Event Title

Clam Terrace Rock Walls: The Ecology and Social Significance of Monumental Places

Presentation Abstract

When we think of the monumental works of the indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast, we typically think of long houses, canoes, and totem poles. But the First Peoples are also monumental movers of stone in the making of resource sites like clam terraces and root gardens. Clam terraces are special places that enhance beaches for clam production, and are used to harvest not only clams but an entire suite of algae and animals. While many studies have focused on the ability of clam gardens to enhance clam productivity, few have examined the role of the rock wall itself. These stories describe the monumental work of Indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast to create these rock wall structures, indelibly shaping land and seascapes with their creation and inscribing the physical world with visible records of familial connections to places, while significantly managing food resources. In other words, the moving of stone at this monumental scale entangles the production of key foods with the making histories and places. These stories highlight the importance of these features in shaping our seascapes as well as our ecosystems. By creating new habitat, rock walls change intertidal ecological communities and alter the availability of non-clam food species, bringing foods like crab, urchin, seaweeds, and octopus into the garden and onto the plate.

Session Title

Strengthening Connections to Place in Changing Times: Clam Garden Knowledge, Research, and Stories

Conference Track

Food and Food Security

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)

Document Type

Event

Location

2016SSEC

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Clam Terrace Rock Walls: The Ecology and Social Significance of Monumental Places

2016SSEC

When we think of the monumental works of the indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast, we typically think of long houses, canoes, and totem poles. But the First Peoples are also monumental movers of stone in the making of resource sites like clam terraces and root gardens. Clam terraces are special places that enhance beaches for clam production, and are used to harvest not only clams but an entire suite of algae and animals. While many studies have focused on the ability of clam gardens to enhance clam productivity, few have examined the role of the rock wall itself. These stories describe the monumental work of Indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast to create these rock wall structures, indelibly shaping land and seascapes with their creation and inscribing the physical world with visible records of familial connections to places, while significantly managing food resources. In other words, the moving of stone at this monumental scale entangles the production of key foods with the making histories and places. These stories highlight the importance of these features in shaping our seascapes as well as our ecosystems. By creating new habitat, rock walls change intertidal ecological communities and alter the availability of non-clam food species, bringing foods like crab, urchin, seaweeds, and octopus into the garden and onto the plate.