Salmon Bakes

John and Clara Jensen at a Salmon Bake
John and Clara Jensen at a Salmon Bake
Abbi Wonacott provided this about the early Salmon bakes. This is an excerpt from her book, Firm Foundation.
One event the Indians and settlers enjoyed together were salmon bakes. Late in June, as the Chinook salmon was starting their run, the Barrs would invite many from all around to partake in a salmon bake. On the banks of the Nisqually, near the mouth of the Ohop Creek, was a beach perfect for picnicking. The Indians provided the salmon and the settlers brought the rest.
Matteus Kjelstad described the first one he remembers:
 On the early morning of the day set, three young Indians took their canoes upstream about two miles with a hundred yard net.  
Barr Salmon Bake
Barr Salmon Bake

They string the net across the river in places where there were no obstructions and let it drift downstream until it had to be pulled because of river obstructions.  It was then unloaded of fish and the same process repeated at the next open place in the river.

When they arrived at the picnic site, they had about 15 shiny Chinook salmon in the canoe. By this time Jim Barr had prepared a bed of hot coals made by burning alder wood. The Indian women cleaned the salmon and prepared them for barbecuing.

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