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Our Origins

Wealth of Stories - The Origin of Fishing (Nlaka'pamux)

When the Transformer arrived near the borders of Nlaka'pamux country, at the Fraser River canyon known as Tsaxali's, he saw people who were catching salmon with their hands. In places where the rocks were high, they suspended boys by holding their feet. When the boys caught a fish with their hands, they pulled the boys and fish up together. They did not seem to be able to catch many. The Transformer was sorry for these people, and said to himself, "They have no fishing utensils, I will try to help them." So he sat down and began to think. There was a rock in front of him, and he scratched it with his finger-nails. With each scratch a thought came into the heads of the people and they gained knowledge. After the first scratch, they said to one another, "Let us make twine!" After the next, they said, "Let us make nets!" and so on, until they had obtained the whole knowledge of catching and curing salmon as the Nlaka'pamux do at the present day. After the people had learned everything, and had begun to catch fish in the proper way, he showed them all the best places for this purpose, and the Nlaka'pamux have always used these fishing-places since that time.

Source: Condensed and adapted from "The Transformer", in James Teit, Mythology of the Thompson Indians

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