Salmon Song

1992, 20 X 33 inches
five color serigraph, signed, titled and numbered
in an edition of 195 on 100% cotton rag paper.
A shaman sings a song for the annual return of the salmon.

The musical notations are the beginning of an actual shaman's chant as recorded in the literature on the Tlingit peoples of Yakutat , Alaska . The shaman himself and /or the boy associated with many salmon stories from the Northwest Coast, is positioned singing over the body.

Songs for the salmon are only one of the many ways in which the major food source of the people were honored on the traditional Northwest Coast. The first salmon of each new season were honored by saving their bones or ceremonially burning them or carefully returning them to the rivers. A great salmon river was a place to develop an important town and such places resulted in politically powerful villages along the banks of major rivers, the Skeena, Taku, Fraser and Columbia among them. Wars were even fought these locations. The greatest disaster of all - and it did happen historically - was an upriver landslide which could completely obliterate an immemorial salmon run thereby destroying a village by starvation.

This print is in honor of the salmon and the people of the first nations of the Northwest Coast who honored them as well.

Barry Herem

Similar items

  • 1. The Trickster
  • Cosmic Raven and the Pleiades
  • Sky House
  • Thunderbird
  • Shamans’ Box