Blaine Wilson, Tsartlip First Nation
“When I was twenty-five, thirty, there was more salmon and I was fishing every other day. Now I’m lucky to go once a week.”
From: How We Go Home
Blaine Wilson, of Tsartlip First Nation on Vancouver Island, is a hunter and fisherperson, one of the few remaining who know how to live off the land. He describes his childhood and family at Tsartlip First Nation, his mother’s knitting to earn money, his father’s experience in residential school, and how he got into traditional activities such as hunting and fishing, and how he shares that with his sons. The chapter also shares information about treaty rights, in this case, the Douglas Treaty, to traditional activities, and how the waters are now contaminated.
Sara Sinclair is an oral historian, writer, and educator of Cree-Ojibwe and mixed settler descent. Sara teaches in the Oral History Masters Program at Columbia University. She has contributed to the Columbia Center for Oral History Research’s Covid-19 Oral History, Narrative and Memory Archive, Obama Presidency Oral History, and Robert Rauschenberg Oral History Project. She has conducted oral histories for the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and the International Labor Organization, among others. Sara is co-editor of Robert Rauschenberg: An Oral History, published with Columbia University Press in 2019.