When the Salmon Spoke, presented by Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission and Ping Chong + Company, in collaboration with SkeenaWild Conservation Trust and Salmon Beyond Borders, premiered online on May 31, 2020.
Featuring captivating life stories from community members of the Stikine River, as well as cinematic imagery, indigenous music and visual art, this production connects coastal Tlingit and Haida communities and inland Tahltan communities of Alaska and British Columbia.
When the Salmon Spoke is a part of Ping Chong + Company’s acclaimed “Undesirable Elements” series of community-specific documentary performances, adapted as a digital experience in the COVID-19 era. The production is led by Tis Peterman (Tlingit/Tahltan, U.S.), Annita McPhee (Tahltan, Tlingit, Canada), and Creative Director/Producer Ryan Conarro.
Watch the full production below!
When the Salmon Spoke Process & Storytellers
The eight Tlingit, Haida, and Tahltan storytellers and two narrators of When the Salmon Spoke each shared their stories in one-on-one interview sessions with project leaders, followed by recorded sessions for the production. They agreed to share virtual space in this project, though their stories and perspectives may at times differ. Each expresses their personal viewpoints and lived experiences. Their work, and ours, continues in Tahltan Territory and Tlingit Aani.
Click here to view profiles and audio clips of When The Salmon Spoke storytellers.
“The Salmon Wauwau” Roundtable DiscussionWhen the Salmon Spoke Process & Storytellers
For millennia, the Tlingit and Tahltan peoples and their ancestors have shared the Stikine River and its salmon. Over the last century, however, the political border between the United States and Canada has separated relatives, ancestors and stories on different ends of this transboundary river. Drawn together by shared concern over the threats of climate change, a modern-day Gold Rush in northern British Columbia, and declining wild salmon populations, Stikine River Indigenous peoples are seeking reconnection and shared solutions.
To this end, directly following the online premiere of When the Salmon Spoke on May 31, 2020, several storytellers and the production creative director/producer engaged in a compelling inaugural “Salmon Wauwau” roundtable discussion.
The term wauwau means “a conversation” in the Chinook trading language, which once connected Indigenous and non-Indigenous traders along the great salmon rivers including the Stikine, Skeena, Nass, and Fraser beginning hundreds of years ago.