Scholar
- Harris DR: Foraging and farming: the evolution of plant exploitation. London: Unwin Hyman; 1989.Google Scholar
- Harris DR: The interplay of enthographic and archaeological knowledge in the study of past human subsistence in the tropics. J R Anthropol Inst 1996, 12: s63-s78.Google Scholar
- Hunn EW, Johnson D, Russell P, Thornton TF: Huna Tlingit traditional environmental knowledge, conservation, and the management of a “wilderness” park. Curr Anthropol 2003, 44: S79-S103. 10.1086/377666Google Scholar
- Johannes RE: Working with fishermen to improve coastal tropical fisheries and resource management. Bull Marine Sci 1981, 31(3):673–680.Google Scholar
- Johannes RE: Traditional conservation methods and protected marine areas in Oceania. Ambio 1982, 11(5):258–261.Google Scholar
- Jones JT: “We looked after all the salmon streams”: traditional Heiltsuk cultural stewardship of salmon and salmon streams: a preliminary assessment. M.A. Thesis: University of Victoria, Victoria; 2002.Google Scholar
- Kennedy D, Bouchard R: Sliammon life. Talonbooks, Vancouver: Sliammon lands; 1983.Google Scholar
- Kennedy DID, Bouchard RT: Bella Coola. Northwest Coast. In Handbook of North American Indians, vol 7. Edited by: Suttles W. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1990:323–339.Google Scholar
- Langdon SJ: Tidal pulse fishing: selective traditional Tlingit salmon fishing techniques on the west coast of the Prince of Wales Archipelago. In Traditional ecological knowledge and natural resource management. Edited by: Menzies CR. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press; 2006.Google Scholar
- Langdon SJ: Traditional knowledge and harvesting of salmon by Huna and Hinyaa Tlingit, final report (project no. 02–104). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Subsistence Management. Anchorage: Fisheries Resource Monitoring Program; 2006b.Google Scholar
- Lepofsky D: Marshall’s Beach fish trap, Lasqueti Island. The Midden 2005, 37(1):10–11.Google Scholar
- Lepofsky D, Deur D: "Managing Intertidal Ecosystems on the Northwest Coast". In a Case Study In Traditional Resource and Environmental Management, by CS Fowler and D Lepofsky. Edited by: In Ethnobiology, Anderson EN, Pearsall DM, Hunn EW, Turner NJ. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell; 2011:285–304.Google Scholar
- Lepofsky D, Kahn J: Cultivating an ecological and social balance: elite demands and commoner knowledge in ancient Maohi agriculture, Society Islands. Am Anthropol 2011, 113(3):319–335.Google Scholar
- Lepofsky D, Trost T, Morin J: Coast Salish interaction: a view from the inlets. Can J Arch 2007, 31: 190–223.Google Scholar
- Lertzman K: The paradigm of management, management systems, and resource stewardship. J Ethnobio 2009, 29(2):339–358. 10.2993/0278-0771-29.2.339Google Scholar
- Losey R: Animism as a means of exploring archaeological fishing structures on Willapa Bay, Washington, USA. Cambridge Arch J 2010, 20(1):17–32. 10.1017/S0959774310000028Google Scholar
- Losey RJ, Yamada S, Largaespada L: Late-Holocene dungeness crab (Cancer magister) harvest at an Oregon coast estuary. J Arch Sci 2004, 31: 1603–1612. 10.1016/j.jas.2004.04.002Google Scholar
- Lyman RL: Pinniped behavior, foraging theory, and the depression of metapopulations and nondepression of a local population on the southern Northwest Coast of North America. J Anthropol Archael 2003, 22: 376–388. 10.1016/S0278-4165(03)00022-9Google Scholar
- McKechnie I: Five thousand years of fishing at a shell midden in the Broken Group Islands. Barkley Sound. M.A: Thesis, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC; 2005.Google Scholar
- McKechnie I: Investigating the complexities of sustainable fishing at a prehistoric village on western Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada. Nat Cons 2007, 15: 208–222. 10.1016/j.jnc.2007.05.001Google Scholar
- Miller J, Seaburg WR: Athapaskans of Southweatern Oregon. Northwest Coast. In Handbook of North American Indians, vol 7. Edited by: Suttles W. Washington: Smithsonian Institution; 1990:580–588.Google Scholar
- Monks GG: Prey as bait: the Deep Bay example. Can J Archaeol 1987, 11: 119–142.Google Scholar
