Keystone Nations: Indigenous Peoples and Salmon across the North Pacific attempts to offer a history and future perspective on indigenous peoples and their link to salmon across North Pacific. The literature was written by Benedict J. Colombi and James F. Brooks. Benedict J. Colombi is assistant professor of the American Indian Studies Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, the School of Anthropology, and the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Arizona. James F. Brooks is professor of history and anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and winner of several prizes for his work.
The book discusses lessons that indigenous people learn about salmon culturing and cultures. In particular, it discusses the cultural value of various kinds of salmon in the different communities including Sakhalin, Itelmen, Koryak, Kamchatka, Aleut, Alutiiq, Sugpiaq, and the Kodiak. The salmon is believed to be “the world’s most important fish.” It is used for a variety of purposes including as a food staple in homes, in restaurants, and in cat food. The ecosystem of the northern Pacific depends on salmon and the salmon’s life cycle for survival. The book further discusses the policies and rights surrounding fishing salmon as well as management experiments and “cultivation”.
Some of the key terms involved in this book’s subject matter are culturing which refers to “the aquaculture of stocks like salmon, steelhead, trout, and increasing numbers of other commercially important species.” Another term, fishing management is an “increased total production of food…and increased net economic return to the fishermen.” Beyond that, the term artels is the “work units consisting of individuals who contributed their labor to a collective activity.”
Wild salmon is intricately a part of the indigenous community in North Pacific. If salmon ceased to be a part of that marine system, the indigenous peoples would vanish in large portions.