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Native Nations of the Pacific Northwest define themselves as Salmon People. They consider salmon to be an extremely important gift of food from the Creator, and each year they honor the salmon's sacrifice in special ceremonies. There are many geographic regions that distinguish Native Nations or language groups from one another in the Pacific Northwest; three major geographic regions are presented here: the Pacific Coast, Puget Sound, and the Columbia River/Plateau. Despite physical distance and cultural diversity, salmon is a unifying factor for Native People and Nations across the Pacific Northwest.
Lisa Wilsom Cook is a water resources technician for the Lummi Nation and has a Bachelor of Science in Native Environmental Science. She reflects on reasons for which fishing is important to her identity.