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For all the First Nations tribes of the Northwest Pacific Coast the ocean was the major source of food Foods like salmon halibut and other fishes shellfish smelt crabs seaweed and whale all came from harvesting the sea Shellfish like clams oysters and mussels would be gathered by women Fishing was the occupation of the men of the tribe Nets were used to catch the smaller fish Other fishing methods include traps bone and wood hooks and harpoons Once fish were caught a small amount were eaten fresh but the most of it would be cleaned by the women and hung out to dry in smokehouses to preserve them for use during the winter months One way of making dried fish better to eat was to serve it with fish oil that was from three important sources whales seals and eulachon The oil also was a good source of fat Eulachon is also commonly named candle fish because it is a type of smelt that is so full of oil in one end it can be lit and it will burn Eulachon fisheries were located on a number of major rivers including the Nass Kitimat Kitlope and Kleena Kleena The eulachon was caught and then preserved in oil which could be kept or traded with other people It was the responsibility of the women to prepare the fish once it was gathered it was then cooked in either wooden boxes or baskets Water and hot rocks were also put into the boxes these boxes were watertight The boxes and baskets would also provide storage for food or small tools Food was usually eaten out of alder bowls as this type of wood did not affect the taste of the food In conclusion the First Nations people of the Pacific Northwest Coast relied on the ocean for survival The social structure of the First Nations Pacific Northwest Coast had specific four distinct classes They included the
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