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The Salmon People

The Salmon People
Hugh W. McKervill By (author)
Product ID:  1770502084
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Whitecap Books Ltd.

Limited ***

5.3 X 8.5 in
256 pg

NATURE / Essays


The Salmon People is a masterful history of Canada's west coast. From the first people's tales of salmon to BC's first cannery, to overfishing and the environmental concerns that still exist today, this comprehensive early history is a must-read for anyone interested in how BC's fishing industry reached where it is today. Told from the strong and witty voice of Hugh Wilford McKervill, who once fished alongside the First Nations peoples of Bella Bella, The Salmon People is both an historically accurate account of the fishing industry and a salty buoyant memoir.

In the author's own words, "so long as there fish surging from the sea there will be salmon people willing to brave the torments of nature to catch them, and the salmon will probably come forever . . . if man does not destroy them."


"(The Salmon People) provides a colourful overview of the salmon fishing industry, especially the unique stories of some of the people involved, often found nowhere else. It also includes a passionate argument against fish farming and an examination of how we have seriously endangered the Pacific salmon."
BC Studies

Author Bio

Hugh W. McKervill's regional classic, The Salmon People, appeared in 1967 as a personal centennial project of the author. As the United Church minister in Bella Bella from 1959 to 1963, McKervill also owned and operated his own gillnetter. His observations of the 1,000 local Kwakiutl Indians and how they worked in the fishing industry have been reprinted with a new introduction by McKervill, who moved to Halifax as the Atlantic director of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. His first book Darby of Bella Bella (1964) recalled the preceding minister George Darby who served the Bella Bella people for 47 years from the United Church Mission hospital. In 1993 McKervill published his memoirs of the prairies, Sinbuster of Smoky Burn.