Salmon Bake

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Almost 40 years of fun, activities and learning

Cedar Goslin
The Broadside

While the salmon roasted over an alder wood fire, the fry bread baked from a guarded family recipe and other mostly locally grown foods that will be served are a big part of the Salmon Bake to take place on May 25, this event isn’t only about food.

“Salmon Bake is about sharing between cultures to create cross culture understanding and appreciation,” said Justine Connor, the coordinator of Central Oregon Community College’s Native American program.

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Connor also said the Salmon Bake serves as an opportunity to invite local Native Americans; members of the Native American community will be present both as guests and as participants in the event. There will be several groups of cultural dancers present at this year’s Salmon Bake, including the Aztec dancers from Portland and the Warm Spring dancers, as well as Native American flute music to be provided by KO-NA Foster Kalama. There will also be members of the Native American community present at booths selling hand made arts and crafts.

The salmon bake is close to its 40th year, according to Connor, who recently uncovered pictures of a Salmon Bake that took place in 1972. This year’s event will include the traditional practices and will also be introducing some new features to the celebration.

This is the second year that the salmon will be cooked over an alder wood fire, rather than on a barbecue,the alder wood fire is more traditional, according to Connor. This year’s salmon bake will also feature guest speaker Terry Courtney Jr., a traditional Native American platform fisherman. Courtney will be giving a demonstration with the kind of net that is used to catch the salmon, as well as educate the guests on what it means to be a platform fisherman.

“What I wanted to do was share with the public what is expected of a platform fisherman,” said Courtney. Courtney said that he wanted to participate in the Salmon Bake not only because it was an opportunity to educate about Native American fishing customs, but also because it’s a chance to bring cultures together in one event.

“If we’re going to get along together, we have to be personal,” said Courtney.

The salmon that is going to be served at the Salmon Bake were all caught by fisherman like Courtney; they are donations from the Warm Springs tribe, caught and frozen by their own resources. Other foods being served include green salad and traditional fry bread, which is being baked from a secret recipe belonging to one of the members of the Native American club. All food other than the salmon is being purchased by the Native American club, out of their budget for the year.

This is an event for all cultures, and Connor said she encourages anyone who can to attend. Just like the Native American club itself, this isn’t only for Native Americans. It is an event for anyone who is interesting in learning and participating.

Cedar Goslin can be reached at cgoslin@cocc.edu

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