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Salmon Facts

1. Salmon evolved with the glaciers.

2. Each species seeks out different spawning and rearing habitats:

    a. Silvers - small tributaries
    b. Chum - lower stretches of a river
    c. Pinks - lowere stretches of a river
    d. Sockeye - rivers with lakes
    e. Kings - fast or long high volume rivers
    f. All species - tend to "share" rivers in time and locality

3. Salmon once ran in all rivers of northern Europe from Iceland to Portugal including British Isles and Scandinavia.

4. Europeans were salmon dependent 25,000 years ago. Salmon was their main food source.

5. In the middle ages, apprentice contracts had clauses stating that the apprentice was only required to eat salmon once or twice a week - so abundant were the salmon. In fact, at certain times, royalty would not touch salmon - it was peasant food!

6. European salmon are like our steelhead; they can spawn more than once.

7. All Pacific salmon, except steelhead (Korea to northern California) die after spawning. Salmon carcasses are a major nutrient input to rain leached Northwest ecosystems. Salmon nutrients feed forests and myriad creatures. Note: 60%-40% of carbon in riparian zone flora is marine carbon brought by salmon.

8. Native peoples from the Ainu in Japan to the Klamath in North America, and most people in between, welcomed the first salmon that returned each year with great ceremony.

9. Many native peoples believed salmon were people who gave their salmon disguises as gifts to the land people in gratitude for their respectful treatment.

10. Each species of salmon has a different "burst" speed so that one culvert may be passable to Kings but not Chums.

11. Some salmon leap better than others. Chum don't like to jump.

12. Chum fry don't stay in their natal streams very long.

13. Silvers hang around for about one year.

14. Some salmon eggs stay in the gravel for 180 days, depending on the oxygen content and water temperature.

15. Some salmon run up to 1,000 miles inland.

16. The Irish believe in a salmon of wisdom who, when caught and eaten, bestowed wisdom upon the diner.

Things to Consider When Transforming Soul Salmon

1. Your experience/knowledge of salmon. Is the salmon form merely a canvas or does it invite different constellations of meaning for you?

2. Salmon's role in the Northwest ecosystem, landscape. (see fact sheet)

3. Salmon's history in the locale of your Soul Salmon. (Species, timing, harvest, demise, survival etc.)

4. The "original" landscape of that locale.

5. Native American traditions regarding salmon (local or regional).

6. European/Asian traditions regarding salmon. Your own heritage.

7. The difference between a symbol and a being.

8. Your most dramatic memory of a salmon.

9. Local "folklore", superstitions, beliefs about salmon. Also political history of salmon in your area.

10. Salmon's role as a keystone species in the Northwest ecosystem.

11. Where salmon belong in your world.

12. Watershed dynamics.

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