Salmon were a vitally important food
source for the native peoples of the Northwest Coast, who believed that the Salmon People
lived in different villages in the sea. In the spring, the Salmon People changed from
human form into fish form and started their long, arduous journey across the ocean and up
the coastal rivers. Different salmon villages would arrive separately, thus
accounting for the different species of salmon. The human face contained within the body
of this salmon design reminds us of this transformation from human to fish.