This is a photo of me at Paschal Sherman Indian School, helping prepare salmon for the Sunflower Festival. My memory is hazy and I don’t remember anything about the before & after of this photo. I’m glad I have it, no idea who took it. That’s Carol Edwards behind me, one of the leaders of the school. She’s flicking ashes from her cigarette. We are in the kitchen with all the clean tableware on shelves.
The school had been a mission boarding school (St. Mary’s Mission) but had been renamed and turned over to tribal control in 1973. The school is on the Colville Reservation in Omak, central Washington State. I was working as a volunteer dorm parent for the 7th and 8th grade girls, my first year out of college. Boy, I had a lot to learn. I was way over my head.
Margery’s post Dreaming of Salmon reminded me of this photo, so I decided to find it and put it online. Maybe it’s too gruesome, since the magnificent fish is headless. But there was a rightness about it, as salmon belongs to the native foodways there. Maybe we were fileting it for smoking? I wish I knew where the salmon came from. Maybe the Columbia River?