- Monks GG: Local optimization and faunal remains in Northern Barkley Sound, Western Vancouver Island, British Columbia. In The archaeology of North Pacific fisheries. Edited by: Moss ML, Cannon A. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press; 2011.Google Scholar
- Moore CD, Mason AR: Demonstration survey of prehistoric reef-net sites with sidescan sonar, near Becher Bay, British Columbia, Canada. Int J Nautical Archaeol 2011. doi:10.1111/j.1095–9270.2011.00324.x doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.2011.00324.xGoogle Scholar
- Moss ML: Shellfish, gender, and status on the northwest coast: reconciling archaeological, ethnographic, and ethnohistorical records of the Tlingit. Am Anthropol 1993, 95: 631–652. 10.1525/aa.1993.95.3.02a00050Google Scholar
- Munsell DA: The Wapato Creek Fish weir site 45PI47 Tacoma, Washington. In The excavation of water-saturated archaeological sites (wet sites) on the northwest coast of North America, National Museum of Man Mercury Series, Archaeological Survey of Canada, paper no 50. Edited by: Croes DR. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada; 1976.Google Scholar
- Newton RG, Moss ML: Haa Atxaayi Haa Kusteeyix Sitee, our food is our Tlingit way of life: excerpts of oral interviews. Alaska Region: USDA Forest Service; 2005. R10-MR-30, Juneau R10-MR-30, JuneauGoogle Scholar
- Orchard TJ: Otters and urchins: continuity and change in Haida economy during the Late Holocene and maritime fur trade periods. PhD Thesis. Toronto: University of Toronto; 2007.Google Scholar
- Pierson N: Bridging troubled waters: zooarchaeology and marine conservation on Burrard Inlet. M.A. Thesis: Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC; 2011.Google Scholar
- Powell M: Divided waters: Heiltsuk spatial management of herring fisheries and the politics of native sovereignty. West Hist Q 2012, 43: 489–510.Google Scholar
- Ramos J, Mason R: Traditional ecological knowledge of Tlingit people concerning the sockeye salmon fishery of the Dry Bay Area. A cooperative agreement between Department of the Interior National Park Service and the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe. Final report (fis) project 01–091. Yakutat, Alaska: National Park Service; 2004.Google Scholar
- Reo NJ: The importance of belief systems in traditional ecological knowledge initiatives. Int Indigenous Pol J 2011., 2(4): http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/iipj/vol2/iss4/8
- Reo NJ, Whyte KP: Hunting and morality as elements of traditional ecological knowledge. Hum Ecol 2011. doi:10.1007/s10745–011–9448–1 doi:10.1007/s10745-011-9448-1Google Scholar
- Rozen D: Underwater archaeology at Point Roberts, Washington. The Midden 1981, 13(1):9–10.Google Scholar
- Schalk RF: The structure of an anadromous fish resource. In For theory building in archaeology: essays on faunal remains, aquatic resources, and systematic modeling. Edited by: Binford LR. New York: Academic Press; 1977.Google Scholar
- Siemthlut Washington M: Reflecting on traditional governance. Powell River, BC: Sliammon Treaty Society; 2004.Google Scholar
- Smith BD: Low-level food production. J Archaeol Res 2001, 9(1):1–43. 10.1023/A:1009436110049Google Scholar
- Smith BD: General patterns of niche construction and the management of ‘wild’ plant and animal resources by small-scale pre-industrial societies. Phil Trans R Soc Bio 2011, 366: 836–848. 10.1098/rstb.2010.0253Google Scholar
- Smith BD: A cultural niche construction theory of initial domestication. Biol Theory 2011, 6(3):260–271. 10.1007/s13752-012-0028-4Google Scholar
- Sproat GM: The Nootka: scenes and studies of savage life. Elder and Co, London: Smith; 1868.Google Scholar
- Stern BJ: The Lummi Indians of Northwest Washington. New York: Columbia University Press; 1934.Google Scholar
- Stewart H: Indian fishing: early methods on the northwest coast. Vancouver: J.J. Douglas; 1977.Google Scholar
- Suttles W: Katzie ethnographic notes. Anthropology in British Columbia, memoir no. 2. Victoria: British Columbia Provincial Museum; 1955.Google Scholar
