For thousands of years – Salmon was the staple of the Winnemem Wintu and many other tribes.
That all began to change in the years following the Government’s passage of the Reclamation act of 1902. In the years that followed, hundreds of dams were built throughout the United States – dams that blocked migrating fish such as salmon and steelhead from reaching their native spawning grounds. Populations of salmon and steelhead began to decline, then plummet. Tribes that relied on the salmon as their staple no longer had access to them. The fish were no long in the rivers.
With the salmon gone and tribes being removed from their traditional homelands, access to those foods that had kept the tribes sustained and thriving disappeared. The rate of obesity and diabetes began to rise to the point where it is at an epidemic level in indigenous communities.
Bringing the salmon home is one way – a major way – to restore balance and nutrition to the tribal diet.