- Suttles W: Coast Salish and western Washington Indians: the economic life of the Coast Salish of Haro and Rosario Straits. New York: Garland; 1974.Google Scholar
- Suttles W: Coping with abundance: subsistence on the Northwest Coast. In Coast Salish essays. Edited by: Suttles W. Seattle: University of Washington Press; 1987.Google Scholar
- Swezey SL, Heizer RF: Ritual management of salmonid resources in California. J Cali Anthropol 1977, 4: 6–29.Google Scholar
- Szpak P, Orchard TJ, McKechnie I, Gröcke DR: Historical ecology of late Holocene sea otters (Enhydra lutris) from British Columbia: isotopic and zooarchaeological perspectives. J Arch Sci 2012, 36(12):2734–2741.Google Scholar
- Thornton TF: Tleikw Aaní, the berried landscape: the structure of Tlingit edible fruit resources in Glacier Bay, Alaska. J Ethnobiol 1999, 19(1):27–48.Google Scholar
- Thornton TF: Watersheds and marinescapes: understanding and maintaining cultural diversity among southeast Alaska natives. In Water, cultural diversity, and global environmental change. Edited by: Johnston BR, Hiwasaki L, Klaver IJ, Castillo AR, Strang V. Berlin: Springer; 2012. doi: 10.1007/978–94–007–1774–9_9 doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-1774-9_9Google Scholar
- Thornton TF, Scheer AM: Collaborative engagement of local and traditional knowledge and science in marine environments: a review. Ecol Soc 2012, 17(3):8. 10.5751/ES-04714–170308 10.5751/ES-04714-170308Google Scholar
- Thornton TF, Butler V, Funk F, Moss M, Hebert J, Elder T: Herring synthesis: documenting and modeling herring spawning areas within socio-ecological systems over time in southeastern Gulf of Alaska. : North Pacific Research Board project #728; 2010a.Google Scholar
- Thornton TF, Moss ML, Butler VL, Heber J, Funk F: Local and traditional knowledge and the historical ecology of Pacific herring in Alaska. J Econ Anthropol 2010, 14(1):81–88.Google Scholar
- Turner NJ: The Earth’s blanket: traditional teachings for sustainable living. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre; 2005.Google Scholar
- Turner NJ, Berkes F: Coming to understanding: developing conservation through incremental learning in the Pacific northwest. Hum Ecol 2006, 34: 495–513. 10.1007/s10745-006-9042-0Google Scholar
- Turner NJ, Jones JT: “Occupying the land”: traditional patterns of land and resource ownership among First Peoples of British Columbia. CD ROM Proceedings. Bloomington, Indiana: IASCP 2000 (Common Property Resources) conference; 2000.Google Scholar
- Turner NJ, Ignace MB, Ignace R: Traditional ecological knowledge and wisdom of aboriginal peoples in British Columbia. Ecol Appl 2000, 10(5):1275–1287. 10.1890/1051-0761(2000)010[1275:TEKAWO]2.0.CO;2Google Scholar
- Turner NJ, Recalma-Clutesi K, Deur D: Back to the clam gardens. 2013. http://blog.ecotrust.org/inside-the-clam-gardens-a-source-of-coastal-sustenance/Google Scholar
- Ubelaker DH: Population size, contact to nadir. In Environment, origins, and population, vol 3. Edited by: Ubelaker DH. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution; 2006.Google Scholar
- Weiser A, Lepofsky D: Ancient land use and management of Ebey’s Prairie, Whidbey Island, Washington. J Ethnobio 2009, 29(2):184–212. 10.2993/0278-0771-29.2.184Google Scholar
- White E: Heiltsuk stone fish traps on the central coast of British Columbia. In The archaeology of north Pacific fisheries. Edited by: Moss ML, Cannon A. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press; 2011.Google Scholar
- White EAF, White EAF X: Heiltsuk stone fish traps: products of my ancestors’ labour. M.A. Thesis. Burnaby, BC: Simon Fraser University; 2006.Google Scholar
- Wigen RJ: History of the vertebrate fauna in Haida Gwaii. In Haida Gwaii: human history and environment from the Time of the Loon to the Time of the Iron People. Edited by: Fedje DW, Mathewes RW. Vancouver: UBC Press; 2005.Google Scholar
- Williams J: Clam gardens: aboriginal mariculture on Canada’s west coast. Vancouver: New Star Books; 2006.Google Scholar
- Woods DJ, Woods D: Ancient sea gardens. Mystery of the Pacific northwest. Toronto: Aquaculture Pictures; 2005.Google Scholar
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.